My wife once asked my mother about a beef and noodles dish that I raved about when I first met her. “I’d really love to make it for him, what’s in it?” she asked. My mom, a little surprised at the question said flatly, “Beef, noodles and salt.” She forgot to mention water for the noodles, and sometimes ketchup.
Another of the great food memories from my childhood was applesauce.
You get the picture.
However, what my upbringing lacked in quality cuisine, it more than made up for in love. This year my mother is spending Thanksgiving with us. Our kids have been bouncing off the walls in anticipation. What did we plan? Smoked turkey, a little cornbread, some beans and starches and pie. Very traditional fare. And while certain aromas from cooking may well take hold deep in the hippocampus of our children, one thing’s for sure – they’ll remember the love of a grandmother they rarely see. Because even though she was a lousy cook, she was a great mother. And even better grandmother.