Monday, August 15, 2016


I was talking with my mother last night, and she mentioned something in passing that struck me as rather important to understanding her.  You see, whenever she visits, all she wants to do is eat out (or that's how it feels to me).  Given how hard it can be for me to digest things, I would prefer to eat in (except for a fancy meal and a visit to Panera), especially now that I am learning to cook.  Plus, I cannot afford to eat out and all I do is think about the money, even when she is treating.  It is a point of real tension between us during her visits.

Tonight, as I was talking about the months and months between watching Pati Jinich make the Tacos al Pastor, tracking down the ingredients, vicariously learning to make corn tortillas, and then finally making the tacos, with all these interruptions in between, Mother made this short, but key comment.  She said that she enjoyed seeing my excitement over being at the beginning of my cooking journey, but that she was at the end of hers.  The last thing that she wants to do is spend hours in the kitchen cooking.  She would much rather have a tasty meal out or bring home a salad or other takeaway.

Suddenly her pushing me to go out shifted in my mind.  I no longer saw her rejecting my cooking or even my need to be careful with what I consume.  What I saw was an old woman who was exhausted with culinary labors.  She had the means to spend her energy away from the kitchen and so that is her choice.

I understand exhaustion.
I understand weighing your means.
I understand wanting to choose where you spend your energy.

I do think that my mother could work harder to balance her preferences with mine, but more so I can work to be more sensitive to my mother's preferences and balance my desire to share my culinary victories with her desire for comfort and rest in her meals.

A good example of this is to learn to poach chicken before her next visit!  You see, I mentioned that that was my next culinary goal.  I watched someone poach chicken and learned that poached chicken is what is most commonly used in chicken salads and salads with chicken, that super succulent, super white chicken.  I have subsequently watched additional videos and have three recipes for poaching that I would like to try to see what poaching method I like best.

When I mentioned this to my mother, she was excited, having just eaten a salad with poached chicken and thinking she would like to learn to poach chicken since she and my step-father have moved to a high-protein diet.  So, I can marry my desire to share with her desire to learn, if I make a culinary focus during her visit to be on poached chicken.

No comments: