I can't say these days are easy for me, but I will say that SO FAR I've been enjoying the memories I've dug up from the recesses of my mind. I've been looking at pictures, recalling favorite times and just living inside my own head where my mother is still very much alive.
One of the biggest ways my mom (whose name was Rikki, by the way) influenced my life is her approach to food and cooking. Yes, I eventually became obese but even as I was losing weight after surgery I began to see, and embrace how her outlook on food was not only very realistic but, in many ways, pretty darn healthy.
So here are five things my mother taught me about food, along with five recipes inspired by that advice.
Lesson #1: If it tastes good, go with it.
As a child I was the sous chef and it was my job to chop veggies and get them ready to be put together in the meal. This brings me to the next lesson...
Lesson #2: Never cook alone...it's no fun!
One thing I loved to cook with my mother was her macaroni and cheese. It was an institution! After surgery I'm not to good with pasta so I started making Cheesy Mashed Cauliflower. This is my white cheddar version. I think she would have liked it!
Lesson #3: Food is not just fuel
That's also why I don't shun the idea of comfort food. Especially now, there are some dishes that comfort me in the making and eating of them because they make me feel closer to her. This is a remix of my mom's corn, tomato and okra. She used to make it as a side dish. More often than not I serve it with meat in it as a main dish. It's warm and comforting and reminds me of cool fall evenings at home with my mother.
Lesson #4: If something is too salty, add something sweet
Life is sort of that way too. In slang, to be "salty" means to have a not-so-great attitude or that you're angry. When I get that way (and provided I want to UN-get that way) I try to do a random act of kindness. This gets me outside myself and my problems and it feels good. And then I feel good. And then I'm not so salty anymore! But this piece of advice also reminds me that my mom instilled in me an enduring love of sweet/salty combos, like my Salted Butter Toffee Protein Oatmeal! Since the weather is turning cool, give this a try!
Lesson #5: If you're going to cook something, cook something good
Because, good food is good. And you deserve good food. And I'm here to tell you my Curried Chicken with Cauliflower Rice is gooooood food!
Cooking for yourself and others is an act of love. Feeding is an act of love. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Such being the case would you give someone you really loved a half-hearted hug or kiss? (Provided you're not secretly mad at them) Same deal here. Whether you're making something for just yourself, your significant other or an entire family, cook something good. Not only because they'll be more likely to eat it, but because you love them, you are learning to love yourself and, as such, you all deserve good food!