Thursday, May 9, 2013

Many of you have shared valuable lessons your mother taught you, especially in the kitchen. You've remembered those helpful hints on how slowly stirring the gravy will prevent clumping, or how adding a slice of apple to the cookie jar will prevent them from going stale. I on the other hand have different memories to draw from.

Allow me to pre-empt this post with the fact that I love my mother. She is a genius, a doctor, an author, a beautiful woman and a free-thinker. My mother is all of this and more. The one thing she is not, never was and probably never will be is a cook.

While little Susie's mommy was baking her chocolate chip cookies from scratch, mine was opening a bag of Chips Ahoy. While other mommies were making meatloaf for dinner, mine was ordering a pizza. Again. My mother's lack of cooking was not because she didn't love her family. It wasn't because she was too busy. It was because she grew up with a mother who was such a wonderful chef that my mom didn't have to learn how to cook and, as such, focused her efforts elsewhere.

Despite what you've read in previous posts in this series I love to cook. My sister loves to cook. Some of the best childhood memories I have are of my sister and I in the kitchen experimenting with recipes we saw on TV or read about in a magazine (all this being before Pinterest and the internet).

Cooking was encouraged by our mother. She loved to see us in the kitchen creating anything from smoothies to snacks to smorgasbords. In hindsight I realize this was probably a way for her to replace her mother's cooking prowess with those of her daughters and, once again, allow herself to step out of the kitchen where she had no particular desire to be.

It was empowering. Mom always taught us that we could be whatever we wanted to be and if we worked hard enough at something we would succeed. Cooking was an early way of testing her theory. We would spend all day in the kitchen and see the results of our efforts first-hand at the dinner table. We had created something. Something good. Something we could be proud of and share with our family.

Mom was always our biggest fan. She would eat everything on her plate, never use the salt, and always ask for more even when she knew there wasn't any. She never discouraged an odd addition or alteration to a recipe and she always encouraged trying something exotic and new.

My mother was not a cook and as such she taught me a great many things about spontaneity, confidence, non-conformity and love.

Cheers to you mom. This next pizza is on me.