Friday, 10 May 2013

Kitchen Recognition: A Mother's Day Homage

Mother's Day. A special day to recognize our moms and the women in our lives who take care of us, no matter what. Although, I think that celebrating mothers and women who mean a lot to us, should not be limited to one day each year, it is a chance to go above and beyond, showing our appreciation for these amazing ladies.

Like many people, each year I try to show my admiration in a meaningful way; cards, flowers, brunch at a nice restaurant, etc. But this year, I wanted to do something more memorable. So, I have decided to devote this blog post to a few important women, who are very dear to me. These women have, past and present, inspired my love of food, the way I cook and overall, how I live my life. Here goes...


Chère Granny: I don't know a lot about your life, like when you were my age, but from the stories you have sporadically told me, I know where I get my bouts of sauciness and attitude from. The time you regaled us of the story of how you were a coat-taker at a bar and flirted with Maurice (The Rocket) Richard in Montreal, is one of the best tales I have ever heard. Thank you, for taking Alyssa and I out for lunches to Wendy's when we were little. I remember always being so excited to go! Climbing in your blue car in the summer and driving down to Niagara Street to get a bite to eat. Your pepper steak is out of this world! I can still smell the delicious, tomatoey, stew wafting through the air when we came over for dinner. Beef, peppers, potatoes, a garden salad with tomatoes and an assortment of buttered rolls. Still, hands down, one of my favourite meals. Nothing, though, compares to your famous tortière. Sure, everyone says their grandmother makes it best, but they obviously haven't tried yours. One of my life goals is replicating your tortière (but I suspect it's a futile endeavor). I appreciate once I hit sixteen my Christmas presents were an item of clothing and some type of alcoholic beverage (quite often Bailey's). I can tell you now, no other grandmothers would do that! You are a strong, often stubborn lady, but your sense of humour and purse collection are fabulous! I hope I am as feisty as you when I get older!


Dear Nan: We can never forget your microwaved bacon, you often forgetting the crescent rolls in the oven until after dinner was over, your overstocked pantry and freezers, and your simple but always delicious dinners. You  taught me that anything can be homemade or done yourself, and your creativity and resourcefulness was definitely passed down to me, which I cannot thank you enough for; it has proved very valuable! Your apple and strawberry rhubarb pies, raspberry jams, spicy pickles and well, all of your baking, is legendary. Alyssa and I took some of the old, every dishes, the ones with yellow trim and orange flowers. Sure, they are not really that pretty, but they are reminiscent of our childhood and all of the fond and happy memories you gave us in the kitchen. Almost every weekend, when I am on my own, I still have soup, cold cuts and crackers and cheese, serving it in the old dishes reminding me of Sunday lunches we had together. You have been one of the prime inspirations for my caking making (which you taught me) and for me writing this blog. You gave me a hands-on connection to food that most people don't have. For 21 years, most of my life, you also battled a terrible disease. Just when everyone would think you were down, you came back fighting - tougher and stronger than ever. Even in the end, you never let on to how much you were suffering. You were the strongest woman I have ever known. It has now been two years since you left us. Holidays and family gatherings aren't quite the same without you. Your spirit lives on in all of us though, particularly when the family spends hours reminiscing around the dinner table. I think that's how you would have wanted it.  

Hey Mum: I rag on you pretty bad sometimes about your kitchen blunders. You taught me that it's okay to loudly hurl profanities at your pie crust; that bologna and ketchup stew (?) is not a delicious weeknight dinner; and that you should always be extremely careful when using a mandolin to cut vegetables, even when you are using the hand guard that came provided. Despite this, you really are one of the best cooks. Your chicken popeye, Emma buns and elaborate Christmas cookie platters are always something I have looked forward to eating! Even though I live far from you, I always get excited to share my recipes or come up with elaborate three (or seven) course dinner menus with you. Over the past couple years, you and I have banged out some holiday dinners that would make even the best of chefs blush! The awesome creativity passed on to you from Nan, and now on to me is really cool! Although, that creativity often clashes when we are sharing a kitchen together. I am beyond excited to cook up a storm with you and the family at Cole's Point this year. In and out of the kitchen you have always been there for me and I cannot thank you enough. Whether I have shown it or not, I have always appreciated your loving support and also the strategic kicks in the butt when I have needed them. We share pretty much all the details of our lives together. In reality, you are not just my mum but one of the best friends I have ever had.


I cannot begin to imagine how I could ever repay these women for being the wonderful people they were/are and the unwavering strength they've shown in their lives and support they have provided me in mine. I hope this is a start.

I love you. Happy Mother's Day.

-Tina (Turnip)

1 comment:

  1. What wonderful stories and memories. You are truly blessed to have, and to have had, such remarkable empowering women in your life. You have become one in the same. Such a ppleasure to see you grow to be the person you are today. Your blog is awesome... Keep up the good work!