Posted by Dana Hinders on January 2, 2012
If you asked my son what his mom does best, you would probably get an answer that relates to cooking. When his kindergarten teacher had the kids draw pictures of their moms as part of a Mother’s Day gift, he drew me in the kitchen baking a birthday cake. For about six months, he kept inviting all of the neighborhood children over to sample mom’s banana bread muffins – even on the days when I had not actually baked any muffins for breakfast! I have a note taped to my refrigerator that says, “Deer Mom. Yor fud is gud.” (Translation: Dear Mom. Your food is good.)
If you happened to ask me what I thought I did best, cooking would be pretty far down on the list. Growing up, I viewed cooking as something hopelessly old fashioned and not relevant to the life of the modern working woman. When I moved into my first apartment, I memorized the pizza delivery guy’s phone number. Until we started having trouble coming up with money to pay all our bills, I figured restaurant meals were a well-deserved reward at the end of a long day. Why slave over a hot stove when Visa and MasterCard can come to your rescue?
Now, I cook out of necessity. Hungry family + tight budget = being forced to become friends with my kitchen. When I made my son’s birthday cake, it was because I did not have the cash for a fancy bakery cake. When I made the muffins, it was because throwing away all of the overripe bananas seemed like a ridiculous waste, given our rather limited grocery budget. The meal that inspired the note on the refrigerator was actually an invented dish made out of leftovers, random cans of stuff from my pantry, and suggestions from the ingredient search tool at AllRecipes.com.
One day, after getting particularly frustrated in the kitchen by a recipe that would not turn out and a family that wanted food NOW, I decided to ask my son why he thought his mom was such a good cook. He thought about it for awhile, furrowing his eyebrows like I had asked him to find the solution to world peace. “Because you love us,” he finally said as he reached over to give me a kiss on the cheek.
Yup. That works for me.