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Cooking with Mother


Foam Pants
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Gee, how many of us have purchased our parents knives?!! :laugh:

I know I did for one father's day -- a decent chef's, bread and paring knife. Oh, and a cutting board too. Some reason or another, (was this a trend? I seem to remember other friends' moms having one of these too) my mother had a funky, thin wooden board and also a glass one too. I think the glass board was a gift from their kitchen cabinet maker because they opted not to have one of those pull out drawer kinds.

At that point, they had the one serated multipurpose dull thing and a few twisted point cheap steak knives (a screw driver in a pinch). They still do.

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Gee, how many of us have purchased our parents knives?!! :laugh:

*raises hand 3x*

A set for my step-mom, a few for my mother in law, and even one for my mom.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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My mom is a really good cook in my opinion. She has taken lots of classes with some well known chefs and has been to cooking school. She never cuts any corners or uses white bread or margarine or fake mayo or fake cheese, and one entire cupboard is devoted to dried herbs and spices.

Even though I too am going to school she assumes I know nothing. "Wash those vegetables before you peel them" "Don't forget to clean up after yourself" "Why are you doing it that way?" "I think those need to cook some more" *grabs the spatula from me and takes over*

So um, why does she ask me to do something if she always thinks her way is better? Oh, I get it...she wants me to do it, but she wants me to do it her way.

She is pretty good with having appropriate cookware and everything but does not sharpen her knives. She always asks me why I want to bring my own knives when I come over. "Because they're sharp" I say. Recently she did sharpen her knives before I came over and it was much better. I could actually cut through parsley.

And then she always says "I love cooking with you...it's so much fun" and I have to nod through the tears... :raz:

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Gee, how many of us have purchased our parents knives?!!  :laugh:

I outfitted my mil's kitchen for Passover. I figure, if I'm doing all the cooking, I need equipment I'm happy with. This means knives, cutting boards (she's of the cutting in the air school), a microplane grater, whisks, wood spoons, and even a Cuisinart.

She's better equipped for an 8 day holiday then for the rest of the year.

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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Gee, how many of us have purchased our parents knives?!!  :laugh:

My now-fiance bought a knife set and block for mom for her birthday without telling me and I cringed when he told me, like the day before we were going up there to celebrate. My mom has had the same knife set forever and she keeps it on a magnet that's mounted to a wall, which makes my skin crawl especially when I have to take a knife off or put it back. I think she uses the new ones too though. Maybe she puts them away when we aren't there :biggrin:

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My mother is an excellent cook and makes THE BEST Filipino food I have ever had anywhere. (The only person who tops her in that department is my grandmother. Her sinigang is amazing.)

Pity that this is the only thing my mom and I have in common. We haven't spoken since January this year. :sad:

Soba

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My mother is a very good cook and always encouraged us in the kitchen. We used to get together with her siblings' and cousin's families for vacations almost every year, and my mom and aunts and grandmother would all cook together. So maybe that's why we've all grown up fairly tolerant and cooperative in the kitchen. We somehow naturally take turns being the leader and followers, depending on what we're making.

What's a little strange to me is that over the past five years or so I've become the one who's expected to have all the cooking answers. Even my mother asks my opinion when she's cooking.

I have bought knives (and other kitchen equipment) for my sisters, brother and parents, but then again, I work for Sur La Table, so I buy kitchenware for everyone. We all have better kitchens because of my job.

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I used to think I was unusual  in developing an interest in cooking in reaction to my parents' indifference/incompetence in matters of food. Nice to see I'm in such good company.

Yes, it seems a bunch of us have taken a corrective course...

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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I wouldn't say my mother is a bad cook. Just uninspired. The meals she used to make; married to a wonderful Italian cook these days, were very basic. Broiled fish, hamburgers, basic spaghetti etc. Nothing inedible. Nothing exceptional.

My father and his mother, that is where I got my love of food and cooking. That and my grandfather, who never failed to eat my "recipes" when I was young and still learning.

However, I did have a boyfriend who's mother was of the cream of mushroom, cream of celery, cream of chicken variety cook. Some of her creations would put those Weight Watchers cards to shame.

My mother used to have the dullest knives, guess what she got for Christmas one year ?

Today is going to be one of those days.....

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I've been considering posting about my mother's cooking. I have a good story to tell about how she cooked a turkey, very dry with no gravy, and expected it to see us through a weeklong visit. I could talk about her attempt at chili-- this from a woman who cannot tolerate anything spicy at all. At least there was some meat in it. I could talk about a staple she's offered us numerous times-- boneless, skinless chicken breasts baked in the oven until dry, with a jar of mushrooms poured over the top. And I could talk about how, in desperation, I've demanded that I cook for us on several occasions when we're at her house, using the explanation (which happens to be true) that I love cooking and get itchy if I don't cook at least once every few days. I could tell you about how I once made such a demand on Christmas Day because I just couldn't take it anymore. No stores were open. I defrosted some boneless, skinless chicken breasts, browned them in a skillet, then finished them with a half-cup of 12-year-old white wine that originated in the Finger Lakes region of NY (it had turned into something halfway between sherry and cider), some dried rosemary that had to be at least 20 years old from the spice rack, and some mushy garlic that we found in the bottom of the crisper in the fridge. It sounds like an atrocity, but it was by far the best meal of our visit.

I could tell you about all of these things, but then my mother would hear about it. I'm just certain she'd find out. And she wouldn't understand, and her feelings would be hurt. So I'll just keep my mouth shut, like I always do.

Great chicken, mom! What are we having tomorrow?

"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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My mom was the best training for working with an anal retentive perfectionist who is short on praise. Nothing is ever good enough or clean enough. She was perfect.

She has since discovered the evils of low fat cooking and insists that mashed potatoes made with margarine are "just as good" as those made with butter. :angry:

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My mother is not a cook at all. We grew up with very basic, bland meals. Hot dogs, spaghetti, hamburgers, overdone chicken, mac and cheese from a box. The three spices she has in her kitchen are salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

Everything comes from a box or a can, maybe a steak baked for a while after it's been marinated is some overly sweet storebought marinade.

Yet, her Mom is a fabulous cook. She can and does cook anything you can imagine and it's always fantastic. I've learned a lot from watching her and from my mother-in-law, who, again is an amazing cook.

The few times I ever cooked when younger for the family, I would try to expand our horizons and be shot down over it. I was told how horrible of a cook I was. Of course, it was because I didn't cook like Mom.

It wasn't until I moved in with my husband and started cooking for us, that I realized I'm a pretty damn good cook and that there is a vast world of food beyond what Mom made.

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Definitely a hindrance, even though she lets me cook when I'm visiting (she'd let anyone cook these days). Whatever I cook is fine; ask her what she wants "food".

I've bought knives to leave there only to have other siblings pilfer them :angry:

I leave spices there, and they're pretty much left alone, even the fresh pepper. :hmmm:

I try to leave some stock there -- "I don't have room in my freezer for that junk." She throws them out. :wacko:

So, when I go home for the weekend, I take a big box and crate up the necessities and shop for perishables along the way. There is a bright side -- there are many farmers markets in that area, and I can stock up for me :raz:

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I just got back from visiting mom for a couple days. Had to use the dreaded salad spinner for drying parsley and for some reason I was doing it wrong (in her mind), and mom was criticizing me, so I said, "Do you want to do it?" and she said "No", but I think she thought I was asking her seriously. I said "Ok then" and I think she still didn't get it.

We made meatloaf, or rather she handed me the measured out ingredients and I combined them. While I was dicing mushrooms she said "Those mushrooms have to be really small", and I said "Oh, smaller than this?" (about a 1/4 dice) and she came over and said "Oh, that's fine." She hadn't even looked before she said anything!

The meatloaf turned out well. We had leftover mashed potatoes and I had some carrot sticks. Her knives were reasonably sharp this time.

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I am perplexed by this thread. It seems to be just about completely negative. I had wonderful experiences cooking with my mother from the age of 5 or 6. The same with my sister (older sister), who imagines herself as my other mother. Somehow this doesn't square with some other threads. Whassup?

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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I didn't realize how good I had it with my mom until I started reading this thread!

Now if you had a thread on trying to talk your mom through a software installation over the phone, then I would have something to vent about! :angry:

Speaking of knives, my mom is in the process of shipping her 47 year old set of Cutco knives off to the factory for sharpening and replacing broken tips, etc. She never would have thought to do it on her own but a Cutco sales rep foolishly called her trying to sell her a new set. My brothers and I have bought her new knives but she still sticks with her Cutco's. Go figure...

Edited to add: Fifi, I agree this is a little odd. But I guess it depends on the relationship you've had with your mom and how that translates into the kitchen. Too bad eGullet can't get a group discount on counseling!

Edited by Toliver (log)

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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I love cooking with my mother--something I don't get to do nearly often enough, since she's in Oklahoma and I'm in Seattle, WA. My parents both did the cooking when I was growing up, although my dad always tended towards the savory side, my mother the sweet side (when we actually had homemade desserty items, which wasn't on a regular basis). My father loved to come home from work, fix himself a scotch, and rummage through the fridge for dinner ideas. Cooking was his creative outlet, and we've got tons of recipe cards in his scratchy handwriting--from Burg's Potato Salad to more original endive/shrimp concoctions. If Mom and I were out of town somewhere, he'd have a group of friends over and fix long-braised ribs, osso buco, or something else more to his liking than ours...and then he'd delight in recounting his guests' praise! He passed away after a brief battle with cancer last December, so my memories of him are especially strong and present right now. But I digress...

My mother taught me a lot about vegetable preparations and baking. As a kid, I loved her brownies ("Kate's Brownies," supposedly Katharine Hepburn's recipe) and her raspberry cake with raspberry icing. Apparently, our standard poodle did too...one year, the dog stood on her hind legs while we were out and ate an entire layer of my birthday cake right off the counter where it was cooling. :angry: My mom is quite legendary among her circle of friends for her now-discontinued Christmas cookie gifts: she'd get together with a friend and bake for ten days or so, churning out linzer cookies, apricot crescents, triple-chocolate "rads," chocolate-dipped pecan bars with shortbread crust, mendiants, the best fruitballs you've ever tasted, Russian tea cakes, the like. She helped me conquer my pie crust fears and counseled me through some disasters when I was doing some baking for a local caterer. To this day, we always put on music and dance around the kitchen (a dance quite creatively titled "the Kitchen Dance," which has now spread throughout the family), and we laughed our way through an unbelievable Martha Stewart lemon-meringue pie disaster a couple of summers ago.

Can you tell I miss cooking with her?

These days, I do most of the cooking when we're together, or we'll team up to make dinner. As a matter of fact, I'm headed out to visit her tomorrow, shouldering a bag filled with Seattle goodies: Salumi's cured meats, Tall Grass Bakery's hominy bread, and Dahlia Bakery's macaroons, along with prune plums, nectarine marmalade, fresh mozzarella...I can't wait. :biggrin:

She blogs: Orangette

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I know I complained about cooking at my mother's house, but cheeseandchocolate's post on baking with mom, reminds me of how much I enjoyed baking with my mom.

Growing up, I never helped with cooking, but I always helped my mom bake. When I was six we embarked on a quest to make challah. My dad documented the whole thing with photographs. My favorite photo is of my mom and me, each somewhat coated in flour, with kerchiefs covering our hair holding the end result. My mom holding big challahs, me with little ones.

Before Purim every year, we would have a baking day. Mom would make the hamentaschen dough in advance and we would work together on the kitchen table rolling out the dough, cutting out the circles, dropping the filling and folding into the triangular shape. As soon as as the timer buzzed and the first tray came out of the over, we would both grab "the ugly ones" to taste.

Mom taught me the joys of homemade baked goods, and it's a love I carry to this day. When I first moved out on my own, the one big purchase I wanted was a Kitchen Aid mixer so I could bake on my own. My mom purchased my mixer as a gift for Chanukah right after I got married, and everytime I use it, I think of her. :smile:bek033.gif

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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  • 2 weeks later...

I love to cook with my Mom and with my sister too. I am lucky in that everyone in my family gets along, live near to us, and we all love to spend time together. Also, all of the inlaws and extended family people get along as well. This means that most weekends we have a meal together on one afternoon/evening, depending on schedules. My mom usually calls my sister and I on about Wednesday to see what we would like to eat, and we assign dishes, or one person (usually me) cooks the menu for all. Since we all live close to each other, it is easy to share cooking duties and equipment. My mom is a great cook, but since my sis and I love to cook as well, she often acts more as a "consultant" these days, walking through and inspecting our dishes. Of course, she will never say that we are doing something wrong (smart woman!). We joke that everyone has their role: I cook, Mom and sis help, my husband is the wine person, and my Dad watches the grandkids. All other guests are exempted from duties (other than keeping me company in the kitchen).

I have great memories of cooking with my Mom when I was a kid, especially baking biscuts and chocolate cakes. Now, she is baking the biscuts with her grandson. (unfortunately for her, at 6 AM on the weekends he stays overnight!) In my completely unbiased opinion, my Mom makes the best biscuts ever.

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I too love cooking with my mom...and hate cooking with my mom! My mom is the best cook that I know and I can't eat Chinese food out without comparing it to hers. She had a restaurant in the 70's when I was a kid. Until I lived in San Francisco (around 1999), I thought General Tso's Chicken was her invention (Tso is her maiden name and it was on her menu)!!!

She hates her kitchen. She has one of those corning flat-topped electric stoves from the 70's. It takes about an hour to heat up and you can turn it off and the water will still boil for 20 minutes. She instead cooks outside under a little lean-to (sounds like little house on the prairie). She has a wok ring attached to a propane tank and mostly stir fries things she's grown in the garden.

As a child, I remember sitting on the floor on newspaper peeling carrots or potatoes for whatever we were cooking. I would mince garlic and ginger. I was her little prep cook. She's upset that I didn't spend more time cooking with her...but not as upset as I am. Now I do spend that time with her and she teaches me something new each time.

But...sometimes I hate cooking with her too! Having worked in restaurants, I waste too much food when I prep. She's always complaining that I'm throwing too much away. When we make potstickers and I think the filling is used up, she can use a rubber spatula and make four more dumplings! I guess that's why Chinese are known for being cheap! Squeezing blood from a stone is nothing to my mother... :biggrin:

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My mother tried to kill us once with bouillabaise, and she chopped up pickles and fritos as filler for her meatloaf.

Having said that, she turned into an excellent, if quirky, baker, and dear spouse likes to refer to visits to see my parents thusly: "I'm looking forward to going to your folks' place; y'know, fishin' and chillin' with your dad, watchin' all the kids and cousins run around, and eating one of your mom's strange cakes."

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the cutting board is more wharped than the dude knocking out eggs and bacon at Denny's.

Damn, that's good! (In Dark Lady Mode)

My mother is one of the two or three best cooks I know. She shops for ingredients on an average of four times a day, she's adventurous, her knives are sharp, her pots and pans are top of the line. We usually spend half our weekly phone call talking about food.

My brother and sister in law are caterers. When they catered my mother's 70th, Ian commented: "Gee, this is the only place I know where people are disappointed when they find out we're cooking."

And yes, she has homemade fresh, dry, fine amd medium breadcrumbs lined up in labelled containers in her freezer. Ditto chicken, beef, veal and seafood stock. Man, is is a pleasure to cook in her house!

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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