Share Your Memories of Cooking with Mom


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
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CONTEST CLOSED! The winners are:

We'll be shipping the books via Amazon today!

For years my mother was a police officer and then a police dispatcher. She worked swing shift, doubles, whatever she had to do to provide for her kids.

The Thanksgiving when I was 16, she was scheduled to work until 6 a.m. She planned to come home, sleep for a few hours and start dinner. She had recently separated from her husband and was working extra shifts to make a good life for my sisters, brother and me. My mom came home that morning and told us to make sure she was awake by 10 a.m. so she could start the turkey. There were bags under her eyes, and it was clear that she was exhausted.

My 14-year-old sister and I decided we weren't going to wake her. We enlisted our little brother and sister, then 4 and 6, and the four of us made the entire meal. We'd been helping her for so many years that, though the dishes didn't have mom's magic touch, we knew exactly what to do.

My mom awoke with a start a few hours later. She bounded into the kitchen, apologizing for oversleeping. Then she looked around and saw that we had started--and nearly finished--cooking without her. She cried, we cried, and that was the best Thanksgiving we ever had, just the five of us.

Some of my earliest memories are of being in the kitchen with my mother. Making that and every Thanksgiving dinner together, sorting through dog-eared family recipes, baking dozens of cookies each Christmas, cooking was how we bonded. My mom taught me how to separate eggs, why you should never slam the oven door when baking a soufflé, and how to make the flakiest pie crust you'll ever taste.

As a child, cooking seemed commonplace, never difficult or time-consuming. My mom brought us into the kitchen, let us help her make dinner, and assigned us tasks to occupy us and ease her workload. Before I could reach the counter, I loved grating carrots, stirring cookie dough, and shaking salad dressing.

By the time I was a preteen, Mom was working full time and putting herself through the police academy. I helped with dinner more often, even if that meant grilled cheese and tomato soup.

It wasn't until high school and later college that I realized what a gift she had given me. I had friends in college who didn't know how to boil water for pasta. Do you add the pasta first? How much water? How long does it cook?

When I moved into my first apartment, I started hosting dinner parties, first just lasagna and simple comfort foods, but later roast chicken and risotto with butternut squash, quite a fancy meal for a college student on a budget.  

Today, I make a living writing about food (and healthy living). Teaching me to cook was the best gift my mother could give me, just as her mother gave her.

This week, I want you to share your stories about cooking with your own mom. And, as way to say thanks to moms everywhere, we're giving away six copies of "The SparkPeople Cookbook: Love Your Food, Lose the Weight."

Enter to win a copy for the favorite mother in your life (you can even enter your mom's name and address if you'd like). We'll choose a winner next Wednesday, May 9, and we'll send via Amazon (with two-day shipping) that day so you (or your mom) will get it in time for Mother's Day.

(Speaking of Mother's Day, we have a FREE e-book that give you a sneak peek into "The SparkPeople Cookbook": To download or preview "Light and Easy Mother's Day Brunch Recipes from SparkPeople" for FREE, click here and scroll down to choose the file type you prefer.)

To enter to win "The SparkPeople Cookbook," click here! Be sure to read the rules. This contest will end exactly one week from today! Winners will be notified via email by dailySpark editor Stepfanie Romine.
Of course, if you don't want to wait to see if you've won, you can order a copy for Mom today. We think it makes the perfect Mother's Day present!

What is your favorite memory of cooking with your mom? Share it in the comments below.
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  • 1
    I grew up in the '50's on a farm, where my mother never owned a cookbook, as she cooked everything from "scratch." I didn't "share the joy of cooking" with my mother as like many women of that time, she was concerned with getting a meal on the table and everyone back out to work. I did learn to cook from 4-H Club, where I measured everything and made sure to have all my ingredients set out before I began to make a recipe. My mother use to laugh at it and thought it was all a waste of time. When I met my husband, his mother was another one who NEVER owned a cookbook, and she thought I couldn't cook. So, guess that is one reason even at 62, I still HATE to cook. LOL - 5/2/2012   10:14:22 AM

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