Mom couldn’t cook, but she was a great entrepreneur
It’s a pretty safe bet that I wouldn’t be a winner. The “Mom’s Mighty Recipe Contest,” offered by a local grocery store chain in anticipation of Mother’s Day, invites entrants to share the very best of their moms’ recipes.
Herein lies the problem. I don’t really have any to share. Our dear Mom, currently clocking in at 89 years of age, is not fond of cooking. Never has been. Her recipe repertoire reflects that.
Mom’s favourite recipes
My potential submissions? Well, one option could be her never popular hamburger patty. It’s simple enough. Roll a handful of raw, unseasoned ground beef into a ball and squish to hockey puck thickness. Broil until black and crispy. Slap between two slices of dry bread (preferably stale) and serve with side salad of iceberg lettuce doused with bottled Creamy Coleslaw dressing.
Or I could opt for her pineapple chicken. Cut up a utility chicken and place in electric frying pan. Turn pieces over once. Open two large tins of pineapple tidbits, pour contents on top of chicken and cover loosely with teetering lid. Mop up inevitable countertop spillage. Ignore. Serve at your leisure.
Another highlight could be Mom’s school lunch fare. Wrap raw turkey neck tightly in “shiny paper” (tin foil) and roast outside the turkey. Once the bird is cooked, unwrap neck and allow to cool. Rewrap in the used shiny paper and refrigerate until needed. Serve neck cold, unencumbered by any dipping sauces or bothersome snacks.
I’m happy to report she no longer prepares any of these recipes. Since the death of my father and her subsequent move into an apartment in 2006, Mom has given herself permission to no longer prepare meals for herself, friends or family. Instead, she serves up tasty takeout fare or potluck goodies provided by guests. With her stove in semi-retirement, she uses it mostly for storage of new, rarely used cooking pots.
Bless her. In fairness, I have to admit that Mom has a successful history of preparing delicious festive turkey dinners minus the neck. I would submit one of these recipes but they are pretty standard fare – broiled Brussels sprouts, mashed sweet potatoes etc. Delicious; not “mighty”.
Happily, her lifelong disinterest in cooking has created unforeseen positives. Both my sister and I are driven to provide tasty, diverse meals for our own children. Another bonus is that Mom is a marvelous, appreciative diner. She bestows rave reviews upon any morsel dished up by her daughters. One bite in, her fork inevitably hits the plate and her awed voice commands the attention of all at the table. “Simply delicious. I don’t know how I managed to raise two daughters who love to cook.” Also, her son, a dab hand at the barbecue, has enjoyed 35 years of marriage to a marvelous cook renowned for her inventive, delectable concoctions.
Recipe contests aside, there must other ones more conducive to my mother’s abilities. For example, surely somewhere there’s a “Mom’s Mighty Entrepreneur Contest” on offer. I’d stand a fighting chance there. In 1977, Mom ventured into the world of commerce by opening up an antiques store. Armed simply with a background in teaching university Art of Latin America courses and an admitted unfamiliarity with basic terms such as “cash flow,” she beat the odds. This fledgling venture blossomed into a high-end Asian antiques store that flourished in Vancouver for over 17 years. Working alongside her for the last 10, I witnessed firsthand her innate entrepreneurial skills and consequently have a slew of stories to share.
Always a survivor
I’m confident I’d also fare well in a “Mom’s Mighty Survivor Contest.” With over 60 years of marriage to a hard working pediatrician, my mother could have easily “folded her tent” when he passed. Instead, she chose life. There’s no limit to the info I could share about her past six years of traveling the globe, making countless new friends and rediscovering her love of painting. Our mutual doctor’s recent observation that “your mom started a new life when your dad died” is truly spot on.
But honestly, what am I thinking? Mom should seek out and enter the contests herself. The queen of the win, she has won too many to count. Her myriad prizes range from a Perry Como record and a television, to two trips to Hawaii and enough money to furnish a house.
No. The best way to celebrate Mother’s Day with our budding nonagenarian is to simply get the family together over a meal. Mom can provide the wine.