I’m at my parents’ house for the holidays, and there’s a lot to be thankful for. There’s a new nephew as of a few days ago, my other nephews are growing like weeds, everyone seems happy and healthy, and there were no fist fights at Christmas dinner.
One of the things you learn about coming home as an adult is that your parents are still just figuring it out as they go along, just like you. Remember not liking Brussels sprouts (yes, with an S like that place in Europe) as a kid? Well, it turns out my mom still hates them. And now as an adult, I love them.
She was on the phone with a friend of hers who was singing the praises of roasted Brussels sprouts; delicious, semi-sweet, slightly crunchy, and just plain good. She was on speaker phone, so I was nodding vigorously as her friend talked about how to roast them, but meanwhile my mom just made faces. Much like my two year old nephew makes.
Yesterday while we were sitting in the living room and trading stories, we started talking about cooking. My mom is the unquestioned boss of her kitchen. Even if she isn’t the one preparing the meal. We talked about Brussels sprouts again, and she told me I could make them, but I was in charge. And I asked if it was like that time I was in charge of making pumpkin pie. She didn’t remember, but boy I do.
I was home from college. I had moved into my first apartment and learned to prepare my favorite dessert, pumpkin pie. I was so proud that I could read a recipe and follow it to generally acceptable results that I volunteered to bake one for Thanksgiving day. I was in the kitchen with a bowl, mixer, assorted cans of stuff, and launched into my baking. My mom watched me drop one egg into the bowl and start mixing, but interrupted. She said, “That’s not nearly enough eggs.” And proceeded to drop five more into the bowl.
Mom is the boss of the kitchen, so of course she was right. I hesitantly began mixing again and she asked, “How many pies are you making?”
“One,” I replied.
“Well, that’s way too many eggs,” she said as she exited the kitchen.
I stood over my bowl of eggs for a few minutes, completely unsure what I was supposed to do, until my dad came upstairs and I apprised him of the situation. He shrugged, told me to mix it up and bake the pie, and let it be. So I did.
We desserted on something resembling pumpkin quiche that evening. My dad forked down two slices with whipped cream and complimented my mom on her baking. She made sure I got all the “credit” for the pie, and my sister shot me a dirty look when she was informed she couldn’t leave the table till she finished the food she had taken.
My mom didn’t remember that story. But she did laugh (phew!) when I told her. So when I get a chance to make some Brussels sprouts for them, she will let me prepare them my way, without so much “help.”