Wednesday, April 3, 2013

An Observation On My Parents' Cooking

     I was lucky enough to grow up in a house where both parents cooked. Granted, they did not cook every night. Both of my parents worked full time jobs. Mom usually wasn't home until about 5 PM and Dad an hour or so later. They wouldn't cook every night. Usually they'd cook a few big meals that we could eat on the rest of the week.
    On its own, this isn't anything special. Lots of parents do this. What stands out in my memory is that I don't recall them ever consulting a recipe when they cooked. I can't remember many of my recipes, no matter how often I cook them. I'm completely incapable of making my meatballs without the recipe handy. My parents either had fantastic memories, or were tremendous freestyle cooks.
     Generally my Mom came up with the core recipes. Dad would often just riff on her recipes. My Dad's chili that I've spoken of before is actually based on my Mom's recipe. She had some solid recipes. She did a chicken, veggie and rice dish that she could throw together in minutes. I swear by her meatloaf recipe. Even my wife, who normally doesn't like meatloaf, likes this meatloaf. She had a London Broil with garlic potatoes that was astounding. And as a Jewish Mother, she could deal out the chicken soup and matzoh balls like no body's business. Some day I shall speak to you of her sausage and neck bones in tomato sauce.
     Dad had his standards as well. He did a fantastic linguine in white clam sauce. He was the master of all things grilled. Nobody could make an omelet as good as him. His chili was the stuff of legend. He made a wonderful fried matzoh for breakfast. He eventually would take over Thanksgiving cooking duties from my Mom and did a wonderful job of it.
     I owe a good deal of my passion for cooking to my parents. Without ever trying, they showed me that, with very little effort, you could put good, home-made food on the table. There's a little of my Mom and Dad in everything I cook.
Oh, stop it.
Good times!

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