Sunday, May 12, 2013

An Open Letter To My Mother

Dear Mama,

Happy Mother's Day.

Hopefully as you're reading this, I'm making you a delicious breakfast that isn't pancakes. There's a chance that there's an odd bridesmaid or maybe a wayward bride-to-be sleeping somewhere in the house, and I'm hopefully kind enough to make breakfast for them too, taking care of guests, like you always taught me. (Since I'm writing this in advance of not only Mother's Day, but also the bachelorette, which you generously agreed to house, everything at this point is guesswork...)

I thought a blog post written to you here, of all places would be very fitting, because it is safe to say that without you, this site wouldn't exist. I mean obviously, I'm here because of you and our 9 sweet months of bonding time, but there's more to it than that. Without your spirit, your creative influence and your passion for food and entertaining, I don't know that I would have found my way to cooking. You've told me a few times since this blog started that I've inspired you to try some new things. Well, I'm thrilled and humbled by the fact that I can finally return the favour and start to repay you for all of the love and know-how that you instilled in me over the years.

Ever since I can remember, you've been filling my head with creative ideas, my ears with music, and my lunch box with love notes (mostly on bananas). I didn't know it at the time, but these were all gifts you were giving to me, day by day, to take with me on my journey through life. Over the years, you've watched me, and your other two daughters grow, and all the while we've watched you cook. We've watched you work from morning to evening making Thanksgiving dinners for crowds, Christmas dinners for just us, birthday cakes, party appetizers, staff meetings, your famous salads, classic "Gladiator" fare, trying new recipes, summer barbecues and then some. I even remember you cooking in the hard times, bringing muffins to your fellow teachers who were marching in the freezing rain on picket lines. I remember you whipping up a hot meal to take to a grieving neighbor who couldn't think about eating, let alone preparing something to nourish themselves in their time of loss. I hope to be just like you some day in these aspects. You inspire me.

You're always concerned about making sure the less privileged children at your school get breakfast. That the hungriest families in the community have a proper meal over the holidays. You have always understood the relationship between love, comfort, humanity, family, friendship, and food. I'm proud of you.

Mom, your heart is a kitchen, open 24 hours for all meals, a midnight snack, and then some. Any time of day that hits, you have a recipe to cure whatever's ailing. Whether you know it or not, you've taught me just the same things that you believe. I'm inheriting your kitchen wisdom, piece by piece. Dinner is not just a meal, it's a time to experiment with flavours and play with spices, as well as a time to sit and be with the people you love, family time. (Unless it's playoffs or the Olympics!) That the reason no one will ever make Babcia's perogies as well as she does is because she spits in them. To let the dressing sit for at least a day because, otherwise, it won't taste right. That leftovers are often better than the meal the day of. It's alright to have cake for breakfast on your birthday. That true wealth is a dining room full of laughing, happy people, a stocked pantry and a glass of red wine.

I learned all of this, just by watching you cook. It's no small wonder I wanted to take the hobby up for myself and open myself up to a world of kindness, experiments, colours, flavour combinations and love that I see you inhabit day in and day out. So thank you, for inspiring in me what I hope will be one of my life long loves. Thank you for teaching me. Thank you for loving me. Most of all, thank you for being my mother.


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