Growing up, my mom did almost all of the cooking. This was good because she was a good cook and my dad, well, not so much. I do remember my dad being in the kitchen to cook a couple of times, both times he was making his “specialty” – stone soup. This recipe is made using any and every edible item in the fridge and putting it into a large pot. If there was already a pot of something in the fridge, all the better. He’d just add to it. I don’t remember liking or disliking stone soup, I just remember that it was fun to make.
My mom, on the other hand, is an amazing cook and can turn the most random hodge-podge of ingredients into a delicious meal. In my whole life, I don’t think I’ve ever known her to follow a recipe. Even if she had a recipe, I don’t think she ever followed it. It didn’t matter because everything always turned out great.
Because my mom was such a good cook, I kind of assumed that I was one, too. Getting married was a major eye-opener into my culinary skills. I did inherit my mom’s inability to follow a recipe, but not her skill in putting together tasty meals. I have had to work on these skills. A lot. Both the following a recipe skill and the putting together tasty meals skill. It’s amazing how the one leads to the other. You’d think this would have been an easier process.
Well, the other day I was faced with a dad chef/mom chef dilemma. I had no idea what to make for dinner and was just staring at the fridge. I could stone-soup it and add everything edible into a pot my family would never eat or I could channel my inner mom (apparently not call her…she wasn’t answering her phone…) and do what I think she’d do.
Chicken. Excellent. I fried some up with some vegetables for a stir fry. Stir fry was a a staple growing up. Rice – check. But everything seemed a little dry. It needed a sauce. I looked in my fridge and pulled out everything sauce-like I thought my mom would pull out.
Soy sauce, steak sauce, marmalade, and three horseradish packets from Arby’s. Awesome. It kind of seemed maybe more of what my dad would throw together, but I crossed my fingers and threw them into the stir fry pan, hoping for more of a mom-result…
My inner-channeling paid off! It was like my mom came and cooked for us. Maybe I’m advancing in this kitchen arena and am almost ready to toss out my recipe books. Well…soon anyway.