Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: DELICIOUS (02/04/16)
- TITLE: My Mom, the Gourmet
By M. C. Syben
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My mother, Frances, was a modest person with few desires and needs. Her lilting operatic voice filled the farm house kitchen where she practiced her other talents—cooking delicacies and baking the kind of pies and cakes that were bragged about forever. Mom’s taste buds reigned. She threw together ingredients like a mad scientist. She deserved the meat-and-potatoes gourmet credentials bestowed upon her from family and friends. Nothing mediocre ever passed our lips.
Years later, I decided it should be Mom’s turn to be waited on. I felt compelled to introduce her to culinary cuisine of the world. But no matter to which restaurant I transported her, she reacted negatively. Once, I took her to a Mexican establishment. “It’s too dark in here. I can’t see what I’m eating.” As for the re fried beans: “Are you saying you actually like this?”
Oh, I forgot to mention that for Mom, food had to be aesthetically pleasing on the plate. No matter how much we disdained a particular vegetable, no one sat at the table without a serving because “they make your dish look pretty.”
For her eighty-fifth birthday, my nephew, Karl, and I treated Mom to lunch at a Japanese restaurant. “What was that lump of pretty green stuff?” She asked after gulping down a glass of water. Her face glowed like a red balloon. She had swallowed an entire lump of Wasabi much to the amusement of the Sushi chefs standing nearby. “Who eats raw fish anyway?” she harrumphed changing the subject. Karl laughed himself silly. Thank goodness Mom possessed an iron-clad stomach and the ability to joke about it eventually.
The only “yum” of approval I ever heard was when I ordered Pizza Hut vegetarian pizza. Mom enjoyed Pizza Hut for years until she declared, “I’m telling you, they changed the recipe for their crust.” That was the end of Pizza Hut in my house.
I don’t know why I took Mother’s disapproval of every restaurant I ushered her to personally, but I did. Desperately, I wanted to please an old woman who could no longer spend hours in the kitchen. From Italian, to German, to Indian, to the local diner, it was the same old thing…to her taste buds, something was always wrong.
Frances lived to one hundred and a half years old. I joke that when she passed over and reviewed the reel of her time on Earth, it probably included every “bad” eatery that I dragged the poor woman to. Relief only greeted her at the pearly gates where she met the bread of life.
Is my wonderful Mom enjoying food in heaven? I found few Biblical references on the topic. But, according to Jesus, “Assuredly, I say to you, I will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the Kingdom of God’” (Mark 14:25). Since wine is there, why not food? I’m comforted as I imagine Mom’s first taste of perfect, heavenly fare that results in a long-awaited decree of “Delicious!” I only wish I could hear and feel the joy in her voice.
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