When I was a kid, I would perch on a kitchen chair to help mom cook. On weekend mornings especially, my sisters and I could be found flipping pancakes, scrambling eggs, or ducking out of the way as mom pulled hot popovers from the oven. I don’t remember a lot of direct instruction–more learning by doing. Mom made cooking an end in itself, and baking was an activity to look forward to on snow days or lazy Sundays. Eventually, the desire to experiment in the kitchen became second nature.
Later, in high school, we would help mom plan out meals for the week. With long shopping lists for recipes from The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen and Sunday Suppers at Lucques, we headed to the uptown Fairway, then to Whole Foods when the first local branch opened in Englewood. All week, we helped cook.
Our latest cooking project is canning. For the last two years, mom and I have had a date in September to can tomatoes, and this summer we’re aiming to preserve a little fruit, too. She also taught me to love simple things: grilled cheese, chef’s salads, black bean soup. Above is mom pictured making a summertime panzanella one day in the kitchen.
I know I’m a lucky gal to have grown up with a mom like mine, and it made me curious: what did your mom teach you about food, eating, and the kitchen? And, if mom didn’t show you how to cook, was there a mother-like figure who did?