Every day now, I make myself an omelet. Couple of free range eggs, with some ham, usually, and some cheese. Cooked in butter, because fat is good for you, despite what THEY say. Get the surface of the eggs a little golden brown in spots and it’s totally yummy. Today, being Mom’s Day, while I was making that omelet, I was also remembering how I learned to cook, thanks to my mom.
When I was a young pain in the ass, my mom used to cook eggs and bacon for breakfast a lot on weekends. She would always cook up the bacon first, and it would leave this thick sludge of bacon grease in the pan. By that time, the delicious scent of the bacon would have carried me out of bed to the kitchen table, and I’d watch my mom crack a few eggs and toss them into the grease and scramble them for me.
I hated those brown, greasy, sort of lumpy eggs. One morning, I told my mom that as she set them in front of me.
“Can’t you clean the pan first? I hate eggs made in this gross bacon grease. I’m not going to eat these! They’re horrible. I mean look at them.”
I probably stuck my tongue out at them.
My mom said, “Fine! I’m not making you eggs anymore. I like my eggs this way. If you want them made differently, you can learn to do it yourself. You’re old enough.”
She probably should have added that I was being a stupid little snot. I don’t remember her saying that, but she should have. Because I was.
And that was the moment that started me off on one of my favorite hobbies – cooking.
I got my mom (and sometimes my dad) to show me how to make different things. I got to enjoy the light, fluffy eggs I really liked. I started making other things – cookies, hot dogs, burgers, tuna salad – exactly the way I liked it. I became a culinary artist, digging into the pantry and mixing up things with the maniacal verve of an evil scientist. And oddly enough, my mom liked my creations enough that eventually, I started helping with the cooking.
I’d find notes waiting for me when I got home from school.
“Keith, there’s some ground beef I put out to thaw. Can you mix it up the way you did the other night and start dinner around 4 or so? Thanks, Mom.”
I had developed a useful talent and a hobby I loved, thanks to my mom not putting up with me being a snot. So on this Mom’s Day, appreciate the lessons you learned because she wouldn’t put up with you. Sometimes you don’t appreciate the value of a good swift kick towards the edge of the nest.