Looking back on all the wonderful hours spent in the kitchen with mothers, grandmothers and aunts (this isn’t sexist - it’s just the way it was), it’s hard not to notice how your role changes. There was the little girl standing on a stool at the kitchen sink in Grandma’s tiny Salt Lake City Avenues kitchen, stuffing the turkey alongside Mom in East Millcreek, and now it’s time for me to do the things for my mother she can no longer do for herself.
Over the last few weeks, my mom has been on her own for the first time in years. A broken shoulder from falling on this horrible winter’s ice put her husband into care for a number of weeks. She is a polio victim, now unable to drive, shop, or stand for a long time to prepare a meal. Mom also wants to be independent, so I cooked her meals that were familiar and comforting, easy to freeze and reheat, that she could eat as much or as little of as she pleased.
Family favorites like Mac and Cheese, Shepherd’s Pie, Pasta ala Jimmie, Fresh Pea Soup and Meatball Soup went over well. Even a simple salad of marinated tomatoes, cucumbers and red onion really tasted good to her, and I was glad to see her interested in her food and in keeping up her strength.
Our population is aging. Baby boomers often have aging parents that we love and want to help live the best life they can. Over the next few weeks, watch for simple comfort food recipes that travel well, reheat nicely, and provide something familiar and tasty without a huge effort.
At the same time, because many of these use convenience foods as ingredients, growing families or even someone who’s single and doesn’t want to cook all of the time can spend a little time in the kitchen with results that will last for days or longer if frozen.
It’s strange how your life can change in a single moment, and I’m glad I can do this for my mom. Needless to say, I make a little extra and give myself some sorely needed comfort. It’s been a long, hard winter.
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