My mom loves to cook. Or, more so, she loves to feed people. She’s famous for stirring a pot of something and requiring everyone who is within shouting distance to come “have a little bite.”
We often ate some variation of noodles with a meaty red sauce or a casserole. Always with a side salad with homemade ranch. Every meal was square: protein, vegetable and starch. Cloth napkins. Milk.
The kitchen belonged to my mom. She loved to putz in there, humming exactly like my grandma. Mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy…she was and still is highly organized and prepared. My brother and I hung around her and helped with things like setting the table, handwashing grandmother’s sterling silver spoon, adding carrots atop the salad, opening the oven door so she could put the turkey in. She was the boss, the Camp Director (that’s how her spice and herb blend got it’s name).
I remember wanting to make cookies all by myself. Not all-by-myself in a sweet 7 year-old way but all-by-myself in a sassy 7th grader way. My mom happily obliged, stepping away from the kitchen. I played music and made a huge mess. I mixed the wet ingredients in one bowl and the dry in another and I was stumped. I held the bag of brown sugar reading the back over and over again, looking for a clue. I wasn’t sure if this brown sugar we had was packed or not.
I really, really didn’t want to ask for help. But I eventually choked down my angsty pride and called for my mom who was pleased to help (and now that I’m a mom to growing girls, I bet she was downplaying how pleased she was that I needed her help).
“Mom, is this the only brown sugar we have? I need packed brown sugar.”
“Here, sweetie. Packed just means you pack it in the cup. Like this.”
I spend a lot of time in the kitchen with my kids. Always have. Our kitchen is out home’s Motherboard. Our days start and end in the kitchen. It takes constant work: resupply, make, clean. Repeat. It requires all our effort and in that effort we talk, connect and grow up. In our home the kitchen is well-used, often messy, a whirl of creative frenzy. All hands on deck. I sometimes wish I had my mom’s organized and prepared gene. But, more so, I appreciate that I inherited her way of expressing love through food and gathering but made it my own.
As my girls grow (and GROW), that’s all I can hope for: that my influence create a foundation of love and attention on which they can build their own home.
p.s. we have some pretty great Mother’s Day gifts at DIG + CO. in case you want to give a little handcrafted love. xo