One of the many things I love about my mom is that she shares her kitchen. My youngest brother and I have always been curious about cooking and concocting our own crazy and not always tasty foods. Ever since we were little we had free range in the kitchen. Most moms would have hovered over telling you it’s time to reduce the heat, or explain that is not the right way to cook an omelet, but not my mom. She was always there in case I needed to seek out guidance but for the most part she treated our kitchen like an art studio. Because my mom was trusting, it allowed my cooking creativity to blossom, and for that I am grateful.
Me: What did I hate eating when I was younger?
Mom: Pasta with red sauce
Me: What did I love eating?
Mom: Ice cream
Me: What type of ice cream?
Mom: We usually only had vanilla.
Me: Did you cook different things before you were married than after?
Mom: Yes, I started cooking softer foods and not as much tougher meat because if it didn’t go down quickly and you had to chew a lot you wouldn’t eat.
Me: How did you start cooking? What made you want to start?
Mom: I started cooking when I was 8 because my mother and father worked all the time and I had to cook dinner.
Me: What were my table manners like as a kid?
Mom: As a real little kid ate with your hands, you didn’t like using utensils.
Me: How were your parents cooking?
Mom: They were cooks in a hurry.
Me: What did your parents cook?
Mom: Hamburger Helper.
Me: What are your favorite food memories of me growing up?
Mom: Thanksgiving, because that was probably our biggest meal through the whole year, there was a lot of food and we all went in and cooked it.
Me: Is there a special food that reminds you of me?
Mom: Cheese quesadillas, Ho Yo with noodles and broccoli.
Me: Did you have any kitchen disasters?
Mom: I made quiche once and it didn’t cook. Also, 16 bean soup when I almost burnt down the house.
Me: Uh, care to elaborate on the 16 bean soup incident? I asked in hesitation.
Mom: I was quick soaking some 16 bean soup. I had it on and I remembered it was time for me to go volunteer at the library at school, for the book fair. I was showing someone the price of the cook books when I remembered that I had 16 bean soup cooking on the stove. So I ran home and found the house full of smoke and the fire alarm is blaring so I jerked out the batteries of all the alarms because I was confused and I couldn’t see anything. I grabbed where the most smoke was using pot holders, put it outside, opened up all the windows and doors, grabbed the guinea pigs in their cages and put them outside, and tried to get the smoke out of the house. Ended up having to call the fire department to get the smoke out of the house, with huge fans. The whole house smelled like smoke for 2 months, I treated all the upholstery and fabric.
Me: At least the guinea pigs were okay.
Me: Are there any recipes you would want to pass on through the family?
Mom: Steamed persimmon pudding, eggnog, and persimmon bread.
Me: Those sound great, I would love to get the recipes for them.
Mom: Two are written down somewhere and one is in my head.
Me: If you could have any meal, the ultimate meal, what would it be?
Mom: I would have eggnog, sourdough bread homemade and lots of butter on the bread. I mean lots of butter.
Me: Do you enjoy cooking, or do you do it because you have to?
Mom: I do it because I have to.
My mom and I are more similar than we think. Just as my mom did growing up I also know the ups and downs of having both parents work full time jobs. You learn that some nights you have to make you and your siblings’ dinner, something that is easy, hearty, and fast, like putting frozen chicken strips in the oven. And although my mom doesn’t share the same love for cooking that I do, I think she has done a wonderful job at feeding her family. Although there have been some bumps in the road, such as her Hamburger Helper phase, I can tell she has truly evolved as a cook. It is no easy task to cook for a family of 6 with a vegan, two carnivores, and a very picky eater (myself), but somehow she does it all. Thanks mom!