Sunday, October 19, 2014

My Mom's Cutting Board

This was my mom's cutting board.  It's older than I am.  My brother, who is 15 years older than me, made it for her when he was in grade school.  Even though I hated him at the time, soon after the death of both of my parents, he insisted I have it.  I'm not sure why.  I do treasure it though, and every time I find it in the dishwasher I have a panic attack.  Don't get me wrong, I still use it, but it's too precious to be anything but hand washed.  The back side of it has been used so much that it's indented.  It's like touching a piece of history, it's like being able to touch my mother across time.  I'm not sure why that's important to me, as my mother often weighs on my mind in a negative way.  She never had much faith in my ability to cook, and when ever I did succeed ,and she witnessed the success, she always seemed shocked.  I guess it's her lack of faith that spurred me on.  My desire to prove her wrong has made me succeed.  I will never be able to make a successful pie dough, because she made the perfect pie dough and has convinced me that I never will, but there are so many other things I can do that she would have never attempted.  Mole sauce from scratch, a daunting task, even for most Mexican's, at least from what I've been told.  I can make it, and have done so successfully.  Coq a vin, yes I can do that.  Quite simple actually.  I have made corned beef from scratch.  With the help of my husband I have made homemade pastrami, sauerkraut, mustard, and rye bread.  I have ventured into charcuterie and made duck prosciutto.  I have brined and smoked a chicken over charcoal by myself.  I've made birria stew, canned tuna and chutney of various kinds, baked pies, bread, cakes and much more.  So many things she would never have ventured into; things she didn't know existed.  Somehow she created this passion with her doubt, and somehow, I not only say "I told you I can cook", but I also share it with her through this silly little cutting board.  Her doubt created a passion, that not only makes me a pretty good cook, but it keeps me alive in times of despair.  When my heart is breaking, the kitchen, the hearth, is my safe place and cooking is my therapy.  There have been times when my creations have been destroyed, out of anger.  When this happens, it tears a hole in my heart.  I can't explain why.  I can't explain why food is so important to me.  It's way beyond nourishment.  It's way beyond nurturing for me.  It's an existence.  I need to cook to survive.  Not to just eat the food, but to create it.  To have that taken away would kill me.  So I shall continue to cook and create and I will never let anyone take that away from me.  I will continue to chop on that little wooden duck until the day I die. 

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