In the Kitchen with Mom

by Laura on June 27, 2011

in Uncategorized

During our annual trip back to Cleveland, we look forward to a lot of adventures. From swimming in the backyard pool and dipping our feet into Lake Erie, to visiting Kiddie Park, participating in a backyard scavenger hunt, seeing old friends, and watching the Fourth of July parade.

And then, there is the food . . .

While the kids are most excited about the food – and treats – that come out of Grandma’s kitchen, I am excited about seeing my Mom in action in the kitchen. I get to cook and bake with her in my kitchen, (she quickly makes herself at home in my kitchen when she visits), it is nothing like the ease and flow of her working in her own kitchen. Clearly, she is at home when in the kitchen. This is where I look to pick up a few tricks of the trade  – the finesse she adds to her baking (you know, the things that might not translate well when written down on a piece of paper).

Today, we’re baking a cake for Greg’s birthday. He is fond of coconut, so she dug out a recipe from a huge stack of recipes. She is old school in her filing of recipes. Nothing electronic, just notebooks, piles of recipes ripped out of magazines, and a bit of organization in files. Funny, that is exactly how my recipes are kept. I long for a bit more organization, and I know she does as well, but, for the most part, we both can find a recipe we need without too much trouble.

Just like parenting, when it comes to cooking and baking, there needs to be a bit of love, a bit of nurturing, and a lot of patience. Some people can follow a recipe exactly and it turns out mediocre.

Then there are others, who can knock that same recipe out of the ballpark. They are the ones who become one with the ingredients and know when they are prepared to perfection. It takes practice, and a lot of patience. You may not get it right every time, but you can never give up. Because I know after all these years, my Mom still makes mistakes.  But she dives in again and gets back into the kitchen, despite the frustration. And yes, there are times when she doesn’t want to be in the kitchen, but still she finds herself there every day.

It is my plan to bake Greg’s cake, but I know the day’s activities will consume me (it’s 6:30 a.m. and I’ve already sent one of the kids back to bed this morning because it was too early for them to wake up). While I’m bustling about getting the kids ready for the day, Mom will quietly start gathering ingredients, heating the oven, pulling out pans for the cake. And, before I will even realize it, she’ll be frosting Greg’s birthday cake for me.

She loves it. She thrives on it. It is a daily habit, and one that I know she couldn’t do without.

Mom’s inspiration was her Mother,  who put the love and patience into all that she made – from chicken soup to holiday breads and daily meals in between. There is no doubt that my Mom had a good mentor – her mother – and come to think of it, so do I.

Thanks Mom for keeping the tradition alive.  And may I also thank you ahead of time for making the delicious cake for Greg’s birthday!

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