Posted by: literallydelicious | March 23, 2010

Mom and Food

My mom came from a family of good cooks — not really adventurous, but good, solid foods. Nobody could make sausage gravy like Mom (and I don’t even much like sausage), or homemade dumplins or fried potatoes. Yumm! I don’t think she ever really enjoyed cooking that much, though. It was something every wife and mother did when I grew up. Eating out was a rare and special-event sort of thing. She fixed three meals a day when she was a stay-at-home mom, and oversaw the three meals when she was working outside the house.

The first few years I was in school, she was at home. I loved getting off the school bus and smelling whatever she was fixing for dinner before I even got in the house. Sometimes she had fresh-baked cookies waiting for us, which were always a real treat — still are. Bob and I have a tendency to eat dinner whenever we get around to it — rarely as early as six, often as late as nine-thirty — so it seems strange that Mom would be fixing dinner around four o’clock. But my dad had to get up around four to go to work, so I guess that fit their schedule.

Mom was no short-order cook. She fixed one meal, and if we didn’t like it, we could go hungry until the next. I remember lots of pot roasts and fried chicken and pork chops. She didn’t like veggies much, but she fixed them for Daddy and us girls. On Sundays it was usually a pot roast; after church, we stopped at the little bakery on Main Street and buy fresh-baked bread to go with it. Man, I loved walking in there and smelling all the bread, cakes and pies!

After Daddy died and the three of us grew up and moved out, Mom cut way back on the cooking. Her two favorite meals, no kidding, were cold weiners (not on a bun, not even bread) and bologna sandwiches. She’d fix birthday meals for us and for her ladies’ Bible study group, and of course the big holiday meals, but she rarely cooked for herself. She said she’d lost her talent for it and didn’t care to get it back.

In the last few years before she passed, I took her a lot of doctors’ and physical therapy appointments, and we almost always ate while we were out. “Where do you want to go?” I’d ask, and usually she’d say, “Oh, I don’t care. You choose.”  Now, this is a woman who wouldn’t touch most of the food I eat. I’d say, “How about sushi (Vietnamese, Thai, Greek, seafood)?” and she’d smile and say, “Okay, I’ll watch you eat.”

The most exotic thing I ever saw her eat was when she, my son and I went to New England. We were in Maine, so of course we had to have lobster. She made the mistake (and I made the mistake of letting her) of starting with a claw. The first one was hard to crack; it took her several efforts, and she crushed the shell and had to dig the pieces out of the meat. When she tried the second claw, it slipped out of the crackers and flew about fifteen feet across the room. She dropped the crackers in disgust and said, “Any food you have to work that hard for, God never intended you to eat.”

My son, who was about 12 at the time, retrieved the claw, wiped it off, cracked it open and, much to her dismay, ate it. Then he showed her how easy it was to get the tail meat out. She ate the tail, but never wanted lobster again in her life.

One doctor’s visit day, when I asked, she said, “Remember that place we went out on the other side of town that time?”

The scary thing is, I knew immediately which place she was talking about. (Cracker Barrel, for the terminally curious.)

One day, Bob was with us, and he really wanted to go to Jim’s Coney Island on Harvard. She ate cold weiners all the time, so I figured she wouldn’t mind having a hot one. Now, the proper name of Jim’s is Never on Sunday. It’s one of those places I see so much more often in Oklahoma than anywhere else — a sort of two-in-one place. You know, like gasoline and polling place. Beauty salon and video rental. Jim’s is a Coney Island and a Greek restaurant.

So Mom said sure, that would be fine. We went in to the counter and Bob ordered a gyros platter with extra tzatziki and oil, and I ordered the same. Mom stepped up, certain to order a plain coney, I thought, and she said, “Give me what they’re having.” My jaw just about hit the floor. And almost did it again when she took her first bite and liked it. And again when she finished her food and practically licked the plate clean.

She was proud to tell my sisters she’d eaten Greek food and liked it.

But she never asked to go back again, LOL.

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Responses

  1. Terminally Curious thanks you for filling her in. (You knew I’d ask.)
    Beautiful memory of your mom. Thank you for sharing.

    • Of course you’d ask. That’s what you do. 😉

      Thanks for coming back and letting me share. I appreciate it.

  2. My mom was the exact opposite. Her motto was “You need to try it at least once!” And try it she did. Not only did we make every new, unusual resturant in town, but she had cookbooks from around the world. Only problem was she worked and rarely got a chance to cook more than basic American food.

    • Jackie, that’s cool that your mom was so open to different stuff. I always figure if a new food is truly horrible, I can spit it out discreetly and get “full” awfully fast. But I find something to like about virtually every ethnic food I’ve ever tried. And they do say that variety is the spice of life. 😉

      • I have to admit, I do draw the line on insects…even chocolate covered!

      • Ugh, me, too! Not even for Godiva!!

  3. Hey, the chocolate covered insects aren’t that bad. I just hate it when the legs get stuck between my teeth. 😉

    • LOL, Meg!

      I can’t quite handle the crunching of little insect bodies breaking when I bite.


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