Monday, November 30, 2009

Here's to you, Mom.

Another year has rolled around; I think of you often, but especially today, November 30th, the anniversary of your death. I think about what we've missed, without you in our lives. And this year I've thought of you more often, as I've stepped out of my comfort zone and started making my way around the kitchen. At age 38, it was "better late than never" as they say; but it was just one of the changes I've felt compelled to make in my life this year. If I'm honest with myself, I guess I've worn my "non-cook" badge throughout my life with pride (i.e. "I'm a liberated, non-traditional woman") but also with some resignation. When people would ask, "What do you mean, you've never learned how to cook?" I would joke that I knew how to make the basics - a hearty bowl of oatmeal, a frozen pizza, a few appetizers for gatherings -- just enough things to get by.

But sometimes, with friends and coworkers, I would find myself talking about how my mom was an awesome cook, and I tell them about your homemade bread and doughnuts that you made for us every week, and your amazing garden with all the fruits and vegetables. I would go on to explain how you died when I was 11, before you could teach me how to cook. And how my stepmom, although a very strong and courageous woman (taking on 4 stepkids in addition to her own 3-year-old daughter), was just not much of a cook, by her own admission. So, there were my excuses. Then during my adult/married life, I have been fortunate to have a spouse who liked/likes to cook - and that just made it all the easier for me to avoid the kitchen!

One of the changes I've made this year was to face the notion, the self-perception, and yes, even the cop-out that "I'm not a cook" and start trying some things that I've basically avoided until now. The first time I really cooked a full meal was on Easter weekend, with everyone in St. C for the holiday. I made Dave's spaghetti recipe, and it actually turned out pretty good - and everyone was very surprised that I could cook!

I've continued to try new recipes every week or two, and some of them have been great, while others have just been okay. But I find that I'm enjoying the process as much as the end results; I find myself thinking of you many times while I'm going through recipes or gathering ingredients. One of the first things I made was a pot roast, with carrots and potatoes, because that was always one of my favorite meals that you made. I'm proud of myself, and I think you would be proud of me, that I'm learning to cook after all this time. Making wonderful meals for your family was one of your specialties, and I know you would have loved to have been here to pass on that knowledge and skill to all of us. So here's to you, Mom - miss you and love you, and thinking of you today, especially.


Rob said...

I was thinking of Mom yesterday (Nov 30) too. Thought about visiting her grave while we were home but didn't make it. Now that we have kids, I reflect along those lines - what would she think of them, would Sam remind her of me, etc.

Your cooking is great! We really enjoyed the Oreo Truffles. Michele is planning to make them for her family at Christmas. Maybe we can try a homemade donut recipe when we're home for Christmas. Mom's donuts were my favorite.

Ann said...

I was thinking of her too. I was very surprised to find that Matt had remembered also.
Nance - your cooking is good :) I don't really think of myself as a cook either, I just make stuff and hope for the best!