Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Learning Together

As I've mentioned before on this blog, Dad has always been the real cook in our family. I've been so happy bonding with him over recipes over the last several months, and I know he got real pleasure out of sharing some of his expertise with me and seeing me get really excited about one of his favorite hobbies. (Gardening was another, ditto.) I'm going to miss that, incredibly.

But... something new may come out of this all.

One of the very first things my Mom said when she got off the plane returning home from her horrible ordeal in China was "Well, now I'm going to have to learn how to cook." My ears pricked up. Mom said she'd been so used to Dad cooking for the last 41 years - how long they'd been together - that while she knows the basics she really let the kitchen be his domain and she just enjoyed the fruits of his labors.

Now, however, she needs to find her way around again in the kitchen and learn to try new things to find out what SHE likes after all these years. So, I've made it my mission to help, and to let this be something Mom and I can do together.

On my last visit here, my brother and I took turns doing most of the cooking. He, like my Dad, is a grillmaster, so his meals basically involved lots and lots of meat cooked in the great outdoors. But I got the chance to introduce both of them to the tilapia and asparagus dish (from HungryGirl) that I've come to love. Mom really liked it, being a fish fan and a huge asparagus lover, and as she ate it she kept asking me questions about how I'd made it.

Now that I'm back here for another week, we made plans that I would do a lot of the cooking. Yesterday, I made the HungryGirl Asian broccoli slaw as a side to eat with Mom's broiled teriyaki salmon, and it was a big success. Mom ate 2 big bowls of it! And she kept asking what was in it, and said this was something she could make to take to her picnics and pot lucks since it was a good healthy recipe. Tonight, I'm cooking up a lasagna, Dad's healthy veggie recipe made in Dad's own pans. I hope she likes it, cuz I know it meant a lot to me to be cooking with his knives, and his pans, in his kitchen. Later in the week, I'm going to show her the South Beach breakfast mini quiches I love, and I'm going to whip up some of my spinach-potato-cannellini bean soup.

I think this will be good for us. Mom's always been a really healthy eater, and I know she's looking for creative things to do more than just salads. And I want to keep learning and having someone to share it with. We both have Dad's cookbooks, and I will continue exploring. And Mom doesn't know this yet, but her birthday is this Thursday and I ordered her a gift subscription to Cooking Light. So, even though Dad is no longer with us physically, his spirit will live on in our kitchens as well as in our hearts.


DC Food Blog said...

Isn't that one of the joys of being an adult? Being able to share things with your parents that you've learned and they can learn with you? Stef, you are doing your dad proud.

Stef said...

Update: while Mom said the veggie lasagna was good, turns out tomato sauce doesn't agree with her. So that one was not a winner. But, she really liked the South Beach mini quiches and - SCORE - she loved the spinach-bean-potato soup and asked me to write down the recipe for her. She talked about making it in the crockpot and bringing it as the dish to pass with all her hiking friends. Good times.