Today, January 6, would be my Mom’s 90th birthday.
Missing her today . . .
It’s odd, but when I think of my mom, what comes to mind the most are stories of her and food.
Mom was a terrific cook.
Maybe not so odd after all . . .
We were eating pot roast, one of Mom’s specialties.
I should probably point out, here, that when roast beef was served on the beef-raising Stringam ranch, the only condiments permitted were the drippings it was cooked with, gravy made from said drippings, or the Lea and Perrins or Worchestershire Sauces.
Ketchup was . . . frowned upon.
Thus, on the table flanking the platter of sliced meat always sat a gravy boat and two bottles.
If one wanted anything else, one had to get it oneself.
And then endure Dad’s disgusted stare while one used it.
Moving on . . .
Mom had filled her plate and was preparing to dig in.
She looked up. “Would someone please pass me the Pea and Larens?”
Okay, I’m sure you’ve mixed up letters before.
I know I have.
But to six small-minded little kids, asking for something that began with ‘Pee’ was beyond funny.
We laughed about it for the rest of the meal.
And still refer to Lea and Perrins as Pea and Larens. Yes. We’re just disgusting that way.
Mom loved to cook with onions.
Dad hated onions.
He was tactful about it though. He simply said they ‘didn’t agree with him’.
His attitude wafted through the family.
My younger brother, in particular developed an aversion to them.
But Mom insisted that they were needed for flavour.
She chopped them as small as she could, trying to get them under the radar.
With mixed results.
We were eating bowls of Mom’s rich stew.
Chunks of tender meat.
Potatoes, carrots, peas and other vegetables in a tasty gravy.
My brother lifted a spoonful. “Hey!” he said. “There’s an onion here!”
Mom, without batting an eye said, “That’s not an onion! That’s a celery!”
“Oh,” my brother said. He frowned suspiciously for a moment.
Then ate it.
Score one for my Mom.
Now, years after she’s gone, whenever I ask for something disgusting to put on my roast beef, or when I chop 'celery' to add to something simmering on the stove, I think of her.