On the very day we returned from our Florida trip, my mom arrived at our house upon her return from a tour of Asia, and stayed for 10 days. I guess it’s the mother-daughter relationship or perhaps it’s because I’m the “baby” of the family, but my mom has no trouble making herself at home in our house and more particularly, in my kitchen. Yes, I’m quite possessive about my kitchen. I do most of the cooking in the household. When we decided to renovate the kitchen two years ago, I knew exactly what I had in mind for the design, and FuBu let me take the reins on this major outlay of cash because he knew he didn’t have much of a say unless he was going to cook a lot more!
My mom – like many ethnic moms – expresses her love through cooking. For her, cooking fulfills her sense of providing, of nurturing – this is how she cares for the ones she loves. When she visits me, she essentially takes over the kitchen and I lose pretty much all my privileges. Especially since the renovation, this has become very hard for me! You are likely and rightfully wondering how I could complain about having someone cook all my meals for me. I enjoy that aspect of her visits and I am grateful for what she provides. But this is my kitchen!
One becomes accustomed to having things in a certain place. I suddenly can’t find certain knives, spatulas or cheese graters. When mom’s here, my beautiful granite island suddenly becomes a secondary pantry for all her Chinese foodstuffs.
I enjoy my mom’s cooking and I miss it often. But there’s only so much rice you can eat. DQ said as much to me one evening, so feeling motherly guilt, I told my mom that I would be cooking spaghetti and meatballs one night.
My mom makes the best egg rolls, bar none. But deep frying comes with pitfalls like grease splatter all over my beautiful new cupboards and stainless steel appliances! Traditional Chinese stir fries call for a substantial amount of cooking oil and I often feel like there’s an oil slick all over my counters. Bless her, but my mother never learned about proper cleaning nor about safe hygiene and health practices in the kitchen – I can’t even begin to list the issues here! But she is not about to be lectured by her daughter about what she’s been doing all her life that never killed anyone!
So, I keep my mouth shut, express gratitude after every meal, and the minute she is out the door, I throw on the hazmat suit and take out the heavy duty cleaners and bleach, and begin Project Scrubdown. And then I throw a prime rib roast or a chicken in the oven, pour a glass of pinot noir or a cabernet, and feel like I’ve reclaimed my kitchen again – aaaahhh!