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I love to cook and I attribute said love to the memories that cooking conjures up. Sautéing onions, simmering soups, and sizzling meat make me smile. It conjures up memories of me and my three sisters sitting around the kitchen island while my mom assigned us “helper” tasks. Our childhood home didn’t have a lot of extra space but it was always bustling with laughter, silliness, and conversation. My mother gifted me with a love of cooking, baking, roasting, and sautéing. I also seem to be genetically programmed to veer off into kitchen stores to check out the latest pots, pans, crocks and kitchen gadgets.
My mom has this amazing way of infusing love and fun into her cooking. Her desserts could win awards and her coffee is the best. I have seen my mom honor and celebrate people with her food offerings and invitations to dinner. She takes the ordinary everyday task of food preparation that some people detest and turns it into an act of love and kindness.
As a kid I would come home from school to hear my mom in the kitchen, while she stirred and mixed she would hum tunes or make up silly songs. To this day, when my sisters or I make tacos for our own families we can be heard singing, “Tacos and Enchillacos”, (yes we realize this is not a word) a little song my mom made up and sang whenever it was taco night.
Meal times in my childhood home were centered on family. There was security in the fact that supper would be served at 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday. Everyone was required to attend and once seated, NO one was allowed to sneak a morsel until after the prayer. Those who broke this rule would surely be the one chosen to say Grace that evening, as if my parents thought this might give the offender a holy reminder to always pray before eating. Oddly enough, anyone could wander the kitchen nibbling at the roast or pinching a piece of roll BEFORE you were seated at the table.
Once the Amen was announced, the table would erupt with chatter from the four of us girls, we would talk about school, teachers, friends, or homework. Mom would talk about her day, what she intended to plant in the garden, or what sewing project she hoped to tackle. Dad would decide whether or not he would change the oil in one of the cars or mow the lawn that evening and who would be the lucky winner to be his helper. We lived everyday life around that table, building a sense of family and connection and my sweet mom was the facilitator of this.
My parents were the hosts and my mom the chef to hundreds of weekend desserts with company, Sunday lunches with grandparents, and Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners with a gazillion relatives. My mom’s food brought us together, and still does. Our family size has greatly increased from 6 to 25 and still more to come, with more marriages and babies on the way. My mom has graduated to Grandmother and now Great Grandmother and we ALL look forward to the culinary delights that still come from her kitchen. We all know they are just as infused with love as ever!
Her example has taught me a lesson, even the everyday ordinary tasks can be extraordinary.
Thanks Mom, and Happy Mother’s Day to all you extraordinary “mom chef’s” that infuse everyday meals with love!
Some of my mom’s favorite kitchen items listed below: