Meatloaf, iceberg lettuce with Goods Seasons salad dressing mix, and maybe a baked potato. Standard fair at my childhood dining table. My mother would make a chicken and we each had our assigned pieces. I think mine was the thigh cause that’s what I am still eating.
Cooking was just not something on my mother’s agenda though certainly the reasons were multi-faceted. Of course, she was busy with the larger picture of her four kids and a career. But more importantly, the root cause was that she really rejected food to distance her from herself from her mother.
Yes, yes, yes, all that mother’s milk and nourishment. Well those are things I don’t think she ever really got from her mother, and furthermore her mother was fat. Not like obese, obese fat, but super overweight – though for me, she, like my other grandmother, were these plump expansively breasted women who just enveloped you in their bosom and perfumes every time they hugged you. I’m guessing my mother didn’t get too many hugs. Or if she did, they were stingy affairs. I’m almost positive she never heard the words I love you, since I don’t think she’s ever uttered those to me either, though she has occasionally written me some saccharinely sweet, overly effusive notes proclaiming her love.
But I digress. The fact is food is love and therein her confusion on how to prepare it, care for it, eat it or want it. She’s a skinny thing now, getting frailer by the day. Eating little and just picking at her food in a very fussy, and I gotta say almost disgusted way. I think she wants to not want to need food.
I, on the other hand, adore food and I married a guy who was lavished with good food all his life, and still wants more.
And I love to cook. It was born out of a desire to have good food available for my own enjoyment, and if the family could benefit, all the better. It brought me love and appreciation, or at least attention. My siblings would gaze at me in astonishment when I produced a meal worthy of eating. They didn’t really understand why I would be motivated to cook for them, since our mother never created this environment, but they willingly gobbled the baked ziti, or eggplant parm, and didn’t look up to ask any questions. Except perhaps my younger brother, who to this day mostly eats frozen food or take out – a bachelor for most of his life and one who shares our mother’s ennui towards food.
Cooking is a creative outlet that I look forward to each evening. Whether working at home, or in an office, this has been a go to hobby my entire adult life. It differentiates me from my mother and stands as an example of what she doesn’t understand about the world, and more importantly about me.
With much more to say about food in general – and I love to talk food – watch for up-coming posts, including recipes of my daily concoctions. As my husband always says, “You’ve got to write this one down.” It’s great to have a fan.