I often joke about the quality of my mom’s cooking – how everything was a dash of this, a bit of that and how when I did ask her to write a recipe down it was as if I had requested she write the story of her life or a thesis on some foreign topic. Once I actually received said recipe the real work began as I set out to decipher a code written in some cryptic language.
But now that she has been gone for some time I start to realize that she actually wasn’t too bad in the kitchen – there was a home cooked meal on the table every night- even if it was reliably one of the few in her dinner rotation 1. Tacos 2. Spaghetti 3. Salisbury steak 4. Meatloaf 5. Cheesy Hamburger patties baked with cream of mushroom soup 6. Pot roast or 7. Chicken noodle soup.
There are certain times in my own kitchen that I am transported back to my childhood – the taste of a sliced apple coated in sugar and flour waiting to be placed in a crust and baked into a pie reminds me that she was damn good at baking pies (and bisquick coffee cakes too!). The smell of apples boiling away on the stovetop on their way to being applesauce reminds me that she was great at using what she had to provide locally sourced, organic nourishment to us kids long before there was a name for it.
So as I sit here making applesauce for my own kids with apples from the same tree that she used to pick from all those years ago I reflect on the woman who made me, and how over time and through situational changes our thoughts and memories be morphed, just like apples to applesauce.