Now I want all of you to know that I love(d) my mother dearly. There are certain images and memories we all think of and associate with our mothers. Maybe it was a certain holiday dish your mom made you or maybe every Friday night she prepared something special or even did her best to get your family to follow a religious tradition. A “taco night” perhaps? Or maybe still no one could touch her meatloaf, casserole, or brownies. My mom was no exception. I remember pork chops in tomato sauce, lasagna, spaghetti, pancakes, macaroni salad, double layer mint cake, and many more meals that were made for us on a weeknight or special event.
I am not going to try and replace your mom by any means but I must tell you, moms in the last 25 years might have had it a little easier then their mothers (your grandma if you can’t do the math). Today we are overwhelmed with frozen food options, value menu items at local fast food restaurants, and there are now even businesses that allow you to come in, pay a huge fee, and pre-prepare a weeks worth of meals! It just isn’t the same. Today’s kids are lucky if their mom can make something, anything, that stands out, that will conjure memories that when they grow up and are out of the home, suffering through college dorm room food, they yearn for.
I have now wondered if dads may now have an inside track! Maybe dads spend their time on the grill and can make killer ribs, or maybe his responsibility is breakfast on the weekends and his pancakes are better than anything you have EVER had at your friends house much less at a café! My, how times of changed…
The challenge though is not that your mom is even good or even exemplary, I am sure she is, the real issue though here is that we are competing with the memories. Your mom may have not been perfect, but I would be willing to bet that most of us have some warm and fuzzy moments where mom fixed us some spaghetti, or maybe a cup of hot cocoa and all seemed to be right in the world, at least for a few moments. The sad truth is that the food may not have been that great but simply due to her heartfelt exchange and expression, it probably tasted a lot better than it actually did, at least in your memories.
In my own life, I always felt my mom was a pretty good cook. When I was married the first time, Jenne was also a very good cook. It was a pretty easy transition. Fast forward and when Jenne and I had divorced and I had the 3 older boys to myself, I had to learn to cook, cook well and try to cook as healthy as possible. There were a few steps in the evolution of this would-be cook that I am leaving out currently, but will fill in over time. The point is, I was a single dad of 3 boys and needed to learn, and do it quickly.
I am going to spend the next several months on this blog sharing some of those lessons. I want to share who and how I learned to cook, a little of why, and hopefully a recipe or two that some other single dad or mom, or family, can use to make their Tuesday night just a little easier. I have learned that cooking is not about the big holidays or the special events, rather, it is more about the mid-week dinner when you don’t feel like it.
Some of these recipes will be simple and fun. Some will be a little more complex yet doable. Out of necessity I have taken the time, tried out hundreds of recipes, fed them to kids and dinner guests, and arrived at several consistently good, fairly easy-to-prepare recipes that you can pull out in a pinch, even plan for when trying to figure out what is on the menu for the week.
I hope you will enjoy.