Feeding my family has always brought me joy, but I know not everyone shares my love of cooking. Early on I made my sons promise that they would never utter the phrase to whoever cooked for them “it’s good, but it doesn’t taste like my mom’s.” Happily, our children and their spouses all share a love of great food, and we can spend endless hours discussing great meals or new recipe ideas.
My childhood was that of a typical farm kid – Dad ran the farm while Mom raised seven children, cooked from scratch, maintained a huge vegetable garden and preserved for winter. She enjoyed digging in the dirt more than being in the kitchen so the required daily meals and three coffee breaks must have been energy draining. While she never loved cooking, she loved providing for her family, and even with little money to spare we never lacked for hearty, home-cooked fare. With great shame, I admit that I often traded her hand-pinched apple pastries for my friend’s cellophane-wrapped Ding-Dongs.
However, my mother-in-law loved cooking, entertaining and garnishing. She enjoyed experimenting with new dishes, often adding a unique twist which made them nearly impossible to replicate. In her kitchen, I learned to season generously, for recipe measurements were merely suggestions, and she instinctively knew just what to add to create delicious results. While both mothers are still with us, it saddens me that they no longer recall any of their culinary adventures.
This Mother’s Day, I’m grateful for two moms, so very different from each other but who both shaped my joy of sharing home-cooked food with those I love.