Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Mom's Cooking

Being the mother of five, and now the grandma to 7, there's been much cooking going on in our home for a long time. Until my second marriage, I did all the meal planning and fixing. Then I got lucky. I married a man whose hobby is food. He eats it, watches it on the food channel, talks about it, spends hours reading recipes and drooling over cookbook photos. He shops for ingredients, he prepares, he experiments with spices and flavors and combinations, and he serves it with aplomb. Suffice it to say, he's my hero!

No longer do I have to cater to young palates who didn't like much of anything! No longer will I find dried lima beans or broccoli at the foot of the basement stairs! ('What is THAT about?', you ask. To make a long story short, for years a very confused Mom/Cook wondered how dried vegetables made their way to the basement floor. Only in recent years have confessions come forth from laughing adults to whom I attempted to feed well-balanced meals. They would spit their dreaded vegetables into napkins and either toss the wadded up paper into the waste basket, or they'd pocket them until they could deposit them somewhere other than the pits of their stomachs! )

The five of my children could never agree upon anything they all liked, except perhaps for their father's favorite choice...hamburgers. It made for an extremely boring job. I'd never been more than a 'home cooking' type of cook, and I hadn't learned the art of spicing things up. Food had to be bland and plain to get the kids to even taste it, let alone to get it into the gullets of my bunch. Perhaps that's why, when I remarried, my beloved husband took over the kitchen duties. My kids survived. They thrived and these days, thank heaven, they have expanded their menu choices, but there are still some who will not eat specific vegetables, and prefer corn to any of the others offered.

Now, the chief CHEF and bottle washer is the recipient of complaints from the younger generation. "Papa, I don't LIKE green beans." "No thank you, Papa. I don't really care for cheese sauce." Etc. I hear it, but it doesn't phase me much. I TRY to suggest a menu that MIGHT pass the fuss-budget critics, but even when you think 'Kid Cuisine', there are still complaints from one or another.

We've decided that the food will be there on the table, and if they eat it, great! If they don't, they will survive on the small bits they will consent to digest. There are always some choices that we know will be eaten (carrot sticks and celery sticks with peanut butter, certain raw vegetables and ranch dressing, and corn.) We've seen no evidence of abandoned vegetables in this house, but if the kids try to pull that trick, they'll need to be more creative, as we don't HAVE a basement in this house!

With all the laughter of my grown children over what they were served and rejected, there are other remembrances...one of which is that I made the BEST cookies in the world! We NEVER had store-bought cookies, I always baked them. I always felt that the bought ones tasted little better than the containers they were packaged in. Had I tried to sneak any of them into the family diet, I have no doubt that I'd have found those treats, dried or soggy and minus their chocolate chips, at the foot of the basement stairs with the vegetables. Quite a buffet to attract who-knows-what creatures....anything but kids!