Maybe its because Mother’s Day is rapidly approaching or that a picture of my mom appeared in my Facebook memories page, or that we have been talking about mom memories as Pampered Chef consultants, or all of the above that has me thinking about my mom and the lessons she taught me in the kitchen. Even though my mom passed away in 2001, the memories live with me. There are days I can even smell the memories coming out of my oven, even thought it is not on.
My mother was an amazing baker, but necessarily the best cook. However, one thing she taught me was to skim off the scum from the top when making chicken broth. She would tell me the scum would rise to the top and I needed to skim it off. What needs to be removed will let you know it does not belong here. So I would always skim it off. She told me mixing it back in would give a bitter taste to the soup because I was not listening to the soup telling me what needed to be removed. This process continues to teach me to listen to how God speaks to me about who and what needs to be removed from my life.
She was an amazing baker. I can remember so many times in my mother’s kitchen when we would be making rugelach, one of her favorite pastries to make. She would look at me and say Sara Bella, my Hebrew name, it is important that you weave the love into these to make them taste delicious. They need to taste the love when they eat them. I have taken that lesson and now infuse love into everything I make.
Sandy Wolner, an RDN at the Pampered Chef, shared, "My mom cooked for us every single night when we were kids. I think what was so infectious was that my mom enjoyed (and enjoys) cooking and didn’t see it as a chore... one of my fondest memories as a kid was going grocery shopping with my mom, then helping make homemade pizza or other dishes that require a lot of assembling." Like me, Sandy had so many awesome memories of cooking with her mom. She saw how her love for her family could be woven into every stop of the process. She could weave the love into the whole assembling of the dish.
My friend Thomas Tracy shared that his “Mother not only taught us how to cook, but how to always make every meal look appetizing!! She had such a passion in her cooking that made it so much better than eating out💖.” I should note that Thomas is also married to a chef, who also makes every meal look appetizing and brings passion to their cooking. Thomas’ talked about this secret ingredient as passion, but my guess is it came from her love for her family.
My friend Amanda Artong’s grandmother taught her to always cook enough for company. Amanda says she never cooks the right amount of food, but for me it was a lesson I learned from my childhood friend’s mother, Mrs. Jackson, who told me you always cooked for company because you never knew who was going to stop by or need a meal.
My friend Terry Wakeman said her mom taught her “how to make something out of nothing! Amazing what I can come up with!” Growing up a lot of us learned how to play the Food Network show Chopped in our daily lives. There was not always the money to buy ingredients for a recipe, so you looked at the ingredients in your pantry and refrigerator and said I can make something out of this and you did. Like the show, some dishes got Chopped, but others went on to win.
As we are preparing our meals, may we take a moment this week to remember our moms and the lessons they taught us and memories they gave us about food.