What was your favorite home cooked meal as a child? Did you help make it? How did it make you feel? Share the scents and sights and flavors.
My favorite home cooked meal wasn’t some reinvention of the egg. There was little fancy and flare, but there was a whole ‘lotta love. We called it thing. As I grew up and made thing for my own budding family, my husband would laugh at my mother’s invention, hug me close and watch me concoct my dish.
I know what you’re thinking: Beef stroganoff, without the mushrooms (although I’m sure we had them sometimes, they don’t resonate in my memories). In my house it was thing. I have no idea where the name came from, or why I never knew it was stroganoff until my husband told me, but to me, it’s always thing.
The whole dish permeated the kitchen. From the starchy smell of pasta, to the beef sizzling in the pan and enough sour cream to tie the dish together with a dash of poppy seed (that I got to add). We always had broccoli on the side in an attempt to keep it healthy, but this was our “bad” food. My parents kept the cooking pretty clean growing up, and for this, I am thankful.
My father worked late, being a business owner, but I don’t remember a dinner of thing without him there. Slurping my noodles up, getting a lick of sour cream on the end of my button nose. The tangy taste of sour cream and the crunch of each individual poppy seed between my little teeth. I see my Mom at the stove cooking, before the kitchen was renovated. I see the old white kitchen table and the hideous kitchen chairs on wheels, that would fly backwards if you leaned too far, without much warning. The teal patterned linoleum floor. And my family, gathered around together. Mom, Dad, Jess, me… Nick and Geoff in highchairs. We always ate later than other families, but we tried desperately to always eat together.
I now make thing for Dave and myself using plain low fat yogurt, in lieu of sour cream, and ground turkey in place of beef. I always make broccoli as a side. I envision what Addie is thinking as she watches me at the stove furiously chopping at the turkey, singing her silly songs. Watching my body move from the stove to the sink and back again in a dance, as I drain my pasta and the add all the ingredients in my large pot stirring just enough to mix. I hope she is making memories and lifestyle choices all at once. I hope I am passing on good smells, silly dance moves, a love of food and cooking and healthy choices, but most of all, a love for my family.
I wanted to make this dish so I would have some pictures… but Dave is away until Sunday and I am so lonely I’ve been juicing and eating salads all week (good for my hips, but my kitchen is wildly underused right now). I hope you’re envisioning your favorite dish as a child and remembering more than just the taste, but the experience too. Thank you for sharing this first month of Mom Before Mom with me. I look forward to the rest of the year with you!