Friday, May 08, 2009

To Cook

I guess you know you're a real mom when your own grandma gives you a mothers day gift, and it's a food carrier for you to take to church carry-ins and family functions. Yep, a real mom who cooks and bakes and takes care of her family.

The gift is significant to me. My mom's mom is a wonderful baker and cook. Sadly that gene skipped my own mom, the queen of bland, but thankfully is emerging in my own kitchen. It turns out I love to cook and eat. Something I didn't know for a long time, and have not embraced until the last couple of years.

I feel that as the wife and mother of our family it's my job to keep them fed, and well fed. I don't mean on junk, I mean on home-cooked nutritious food that will help them grow into strong men. You know, all the food groups, fresh food, that kind of thing.

When my grandma and I have a chance to actually talk we end up talking about food. Usually we talk about what new dishes I've been trying and then she gives me tips on things to try to make it faster or easier for me. She never worked while raising her six children, so she doesn't know what that's like, but she knows what it's like to want to fill up your family with good food and not want to take all day about it.

It's so interesting to me because when I was growing up my mom always cooked dinner for us, and we ate and were healthy, but it wasn't a part of the day to look forward to. We ate because we had to. It interrupted the other more "important" things we were doing. I remember thinking how much time was wasted eating. So sad!

Then I married a man who loves to eat. The actual eating, the savoring, the company, the event, all of it. It was hard for us to be on the same page with dinner and food in the beginning.

Fast forward to now. I love to make restaurant quality dinners and present them to Tim for him to gobble up and love. I strive to hear the boys say, one after the other, "Thanks for making what I like Mom!" It's my goal. I love to make it an event, to entertain. When I hit on a success I think of what I can do to make it better the next time to round out the experience. It turns out we are very like my Grandma and Grandpa, in that regard and I'm good with that. For them, my Grandpa especially, life was a production.

So for that same Grandma who made mashed potatoes (real mashed potatoes not instant like I usually do) EVERY day for my Grandpa, to recognize that I'm a good cook too, and I love it because it makes my husband happy and proud and that it's my job, and give me something that will further that aspect of my life, well, it means a lot.

It's also a passing of the torch on a certain level. The last time she came to our house for a birthday party she brought some Jell-o Jigglers (or Knox Blocks as my family calls them) and then said she'd just leave the dish with me. She has two of that size (9x13) and doesn't cook much anymore and thought I could use it. And she's right, I only have one of that size and sometimes I do need two. As the boys get bigger, I'm sure it will be more often than sometimes I'll need two.

Grandpa and Grandma didn't have a lot of extras but they always had plenty of food. Grandpa worked hard for to provide for his family and Grandma worked just as hard preparing the food that Grandpa provided. They had a passion for each other that I want Tim and I to have when we've been married as long as they were. It's too bad Tim and Grandpa never got to meet-that would have been a hoot!

So now, when I get a "nod" from my Grandma, it means something significant to me. Like I'm heading in the right direction.


Dan and Peg said...

great post! I too equate cooking as being part of a 'real' mom, as part of taking care of your family. That's so neat you have a grandma to support and encourage you in this! And it is a great feeling when the kids say, 'thanks for the dinner, mom.'

Deanna said...

You'll always have those memories of "talking shop" with your Grandma. And your boys will always have memories of great meals and great times around the dinner table.

denise1006 said...

i dont care for cooking myself, oh yes occasionally i do like it but since my family never eats anything i cook, i hate wasting all that time cooking on just me... and it might be good since I refuse to cook them anything else after I make a meal they could eat ,they are fast learning to cook for themselves. lol But im glad you take being a good cook seriously. Maybe you could add catering to your plate of hobbies too??

Anonymous said...

A family foundation that will keep those growing young males: strong and healthy; delighted with memories of great food Mom fixed with love and a passion; an example of the kind of woman they would like to marry someday; memorized verses from the BIBLE to use when needed; knowing Mom and Dad are there if needed...a foundation built wisely.