Anybody who has experience making meals in the kitchen knows that it requires a lot of effort to make; especially if you are cooking for your family. And so, part of the process of getting prepared to cook is to put your whole mind and heart into it.
I would like to set the record straight; my mother is the best cook on the planet.
Even though my mom worked hard all day, she was always ready to put her foot into the food that she was making. I complimented her on one of her meals once and told her that she put her foot in it and she said, “I put my feet in it.” Who wouldn’t be humored by her incomprehension of my slang? But when I say that she put her foot into the things that she would concoct in the kitchen, there is no half-truth being told here.
My mother knew exactly what to do to make real change to the way that cries of our hunger pangs. Purpose bubbled to the surface with every action she made in creating her meals.
She had a way to put a unique spin on everything and to do anything she put her hands on with greatness. She had more food preparation tools in her arsenal than Home Depot on any given day and made the extra effort to add a flowing spring of heart, mind, spirit and soul. She knew how to deliver smiles easily.
I saw her take scotch bonnet peppers, onions, garlic and parsley to make her own blend of spice to put on food while on the oven cooking. I also envied her for that. I was the more, store bought in a bottle spice type of chef but my mom, she would use all-natural products and create her own concoctions and the end result was always so good.
She would get into the kitchen and slave away for hours while letting a tune go out of her heart.
“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound.”
She would sing and clean the meats with lemon and vinegar.
“That saved a wretch like me!”
She would hum and stir the beans on the way to achieving tender consistency and then I would feel the joys of her singing and join into the musical celebration.
“I once was lost but now am found.”
She would echo sounds as she added water to a pot and added olive oil to boil before adding rice.
“T ’was blind but now I see!”
The song was blaring through the whole house while the aromas were spilling out from the kitchen, right into our noses.
We were always so anxious to take a peek to see exactly what was brewing and so every time my mom left the room, we crept in to take a look and also a pinch-full of whatever was in the pots.
I’m pretty sure she knew what we were doing when we were doing it but her regality would not allow her to be moved in her positive stance.
She kept singing, moving around the kitchen and she just continued laboring along to get her custom-made meal prepared.
I always enjoyed taking in the aroma of the delicious Haitian cuisine filling the air. The smell of simmering garlic and onions always made me so happy to be reuniting with the family at the dinner table once again. The aroma of broiling meats in the oven made me want to burst into the kitchen to grab my share even before the cooking was done.
She always knew exactly how much salt to add or just the right amount of butter the recipe needed. She sliced potatoes and added a helping of cheese and knew the right amount of milk to added to the pot for the potatoes to cook and for the cheeses to melt.
Dinner time was one of the times that our family got to bond. It was an everyday thing but, nothing was better than sitting, laughing and enjoying the well-rounded meal of my mother’s labors with people that loved me more than I could possibly love myself.
And then when the time would come and we were able to indulge into the elegantly adorned roasted turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes, rice and bean sauce, nobody was willing to hesitate. The presentation of the dishes were always nice. My mom would make the food look pretty, just for us with garnishes on her meats and adding some type of décor to the food.
As for me, I could not help but to have an insatiable hunger for more, because it was always so delicious and hearty and just everything a person could want that made dinner time the best time. Flavor simply burst into our mouths from a whisper to a scream. We couldn’t help but to decorate smile onto our faces.
It was like an indulgent, family celebration every time we gathered together to enjoy a meal in harmony. Our family would sit, eat the warm morsels of the prepared foods while talk and burst out into gales of laughter at all the silly warmth people would add to the oasis of the dining room table. Dinner consisted of us spending a slice of time together with people we all revered. And so, eating and celebrating life together at the dinner table was always a stimulating experience.
Maybe one day I will get my skills together. They say that being obedient to a recipe equals success. I am more of a creative thinker and add my own ingredients not written on the actual pages of a cooking book. I am more of the type to look for new ideas and implement them based on me. My mom on the other hand is someone who made a meal and thought about every single person who would be present to sit at her dinner table and eat. Her meals were a genius body of work. She was like a Carol King to songs when it came to cooking. Even if she did not consume any of the food that she prepared, it was mostly to the desire of our hearts to make sure that we were satisfied with her selfless way of cooking things up in good faith. I only hope my scope of skills will be as good as hers someday. But based on her example of putting her foot into it, I know that one day I’ll fly.