When something is hard to comprehend or difficult to explain, then it is a “bitter pill to swallow.” Disappointment is a feeling not often expected. We do things to avoid disappointment, but when something doesn’t make sense, then it becomes that tough pill to swallow.
This blog post has been floating in my head for the past week. I want to share an aspect of my life, but I want to word it perfectly so that the bulk of what I’m saying is written out precisely. The last blog was about the dynamic of my family changing with the arrival of my niece. This blog too is about change, yet more to-do with age and reversal of roles.
My Grandma still to this day stays active in the kitchen. Even though she is retired and getting older, she still manages to stay sharp in the kitchen, perfecting her old recipes and trying new techniques she see’s on the food channel, taking notes like a student. She didn’t really teach me how to cook, but she did make many of my meals growing up. She might be my favorite cook, although I myself as an adult want to impress her with my cooking skills, return the favor for all those wonderful meals she made for me.
I was her first grandchild and she has always encouraged me to finish school. On the weekends or during the breaks I’ll go over to her house and have some of her cooking. That hierarchy of preparing meals has always been my grandma cooking for me and then I’m left feeling grateful. It can stay that way until she wishes, but I do sometimes want the role to be reversed, me cooking and my grandma enjoying the meal. I’d even to go further and say that if my grandma likes the dish or meal, then she can give me a pat on the back and praise the meal for being so dang good. Easier said than done.
A few weekends ago I made a stew using garbanzo beans. My mom wanted garbanzo beans one Saturday so I got the pot ready and started to make it around noon-ish. I added onions, carrots, cabbage, corn, and stew meat with whatever seasonings we had in the cabinet. I kept adding water and stirring till we were ready to eat later that evening.
My Mom and I were the only ones home to eat the stew, and it was good to my taste buds. My Mom was impressed and very satisfied as well. We both had seconds and talked about how the stew would be perfect in the winter. When it’s freezing outside and you need to wear a jacket just to go out, this is what you want on the stove boiling when you come home from a long day.
We made a lot of garbanzos bean that night. My Mom had made plans to eat dinner at my Grandmas that next day. She had told her that she would bring the leftover stew for her to try. I did make a good amount, so I didn’t want it to go to waste. This was a perfect opportunity for me to show my grandma my cooking skills and return the favor or show my gratitude via my cooking, not exactly as I had it planned in my head. I thought my Grandma would sit down and have a bowl in front of me. Then tell me that it was delicious and that she wanted to know my secret but life is never what you expect. We drove to her house that next night with the stew.
Now my Grandma is really into the NFL and it was a Sunday when we went over to eat. She had made her very fulfilling masa enchiladas with beans and rice. Of course it was the food worth dying for. The food you eat and eat; even though you are full, your hands are still putting food down your mouth. The food she made was that good. As soon as we got there, she told us that we took too long, and she got hungry and already ate. And like us after we ate, she was still full. She was in the kitchen warming up the chili and at the same time looking at the TV to see the score.
She was too full to try my stew, and I would rather eat her food than mine. So we put the stew to the side and got full off the enchiladas.
It was weird because my grandma and I didn’t have that moment I described. And that’s why I didn’t know how to write this post because it seems that my feelings about my cooking are very sensitive regarding my grandma’s opinion. I respect her but, is it too much to ask for her to say she enjoys my cooking? But then I started to think well maybe my cooking isn’t as great as I thought. That last sentence was my tough pill to swallow because I want to be great at cooking. Having my Grandma’s taste buds be intrigued validates my ability in the kitchen, all in my delusional head of course.
We left later that night and went home. We did leave a container of the stew for her to try whenever she got hungry. My Grandma called later that night to tell me that she tried the stew. She said it was good and that she liked it. I guess her approval is what I wanted, but is it wasn’t exactly how I thought it was going to be.
Nothing good comes easy. The things we truly want in life take hard work to attain. I think this philosophy applies to the kitchen also. If I want to get better or want to be the best then I need to work at it. Everyday is another opportunity to get better. I know my Grandma likes my cooking, but in all fairness I started this blog-post not realizing whether my meals are even on my Grandmother’s level.
I made good stew one night and I expected a gold star from the best. I can’t even hold a candle when it comes to her cooking. Not yet there. So the response I may have wanted from my Grandma may be impossible at the moment, but I truly think it depends on how good my cooking can get in the future. But in the end. I am okay with knowing that my cooking will never be as good as Grandmas.