What great timing it is to start my food blog in May around Mother's Day! For the majority of us, our first food experiences started with these wonderful nurturing souls. Food cooked or prepared with love, whether it was a five-course meal or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, there was something extra special about your mommy making it that made all the difference in the way it tasted and warmed your heart!
Southern mothers in this regard are the best when it comes to showing love through food. Grits overflowed in the bowl for breakfast, thick slices of bologna fried just right, with the crispy edges and the burnt middle for lunch and for dinner, cast iron cornbread, baked chicken, rice and gravy, and string beans. Mmm, Good eating! I recently called my mom and asked what she was having for dinner, her reply, "Oh, I just cooked a lil something, some stew beef and rice, made some cabbage, cornbread, and I had a taste for some crockpot mac and cheese!" no, this was not on a Sunday, it was only Wednesday! And as she was talking, I could actually smell the familiar aroma of her cornbread baking in the oven which made my heart smile.
The Mother and Food connection is a shared experience for all of us. No matter where you come from, your culture, or your background, it is woven into our DNA and we compare our experiences with great food to this. I remember cruising on a fine dining dinner cruise with my high school classmates as we celebrated our 20th high reunion. The meal that was served was beautifully appealing to the eye but upon tasting the string beans one of my classmates immediately blurted out at the table, "These string beans don't taste like my momma's, I can't eat these!' We all nervously laughed it off not to disrupt our surrounding guest. But as we all began tasting these string beans–the flavor of them more akin to wet rubber bands–we all agreed with him and quickly whispered to our server, "more salad please."
This Mother and Food connection is not limited to birthed mothers. Oprah Winfrey says it best, "It's possible to have many Mothers, there's the one who gave birth to you, and then there are ALL THE WOMEN who raised you up.
My mother is a smart woman and chose smart women as friends, who became our extended mothers. All that she didn't know or lacked, she allowed her circle of sister friends to instill into us, and cooking great food was one of the core foundations in all of their homes.