My Mom and I aren’t necessary close. We just don’t roll that way. But as I mature, I can now see just how much my Mother has done for me and how Mothers everywhere have done so much for all of us. With age, we learn to appreciate them a little bit more.
My Mom was a workhorse. Not a flattering description, but she worked her butt off. She raised us with a vengeance and fierce tenacity. Like Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction, just before he lays his vengeance on those apartment dwelling kids.
She also had a strong hand in raising her brothers and sisters, and even some of the Grandchildren. She had worked from a young age, cooking, cleaning, laying vengeance… for the greater balance of her whole life. She raised Junior and I into her 50s.
And to say that she was cooking was an understatement. She cooked when she was young. She worked for the lumber camps and tourist camps. She cooked for two 300 lbs boys. She cooked for everyone.
Do you remember the stews, steaks, casseroles, roasts, dumplings? How about the baked beans? Perhaps you remember the lasagna, soup, date squares, muffins, and cakes? I Loves the doughnuts and corn fritters dipped in corn syrup? She hated cooking wild meat and fish, but she did it so well. She even got into Indian tacos and chicken parmigiana.
When she was baking for the store, she would baked dozens of loafs of bread every day. She rarely got paid for it, and went to the wholesale cigarette fund. My mom would not only cook for our family, she would cook for the homemakers, for the pow-wow, for the Parish picnic. She wasn’t really happy about it, but she did it anyway.
Junior and I ate fried weanies, eggs and toast every day through grade school and even high school. I guess she didn’t have the same health information and nitrate warnings that we get nowadays. But even to this day, my occasional fried eggs and hot-dog breakfast brings back great memories.
Today, my Mom’s demeanor is much milder. She likes people. She visits and tells stories. Rarely takes out any veangence, except on Kat, Junior and the occasion kid who uses the dock or wanders down the lake.
Once in a while, Deb and I had the pleasure of returning the favour and cooking for her. This weekend she came over for our Beatles Breakfast with Arnya, Miigwans, Griffin and Fiona.
Unfortunately, another thing that has gone by the wayside, is her cooking. But it will never be lost forever. It’s something that exists in a lot of grateful memories in Ktigaaning.
This week, Deb’s Mom, the wonderful Wendy Richardson is visiting us from Winnipeg. Tonight, she dazzled us with a delicious beef and vegetable stew. All with fresh cabbage, turnip, parsnips and potatoes. Topped off with some mouthwatering dumplings. Robbie even kicked in his home-canned sweet beets. Everything was so delicious.
Our dinner also reminded me that everyone has a Mom (or a mother figure) and stories of their magnificent (or not-so-magnificent) abilities in the kitchen. We all have favourites. We all have memories. Others are fortunate enough to continue to cherish the lavish meals. Even Wendy’s mom, now in her 80s, still does some cooking.
I’m all for liberation, women power and feminism. Burn the bras, but don’t burn the aprons. This ode to Mothers, is about her cooking and how she has formed the people we are today. Miigwetch maamaa.