Even before Mother's Day weekend, I have had my mother on my mind. She grew up as a child of immigrants during the challenging times of the Great Depression. As I was growing up, I recall her telling me many times, "I hope you never have to go through what we went through." I heartfully acknowledge I am more blessed than those I worry about in these times, and I am finding ways to show that I care as my mother also taught me, but I also recall that my mother planted the seeds of good self-care and preparation in case of an emergency or tough times. While I resisted stocking cupboards and never wanted to freeze meats or fish for later use, I now see the wisdom of having the cupboards stocked with that 'extra' something(s) that you just may need. However, I mostly feel grateful for the ways that my mother cooked and how she taught me to cook; I call it 'peasant cooking', Norwegian style, and recall fondly her telling me about the soup her mother would make with a fish head and some vegetables so that she was not only able to feed her family of 5, but also have enough for those who fell on even tougher times and did not have a pot of food available to them.
So as I have been stocking my cupboards with some canned items (e.g., beans, stewed tomatoes, sardines -- only King Oscar, the best brand, grains, pasta and staples for baking) and starting to freeze 'leftover' meals so that I can spread out the goodness without having to eat the same meal on a daily basis (e.g., baked ziti, lentil soup), I am thankful for the know-how of cooking from scratch and the memories of my mother's table.
Today I made a variation of her beef stew with tastes of Beef Burgundy and Hungarian Goulash with what I had on hand: shallots, celery, potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, red wine, chicken broth, paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper and some herbs de Provence. It was inspired by the arctic freeze and snow on Mt. Beacon and was perfect as a midday meal while listening to the Saturday matinee opera on the radio. The beef was purchased at Nature's Pantry on Rt. 52 in Fishkill (since I am not yet ready to embark on the search for the local farms offering local meats just yet vis-a-vis my new intention--see previous post on 5/3/20); the meat is still a local product and for 4 servings, is very reasonable and was very tender! And with the receipt of my new subscription to Misfits Market today, I am beginning to envision my next 'peasant meal.'
Food for thought: There are just some things that will always be remembered; Mother's cooking and wishes for her children are just some of them. And remembering them this weekend in the midst of other thoughts, feelings, and issues that can be on one's mind, makes it more the special as they 'stew'. For those who are moms, for those who aren't, for those who still have a mom, for those whose moms are resting in peace --- Happy Mother's Day!