That was the threat I made to my mom when I was 17 and she tried to get me to cook. I told her I would move in with Grandma, surely she wouldn’t think of making me do such a terrible thing.
Yep, this is me at 17 (Thank you Lisa Gonzales for the picture!)
When I was in high school, nearly all of my friends ended up living at our house for one reason or another. The first showed up toward the end of 10th grade barefoot after her mother kicked her out. She walked several miles to get to our house and stayed until she graduated. My home wasn’t always “functional” but it was always available to those in need. My mom had been a single mama for nearly ten years by the time I graduated. She worked hard making enough to barely make ends meet for our little three person family, and still she opened up her home to quite a few crazy, messed up, emotionally fatigued girls. She didn’t get paid by the county or any of the parents. She was amazing at making the money and food and love stretch just as far as it needed to.
During that time, my mama tried to teach the girls some basic skills. She gave each the opportunity to go to the store and do the shopping to learn how to become smart shoppers for when they were on their own. She encouraged them to learn how to cook and discouraged them from making cat calls at cute boys as we drove down the street. Notice how I said "them"? I didn’t think I needed to learn these things. I was sharing my home and my mom. I was great with relationships and peer counseling type situations. I would write or make up scenarios for us to play at or write music. I did not need to learn to cook!
Fast forward to July 1992. I had met my husband to be just 6 months after graduating from high school and we were engaged that following July. We both stayed on at the summer camp where we had worked. I was assigned to the girls cabin, The Hitchin’ Post, and he to the boys cabin, Knot 4 Sail. After we were engaged I got this strange desire to cook for him. His first meal, which could have been his last had the meat been contaminated, was chicken and canned corn. It looked appealing enough, but the meat wasn’t fully cooked. Do you know, that wonderful man ate what I cooked for him? The Lord blessed his humility by keeping him alive that night so this undeserving wife to be could marry her handsome knight.
You would think I’d have been a natural cook, with the mother I have. She is classy in dress and manner and a gourmet when it comes to cooking. Not me. I have my own style which no one really has a name for and my cooking, though it has evolved, is more Victorian farmhouse mama cuisine than 5 star dining. It took me five years to make a successful loaf of bread. The hot loaves smelled wonderful and were great when eaten right out of the oven, but as they cooled they were more suited to be used as doorstops than food. But I wanted to cook for my husband and make a good home for him. He would have been fine with macaroni and cheese out of the box, but I wanted to learn how to do it myself. So I did.
Over the years I have tried my hand at a number of cooking projects. I learned how to make a great loaf of bread. I tried my hand at toffee and chocolates and found success. Just this past year I was able to participate in my first farmers market making bread. More than any of the sales, the pleased look on my husband’s face when he saw our booth sell out week after week was what gave me the strength and determination to get up at 3 a.m. every Saturday morning to bake.
So, sorry Mama for threatening to move out. Yes there are things I understand now that I am a mother that I didn’t understand as a child. Thank you for loving me anyway. And thank you for giving me something much more important than any cooking lessons would have imparted. Thank you for giving me Jesus!