Now, let it be said that I am quite grateful for The Mom’s cooking and in fact fly across the Atlantic twice a year to have some. Frequently, my visits are precipitated by elaborate lists of things I think I would like to eat. However, more often than not, I really just enjoy thinking about what I might eat, as opposed to actually eating it.
I remember all the lunches The Mom made me when I was recovering from my Crohn’s flare and had a broken wrist. I am generally not welcome in the kitchen at home – The Mom isn’t super keen on whatever unusual food I might try and pawn off on her, and L’il Sis and Crazy D are circumspect for their own reasons – I am known to be a good cook, but you have to catch me on the right day. That and the things I tend to prepare do not meet their strict standards of having all of the health and all of the fibre in them. For reasons that should be obvious.
Anyhow, when I was slowly regaining my ability to digest, I also had a little job that The Mom had pulled some strings for me to get, tutoring at her alma mater. I’d go over to the library and help students with their papers and essays twice a week for a few hours, and then walk home. Generally, when I’d returned The Mom was either taking a nap, or out walking a dog. So I’d come home to a table mat set with whatever she’d cobbled together for me to eat. She rises to an occasion The Mom does, even if it’s just my lunch.
Sometimes it would be chicken salad, with some juicy bits of mango, adorned with lettuce (sometimes with a note that said: do not eat lettuce, decoration only). Presentation counts, and sometimes I think she figured that if she could just make the food look interesting enough then I might be more interested in eating it.
Once, I gently mocked The Mom’s habit of doing this, and L’il Sis shook her head and said, “Food is love.”
Other times, she took the chicken soup approach, and when the both of us could no longer face it, she branched out and learned how to make Vietnamese Pho, which both Poochie and I loved.
When I was at home over the winter holidays, everyone it seemed was eager to cook for me. I don’t know if this was partly to keep me away from the kitchen or what have you, but nonetheless, there were days when Crazy D made dinner. Now, bless him, his portions are tailored to someone like himself: a big, stopping man who likes to go to the gym for the entire day, and follow that up with a six hours bike ride. I go for a swim, but it’s only for an hour. And I will never have his appetite. But I do try.
He made for us pork burgers with Asian slaw.His years spent working on cooking shows have really paid off, and one day, some woman is going to really enjoy coming home to dinner. However, this one evening, he made dinner for The Mom and I. Plates were brought out, and dinner was served. The burgers were double the size of what The Mom would normally try and feed me. But they were delicious. She ate half hers, because she has sense. I ate the whole thing – it took me the better part of an hour (I am a notoriously slow eater, and can only be so because the Mom will fend Crazy D off when he starts eyeing up my plate). After I’d finished eating, my belly hurt, as you’d expect. I made a low, moaning sound and The Mom rolled her eyes.
“When will you learn!” she cried.
“Never,” I muttered, and shuffled off to the bathroom.
That’s the thing about The Mom’s cooking: she won’t give you a lot, it’ll be plain, and probably based on a cheap chicken, but it won’t kill you. In fact, it just might give you the strength to carry on.