A Home-cooked Meal

When you speak with a lot of people who move away from home, you hear about how they miss “mom’s home cooking” or “the way grandma used to make it” quite frequently. Mom and grandma always made it best. Restaurants couldn’t quite replicate that taste of home, no matter how hard they tried. But going out to a restaurant was still a treat.

Home-cooked meals are such an important part of any culture. So it pains me to say that I hate my mother’s cooking. If you go to any of my siblings and ask them about mom’s food, they will all probably come up with the same answer- bland. We always joked that it was the English side of my mother. Except my mom’s family was Canadian. Do they even cook like that in Canada? I doubt it…

But my mother has an extreme aversion to garlic, onions, curry, anything with a strong taste. My mother has thrown out whole General Tso’s Chicken meals freshly ordered because they were made with scallions after being strictly told not to make it with scallions and thus having the family starve has happened once or twice. Screaming on the phone and threatening the local pizza store while throwing away a whole salad because there were two slices of onions sitting on top has happened as well. Not being allowed in the house because I put garlic powder on my pizza at a friend’s house during a sleepover is quite normal (with my father stopping at the 7-11 to buy gum to try and hide it for us is also normal- thanks, dad! You tried!). I think this is where some of my picky eating has come from, wouldn’t you agree?

It’s possible. But because you have two people with two different styles of picky eating, it’s going to be a war-zone, no matter where you are. I constantly felt like home was a hostile environment, especially with food. Now, my mother did her best to cook. But it was in her style. I just didn’t like it. So when my parents separated in high school, the family started eating out more. No more fighting about food. I could choose my meal. Eating was simpler. Both parents cooked less and less to the point where they stopped cooking. It was only food from other places. So naturally, now, all I want is the food from a restaurant. The fear of having to eat what everyone else is eating is gone. Life is easier. I just have to fight with the waitress over my small requests for things removed.

But I really am saddened when I think about this fact. It also doesn’t help that as growing up, I was referred to as the “Domestically challenged” one who wasn’t trusted to cook much. Do they even remember my brother cooking pizza still on the cardboard? I think I’m more advanced than that. But not much. So recently I have been gaining this notion and feeling that I really need to learn to cook. Not to become a good housewife or anything but for my possible children. For my health. To get rid of this urge for microwaved restaurant food. I don’t want my kids to end up with this urge either. And to collectively agree, “Mom really can’t cook. Let’s sneak out to the diner once she’s asleep.” (yes, I have done this many times with the other siblings). I will get better. I will have people wanting my cooking, damnit. Just need to work on getting those ingredients… A bit hard in an Asian country.

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