Monday, May 3, 2010
Just Like Mom Made
My Mom is a wonderful cook. These days, she's a hard working vice president at a community college which has her working many late hours and my Dad is retired so he does most of their cooking. But growing up, she juggled raising two girls who are just 15 months apart in age, going to school and working. My Dad was the one who worked long hours and we rarely, rarely ate out. I think back now and realize what an amazing accomplishment that was given how "normal" it is these days to live life in the drive thru. I suppose it helped that we lived in a small town with no fast food. But we ate out for birthdays, for anniversaries, the occasional pizza or Chinese take out. They were fun treats and family nights out. All the other times, we cooked.
I should also add that the extent of processed food in my house was Campbell's Soup and Kraft Mac n' Cheese. Hamburger Helper or Rice A Roni never entered our house.
My parents raised us cooking the food they often had growing up. My father's family has a German background and my Nana was a fabulous cook and extremely thrifty (as most women of her generation) and my mother comes from a Filipino family where she is child #7 of 10. You could say learning to cook came with the territory.
I have fond memories of curry pork chops, chicken adobo, keilbasa sausage with cabbage, cube steak and home made spaghetti sauce that had ground beef, cubed spam and chopped pepperoni. We always had rice, I learned to make rice in our rice cooker at a very early age. I also remember a meal that I hated as a kid, but now as an adult, I see the wisdom in making a torta, which is like a Spanish-style omelet. She used to put potatoes, onions and canned tuna in it. As a child I picked around the onions and so overall I "hated" it. But it never even occured to me that as a young family, custom building a house and my mom in grad school, that meal was not only a time-saver but an incredible money-saver.
I learned to cook from my mom as well as my grandmothers. I have memories of those lessons that I hope to never forget. As a mom, I try to have my daughters help me in the kitchen and I hope to pass down my love of cooking to them.
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