Recipes for Life
A mother passes along tips for cooking and living well.
Tonight I began to compile for my 19-year old son an electronic recipe box. My preference was to assemble an actual 3-D metal box with antiquated 3x5 index cards divided by food categories. But I am quite aware of my son's aversion to all things non-electronic. So I started creating a colorful collection of PowerPoint slides with recipes to catch his interest as he moves to his apartment in August and begins his second year at Kennesaw State University.
My son doesn't need to become the next Bobby Flay, but I would like for him to learn some basics. I know from experience that marrying a man who does not know how to use a measuring cup is...aggravating at best. I'm talking about cooking rice, making spaghetti with Ragu sauce, boiling an egg. Besides, my son’s monthly budget will no longer – despite his opinion to the contrary - support daily trips to fast food restaurants and pizza joints.
As I work on this project, memories emerge of the little tips my mother taught me:
When frying bacon, don’t rush it and turn the slices often.
Grits are also best when cooked at a slow boil and are always measured out at one part grits, four parts water. And they absolutely must be cooked with a Paula Deen portion of butter.
Add Fines Herbes to scrambled eggs for a taste of France.
Bring rice to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook for 17 minutes and do not even think of lifting the lid before then.
Spice everything with abandon.
Truth be told, he will most likely never open the electronic recipe box. Knowing my son, he will call the co-eds who live across the hall and invite himself to dinner. And when they grow tired of his lack of table manners, he will sustain himself on ramen noodle soup and dollar cans of Beefaroni until his arteries clog.
I tried to teach him good nutritional habits. But after he turned four, he refused to let a vegetable enter his mouth. And he hasn’t tasted a piece of fruit since kindergarten. My sweet boy who chomped away on broccoli slaw and turnip greens as a toddler decided at age four that chips and hot dogs were the key to living well.
Maybe, instead of compiling recipes, I should spell out general tips for living a long and healthy life. A Recipes for Life box that includes stuff like:
Eat your veggies
Avoid red meat
We went over all this repeatedly while he grew up, but he didn’t listen. So maybe he’s just a visual learner and would pay attention if I put it in a text message or zip file. Sounds reasonable, right? Face it; as a mom, I am duty bound to keep nagging him. I don’t care how independent he thinks he is.
And while I’m at it, I’ll add to the Recipes for Life box some additional tips. Gems like:
Be patient with others and tend to them often, even when they are being idgets
Travel to exotic locations and experience other cultures as often as possible
Face each day with abandon and savor life slowly
After all, this is what my own mom taught me.