On becoming your mother

I’m pretty certain that there has never been a mother who has walked this earth and didn’t say that she hoped your kids would turn out just like you. Fine, so goes the curse of motherhood. But for those of us who have yet to (if ever) shit out a litter, the mother’s curse manifests itself in a different way — you find yourself becoming your mother without the impetus of bratty kids bringing out the worst in you.

I never thought it was a bad thing, really, to be like my mom. It’s kind of like the point behind “Yo Mama” jokes — I can shake my head about her sometimes, but don’t say a word about her that isn’t glowing or I will rip out your scrotum through your throat. However, if you want to rip out my father’s scrotum through his throat, well, good luck — I’d doubt the man had any balls, had I not somehow been conceived. 😉 The first man to disappoint me in life, but there has been no second one to hurt me — I’ve never managed to let another one close enough for that to actually happen.

In any event, my mom is the best cook ever. Not that she was into it when I was growing up — we ate out a lot and that must explain the size of my ass. 😉 It also explains the fact that I rarely bother to cook. But apparently my one cousin was bragging to my mom about what a gourmet chef her daughter is (read: she uses diet coke instead of eggs when baking a cake). And my mom mentioned that I can make coq a vin or salmon etouffe, but I completely lack the ability to form a hamburger patty or successfully fry an egg.

She’s right, you know. I can create an elegant sit-down dinner for 12, but I have to buy pre-made burgers to throw on the grill.

So I realized that maybe I should start trying to domesticate myself and try to make “simpler” things. So I asked Mom for a couple of her original recipes for baked goods, and I’m experimenting this weekend (given that I have not a goddamned thing else to do and will have to live with the family-induced guilt trips that I am not setting foot outside Washington because I will kill somebody if I have to be trapped in my car on a highway for another day in a row).

And while some days it scares me how much like my mom I am in so many ways, I find that baking is somewhere that we will never be alike. I finally got her coveted banana bread recipe, meticulously created (who the hell uses 3/8 of a teaspoon? Do you even OWN one of those?) and grudgingly shared. So I thought I’d try it — only I am the least precise person on earth and I dump in as much of whatever ingredient I damn well please (perhaps explaining AGAIN the size of my ass!).

I wrote down the recipe and said, “Where’s the spiced rum?”

She’s all, “You don’t put rum in banana bread.”

Me? “The hell I don’t.”

Her: “Experiment and tell me how to adjust the measurements.”

Let it be known that ALL of my recipes involve alcohol. I just mostly put it in ME and not in the bowl. 😉 Hence my own original creations that range from Kahlua balls to Bailey’s balls to Amaretto balls to Apricot Brandy slush, etc. And I’m so totally gearing up to try Guinness brownies. *drool*

Anyway, I clearly didn’t put enough Bacardi into the recipe at hand, but whatever I did to this poor recipe, well, the fucker refused to get DONE. Mom had suggested throwing it in for 40 minutes in individual loaf pans. So two hours later, I finally decided that it was midnight and they were done enough for me. She is shaking her head and feeling bad because she thought she raised me better than that. 😉

Oh, I didn’t actually eat any — I have human taste-testers for that. Who could very well be hospitalized right now after eating my creation, for all I know.

And therein, I guess I’m like my mom after all .. the woman cooks and bakes and then is so turned-off by the process that she decides she isn’t hungry after all.

The reason I like to cook — you’ll realize what a neurotic nut I am once and for all now! — is that it’s an impetus to clean. Like, to clean the kitchen before and after whatever experiment I conduct. And Mom is the type of person who will vacuum the crumbs under your feet while you’re still eating dinner — oh, lawd, please don’t make me THAT anal about cleaning!!! Because I already look like her and cook like her — if I clean like her, well, the world will implode because there simply can’t be two of us out there!

Actually, I kid. There’s a wonderful line at the end of “Anywhere But Here”, where Natalie Portman’s character “Ann” says of Susan Sarandon’s “Adele” about how the world will be flat when her mother is gone from it. Mom and I joke about that all the time, but it’s the truth of the matter — she’s made everything an adventure … an odyssey … for me, and I guess I just wanted to destroy my kitchen bake things that I remember her making for me because I find myself missing her so much. And if I become like her, the world never has a chance to become flat, because I’ll make sure her impact on it (through me) lasts and lasts.

On iTunes: Goldfrapp, “Tiptoe”

5 Responses to On becoming your mother

  1. Anonymous :

    OT: I got to see Bon Jovi performing live in Philly at Live8.
    Thought of you the second they came on stage. (And, yes, they ROCKED.)

    –Random lurker

  2. Dawn :

    Oh, that’s awesome! Thank you for thinking of me. Did you throw a pair of underwear at him? ‘Cause that’s what I would have done. Preferably, of course, while I was still wearing them. 😉

  3. Serenity :

    This was a wonderful tribute to your mother…Goddess, I only hope I someday gain the wisdom, dignity and grace that would make me even half the woman my mom is…

  4. Pratt :

    check my blog for pic of bon jovi for you

  5. Army Wife :

    that’s me, can ccok for a dinner party, but sometimes have trouble with the simple “potato salad, unless it has rosemary and sour cream in it.