|My amazing mom and I at Glacier Park this past year.|
I can remember way back to when I was a young child and money was extremely tight. My mother, with very limited ingredients, could make a comfy and cozy meal that would not only fill your tummy, but also make you feel loved. There is only one time in my young life that I can remember where my father and I both (and I suspect my mother also) were not so thrilled about one of her creations...and that is in no way her fault. Times were tough and my father was very ill and home with me while my mom did her student teaching. There was very little food wise in the house but mom did the best she could and made a big tuna noodle casserole (I think she even threw some canned peas in with it to stretch it further) and we ate that thing for days! It kept us fed and full, but to this day my father and I don't care for tuna noodle casserole at all. I can only remember one "flop" that happened years later and that was the mackerel loaf...even Mom thought that was bad. We all got it down but it never graced our table again...Thank God! ;) So in all fairness, there was really only one truly bad thing that she made...the tuna noodle casserole was good, but Dad and I have bad memories of hard times associated with it...completely NOT her fault.
My mother's homemade mac and cheese, homemade pizzas and soups are legendary. We all crave them, all the way down to the great grandkids. I would say you have a hit on your hands if four generations still request those same foods over and over again. I learned how to make them as a child by watching her and then taking over the kitchen myself sometimes. I do remember one flub up on my part though. My mom made delicious turkey and rice soup after the holidays with the turkey carcass. She was busy so I told her I would do it. Now, in my defense, I had no idea how much the rice would swell up in the soup so I added a bit more (ok, a lot more) than my mother normally did and we ended up with a huge amount of turkey and rice...not soup...but turkey and rice! We ate that for days (kind of like that tuna noodle casserole...we all have our moments). Lesson learned!
My mother taught me how certain combinations of food and spices go together. She taught me how to make a nice meal with limited income and ingredients. She taught me how to seek out the best foods nutritionally and monetarily. She taught me to not be afraid to take chances and create something all together new! She allowed me experiment in the kitchen, and yes she laughed at my "turkey and rice soup" detour...we both did! She taught me to draw from my experiences eating something that I enjoyed somewhere else and try to recreate it at home.
My mother gave me the gift of creativity in the kitchen. It is one that I have put to good use over the years and have tried to pass on to my children. I make her fabulous mac and cheese, homemade pizza and soups now too. I cook by instinct, feel, taste and even necessity (trying to use what we have on hand before it goes bad). I enjoy being creative in the kitchen and my family has benefitted greatly from the lessons learned from my mother. Thank you Mom...for everything!