M is for the millions of words already written about moms, O is for the outrageous stories you probably have about yours (I have a few!), and lastly, M is for my mom whom I miss very much for so many reasons. Since this is, for the most part, a food blog, I will concentrate on one of the things my mom did best, cooking.
She was, simply, a great cook and I say simply because she came from a large family of meager means, and the food she learned to cook was modest, down to earth, almost humble… and very good. So good – and I sometimes feel guilty about this – that even on Mother’s Day we (my bro and I) wanted her to cook. After we moved to our own homes, we still gathered at Mom’s because, let’s face it, she spoiled us. One year, I finally learned to make one of her favorites, Sopas (pronounced soopash), a traditional Portuguese dish served during Festas (festivals) and it became our customary Mother’s Day meal. This made her very happy and gave her a proper Mom’s Day, no cooking, no cleaning, just eating and enjoying herself.
These thoughts make me aware of just how much moms and food are tied together. You may have your own memories, but mine involve Mom bringing me chicken soup when I was sick in bed, all of the family laughing around the table after devouring her scrumptious and distinctive holiday dinners (we made a table game out of counting the sizable number of garlic cloves she inserted in a pot roast), her coaxing me to try “just one bite” when she made a new dish (I’m not afraid to try anything because of this), singing happy birthday around a four layer, rainbow colored birthday cake (one of her specialties) and her staple, a simmering pot of hearty Portuguese beans which warmed up the kitchen, and us, on many winter days. I wish I could share that recipe here, but in my naive inaction, I thought that delicious pot of beans – and my mom – would always be around.
In many ways, she is still with me, in the memories, the heritage, the little eccentricities I inherited from her (I’ll never tell), and in her recipes that season my life. If you have a favorite Mom recipe, write it down now, don’t let it slip away. And if you’d like to share it with me, please send it along, especially if it’s for Portuguese beans. I’d be forever grateful.