There is no place like home, and no smell as inviting and soothing as a home-cooked meal. My great fortune is having a Mom who shows love through her cooking, and she loves us a lot!
This past weekend my wonderfully extended family made the drive to visit my Mom and Dad — an experience that I always look forward to. Sure, there might be a question or two I’d rather not think about, or a medical status that I wish were different, but smoothing it all into a loving and joyful haze is the smell of my Mom’s cooking.
There might be a lot wrong with both me and the world, but when I am immersed in the smell of my Mom’s meatloaf, gravy and pear cake I find my cares evaporating like steam off the potatoes.
A few years ago my Mom and I sat down and wrote out some of her recipes. Over the next month I tested them out, and convinced myself that I could indeed make her cherry crumb cake.
But what I cannot duplicate is the spirit of my parents’ home — its unique blend of humor, hospitality and comfort. And because of that I treasure each time I get to experience it.
This past week I worked side by side in my own kitchen with my daughter, going over my own standard recipes so that she can make them when she is on her own. We made spaghetti with meat sauce, which millions of people make every day. But in our family there is a special ingredient — though not a secret ingredient. It is my Mom’s homemade pear jam — a taste of the spirit of home.