Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

My darling daughter made me a card with a retro bacon illo. Aww, so salty/sweet!

Her gift to me is to cook breakfast and dinner today, a huge undertaking for a kid who's totally lukewarm about being in the kitchen. I blame myself.

I have such warm memories of hanging out in the cozy confines of my grandmother's kitchen, dragging a step stool to the stove to stir a pot of crazy stew she let me create when I was barely 5. By the time I was 9, I was making family dinners, but this was a grim necessity in the choppy wake of my mother splitting from my father and leaving three children in his care. Oh, did I mention? They were both alcoholics. 

But wait. There's a happy ending. I took comfort cooking, feeding and bossing around my younger sibs. (Thank goodness they're forgiving people.) And when I had a kid, I was sure I could pass along everything I knew and loved to her. But shoot. It turns out I'm a terrible teacher and she was a super picky eater and our relationship flouished elsewhere, but fizzled in the kitchen. 

I keep trying, luring her with the promise of unlocking the secrets of a great mac-and-cheese or the ease of stir-frying. How will she feed herself? I fret. Sure, she has mastered nachoes and can make a frozen pizza, but is completely ambivalent about the rest. Until today. When she promises to give it her best effort and that's the best possible Mother's Day present I could ask for because it's made with love, my favorite ingredient.

What's on your menu today?

5 comments:

Brenda said...

So, Leslie, how did she do? What did she cook? I never was much on following my mom around the kitchen when I was a kid, but when I left home at 17 I had no choice but to figure it all out. Today, at 52, most folks consider me an awesome cook, so there's hope. On Mother's Day Eve, I fed my in-laws Cajun Shrimp with corn/potatoes and peach cobbler for dessert. Then on Mother's Day I fed my mom Pork tenderloin, sweet potatoes, lima beans and blackberry cobbler. On another subject, the BBQ Festival at Memphis in May starts day after tomorrow -you gonna make it down?

Fred Deaton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fred Deaton said...

Leslie,

I was sick on Mother's day. I am recovering from pneumonia. It has been tough.

There will be a time in the near future your daughter will be on the phone asking how to do this or that. Be sure to write down your recipes for her to have in a notebook to use as she needs them.

I wish I had the recipes of my mom and grandmother. They never measured anything, so it would be impossible to copy their actions. My dad's mom was a French woman who literally used a dash of this or a pinch of that. Justin Wilson's cooking poring stuff in his hand reminded me a lot of her style. Oddly, her Spaghetti tasted just like the pasta and Bolognese sauce-gravy you get at Romano's Macaroni Grill.

Katie said...

Great post, dear LK. Love the candor in this post along with the obvious warmth and love that you share with your girl. Hope the meal(s) were the tastiest ones your refined palate ever enjoyed...k

leslie.dines at gmail.com; 901-289-4020 said...

Brenda... great report, no I won't be at Memphis in May BBQ cooking contest this year and I'm really bummed about that!

Fred, I sure hope you're feeling better. That's rough.

Katie and all: Claire did a great job... cooked from Mario Batali cook book, pasta with pancetta, eggplant crostini... only set off the smoke alarm twice!