OCHEYEDAN, Iowa — When she was teaching special education students, Lois Bremer developed a program for “life skills” that included simple cooking and household chores. She is now retired, but her cooking is a reminder that the teacher knew what she was talking about.
“My mom was a good cook,” Bremer says. “She made bread and rolls from scratch, but back then everybody baked.”
She says her husband, Tom, also came from a family of good cooks. The two knew each other since the time they were young children, but didn’t start dating until they were out of school.
“We never lived more than a mile apart from each other,” she says.
Once they were married they moved seven times in the first seven years. Eventually they came back to the family century farm.
“We are still living on the same section we were born and raised on,” she says.
Bremer worked as a special education teacher for 42 years.
“I really, really loved my job,” she says. But she adds that it required a sense of humor because things did not always go according to plan. That was part of the adventure of the job.
She still enjoys cooking. While many of her recipes are old favorites, she says her methods of cooking have changed over time. She says she rarely fries anything, instead using the grill or the oven. She uses rice much more often now than when she was younger.
She says when she makes a cake mix she generally uses milk instead of water to make it a little richer. And she uses olive oil in a number of her recipes, saying it burns a little quicker than some other oils but gives a nice flavor.