Sunday, May 8, 2011

For Mom

I’m pretty apathetic toward many of the “holidays” Americans choose to celebrate. (I’m looking at you, April Fool’s Day, Groundhog Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, Official Grilled Cheese Month, and Super Bowl Sunday.) But Mother’s Day? That’s a whole other story! I love Mother’s Day! Certainly it’s not the only day a year where I celebrate my fabulous mother, but it is the only government-recognized day, so I guess that makes it more fancy.

Over time my gifts have evolved from felt-decorated picture frames and mix CDs to home-cooked meals, which are so much better, if not decidedly permanent. Tonight I will be treating my mom to a nice hot dinner (and I’ll clean up, of course!), but this morning I thought she’d also like a whole space over here dedicated to her.

My mom has taught me so much. She’s the person that I call when I’m feeling stressed out and overwhelmed; she’s the person I ask for advice; she’s the person whose opinion I seek on what really matters (ranging variously from clothes to school and everything in between).  When I first began to compile a list of things she’s taught me, it was clear the complete list would be longer than is an acceptable length, but here’s an abbreviated list….

Things I learned from my mother, food-related and otherwise: 

1. How to make coffee. Two rounded scoops each of regular and decaf coffee.  Always bold, never mild.  (For the record, hers always tastes better to me.)

2. Thanksgiving foods. One of my favorite parts about Thanksgiving is cooking with her in the morning. It’s the culmination of so much planning (mostly on my side; I obsessively think about the day for weeks months).  In the past few years, I’ve really started to rack her brain about how to make the foods we eat every year, from stuffing to carrot ring. I really love those hours we get to spend cooking together every year.
Thanksgiving 2008: A whirlwind. 
3. How to do laundry. I’m continually surprised how many college-age kids don’t know how to do laundry properly. As in, throw everything in one load and dry everything together. It took me a while to get it right, but now it’s practically second-nature. It may take a little longer, but I do believe it’s important to do it right (that means line-drying a lot of things, and doing at least three loads).

4. The importance of green vegetables. When most people plan meals, the courses revolve around the meat or protein. I’ve learned that they should revolved around the vegetables. And it’s important to have at least two. After all, you can never have too much fruit and vegetables.

5. Always make your own salad dressing. And I’ve therefore become a salad dressing snob.

6. So many knitting terms it’s crazy. For someone who does not knit, I know a lot about it. From weird garment names (clapotis, top-down sweaters, vanilla socks) to what the numbers of the needles means to even the abbreviations on the pattern charts, knowing all this stuff allows me to follow what many of our conversations seem to about. (She similarly indulges my food-speak and Grey’s Anatomy forum gossip.)

7. Always buy organic milk. It lasts so much longer than regular milk, which justifies the slightly higher price. The health benefits aren’t too bad, either.

8. In the kitchen, a sponge is not a suitable cleaning tool. I finally learned after hearing it for the umpteenth time.

9. You don’t have to do it all yourself. Sometimes it’s okay to say no. I really don’t have to make homemade rolls on Thanksgiving or four different desserts (just remember come this November). But outside of the food world, it’s even more valuable.  It’s okay to ask for help. It doesn’t make you weak, it makes you smart.

… And I’m still learning.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! I love you! 


  1. what a nice list, sara - thank you! I love being your mom - and being able to share so much with you has been a true joy. (and I can't wait to see what dinner is tonight - I'm excited about it!!)

  2. this is a great tribute to your mom-who i can say also has taught me LOTS!

  3. lovely list, sara!

    i have learned just some of these recently (like green veggies!) and still have not properly learned others (laundry! one load kinda girl :).