Wednesday, January 23, 2013

There'd Be No THG Without Her

I posted early today at my other blog about how my Mom, who passed away last night at age 87, unwittingly started me on the path to becoming a full-blown trashy movie lover who would go on to publish zines, contribute articles and reviews to far-flung publications (some she thankfully never knew about!), and even appear in a trailer compilation introducing something called SNUFF.

But in the tradition of equal time I must admit that there would probably be no Hungover Gourmet without my Mom's culinary guidance.

I'm sure I've told the story here before, but it was my Dad who is really responsible for me learning to cook. His half-baked attempts at feeding the two of us during an illness to my Mom resulted in me begging her to let me learn the ropes in the kitchen until she acquiesced. Sorta.

Mom never used cookbooks and owned only one that I ever saw – Betty Crocker's Good and Easy Cookbook: 1000 time-saving, taste-tempting recipes and hints for busy homemakers – and it was used strictly for storing recipes clipped from the newspaper. None of which she ever referenced.

Measuring cups and spoons were also a rare site, relying instead on years of practice to know just how much milk, butter, salt or pepper to add. But, miraculously, a pot of chili made in November 1976 tasted exactly like a pot of chili made in March 1987.

I've never been able to replicate her free-form ways with a dish but I'm far fonder of spices than she ever was. And while I still need a recipe to kickstart 90% of my dishes, any time I get lucky and make something that takes me back to family gatherings or just a weeknight dinner brings a smile to my face.

In what can only be thought of as an ironic food karma moment I spent yesterday roasting a chicken for dinner. I'm always amazed by the people in commercials who seem intimidated by the concept of making such a dish as it was one of the first things Mom ever taught me how to cook. A couple hours later I got the call that she had finally lost her battle and had slipped peacefully away.

Somewhere she was smiling, but I was definitely getting a raised eyebrow or two for that bed of onions I placed under the chicken.

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