Friday, March 16, 2012

Not Like Mama Made It

Daddybear was reminiscing on cooking, and on the difference between his wife's cooking and his mother's cooking (and Army chow).

Calmer Half, let me state for the record, is a far wiser man than to ever complain about my food being "not like mum made it." He is also a bit older than your standard fresh-faced newlywed, and has experienced a much wider range of cooking, from African tribal fare which did not involve such petty trifles as cleaning out the pig intestines before throwing them in the soup to "good homemade Indian curry" that could be classified as a chemical weapon in most civilized countries, as well as fine Continental (European) dining well before he was introduced to my cooking, (which draws from just about anywhere the US Armed Forces have ever put a base, or oil has been found.)

I have a lot of respect for his mother. The lady grew up in the depression after The Great War, married a young soldier whom she met during an air raid, and survived in London during the Blitz, from the firebombs to the rationing. When her husband took her to South Africa after the war, she walked into their hotel room to find the standard (for South Africa) welcoming basket of free fruit - and promptly burst into tears. It had been six years since she had last seen an orange, and never you mind at what price it had last been.

No matter the post-war South African dishes she fixed (or other dishes she learned, later on), her comfort food was... a legacy of two generations of rationing and harsh economy, of stretching what little food there wasn't to feed what mouths there were. It did not include a lot of fresh vegetables, spices, thick juicy steaks, or exotic (to England) ingredients.

So it's not fair to say that I cook better or worse than his mother, because our worlds, our styles, and our ingredients are completely different. And in her cooking styles and dishes, she was, by all reports, a damn fine cook. Sadly, she passed before I could meet her, so I'll never know... and the only observer who had directly sampled both our cooking is far too wise to get into such a fix as to find himself using words like "better" or "worse".


  1. Of there is one thing I have learned, it is never to complain about the chow. . .