Of course, my first blog post needs to be memories of my mother. I learned all about cooking from my mom. She wasn’t a gourmet cook or anything. She just had to get a meal on the table for five fidgety kids and a hungry husband. When they were first married, my dad was a very picky eater. When she saw her kids pointing at him as a source of support for refusing to eat what she put on the table, she said, “Oh no. You can’t teach those kids to be picky.” So he sucked it up and ate whatever she put in front of him. He never talked at the table, except maybe a harumph. So he never complained about the food. Ever. But he had a funny little habit. If he did not like the meal, he would dutifully eat whatever he was given. Then he would get up and make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. We knew if he made that sandwich, he did not like what he just ate.
As we got older, we were not as impressed by my dad’s willingness to clear his plate. We complained, pouted and snubbed the food if we did not like it. My mom’s response was always the same: “Oh, eat it and shut up.” There was no begging us to eat. She would never in a million years stop making a food we did not like. She made what she liked, what she had time to make, and what was on sale that week. If we did not like it, well, then we were going to starve. We did not get peanut butter and jelly privileges like my dad. Nope. We had to sit at the table and pick away at it until we ate some of it. We had to eat at least enough to make it to the next meal. Then we were excused.