My mother knows her way around a kitchen better than Martha Stewart. Of course, if you asked her if that was true, she’d dismiss the extravagant praise with the wave of her hand and say, “it’s just dinner”. According to my mother, I was exposed to a lot of food when I was younger, when our family went out to a restaurant, we ordered with everyone else, and didn’t just stick to chicken fingers and fries. My favorite dish that she made when I was too young to remember it was lemon baked ribs with mashed potatoes, I would eat them for my birthday dinner off the blue “its your birthday” plate every March, eagerly awaiting the taste tender tangy meat more than my birthday presents.
My mother’s favorite dish to make is Kottbular, which she says are Swedish meatballs, a recipe that her grandfather, who was a Swede, made for her when she was younger. The meatballs aren’t spicy, like they are in Italian cooking, but instead are mild and meaty in flavor, perfect for a young unsuspecting palate such as my brother and me. My mom serves kotbullar with rice, and her favorite thing is to take the leftover rice and have it over milk in the morning. My brother and I always thought that was so weird, but its something that her dad, my Tapa, used to do. Everything my mom cooks or does in the kitchen has a close tie to family, from both her side and my dad’s side. She has a recipe tin that has various dents in its breadbox shape that holds all of her best kitchen dishes.
Although cooking is something that my mother really loves, she also likes going out to eat occasionally; when she does she loves her clams and linguine, or green lipped muscles, her favorite seafood cuisine. Although, she does have her commercial weaknesses, mostly cocoa puffs, and Starbucks chais with a pump of peppermint when she’s feeling festive. When they took the Chocolate and Vanilla Cocoapuffs off the shelves at the supermarket, she swore it was a deliberate attempt by General Mills cereal to curb her addiction. My mother can be a bit dramatic, as she used to do theater, and sometimes, it shows. As much as she calls me a drama queen, her accusations of General Mills would suggest the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
There was hardly a meal made when I was younger that we wouldn’t eat, although when my mom went through her experimental hamburger helper phase, we all suffered, but not silently. My mother loves to remind me of this, mostly because it’s the only time I’ve ever refused to put something she made into my stomach. However, she acknowledges that she can’t blame a seven year old for not wanting to put something that looked like turkey barf on their plate. My mom is someone who cooks often (there were very few nights where we ate out because we were lazy or nights where we ate something from a can or the freezer), and cooks with simple ingredients, but makes excellent meals. My mother’s cooking, and again, she’d be too modest to agree, is the epitome of “home cooking,” and I can say I was raised a very blessed, very content child.