A Mother’s Day Tribute to My Mom
Today is May 12, 2013 and it is Mother’s Day. I lost my mom this year back in March and have been thinking about her today. My mom was from Denmark and although she wasn’t the best cook around, she taught me a lot about food and how it can be enjoyed. The Danes love food and drink. I learned this the few times I traveled to Denmark with my mom to visit her mother along with aunts, uncles and cousins.
We would all sit around the table eating and talking while the adults would drink (beer and aquavit, a traditional spirit that tastes like caraway seeds and is very strong) and smoke. I remember there was a lot of smoking going on in those days. I’m sure that has changed for the better.
My mom came to this country at the age of 21 where she met my father and married him. I think her mom, my mor mor, taught her some Danish cooking as a child but she worked hard to improve her cooking skills to feed our family every night. She had a repertoire of recipes she would make most weeks. One night Frikadeller, a mini hamburger made from a blend of pork and veal with the addition of bread crumbs, onions, eggs and milk and fried in butter, another night over-broiled pork chops.
On Fridays it was always some sort of fish because my dad and us kids were Catholic and were not allowed to eat meat. If they were going out, she would fry up a batch of shrimp and french fries in our deep fryer. If we were all there together, it was fried flounder with new potatoes.
Sundays was usually a big afternon meal featuring a roast beef or leg of lamb. Often my Uncle Emmit and Aunt Gert would come over with my cousins for this meal or we would go over to their house. Leftovers were used for Monday and some days Tuesday night’s dinner.
In the summer when our garden was pumping out cucumbers faster than we could consume them, my mom would make this incredible cucumber salad called Agurke Salat. For weeks and weeks, every meal at dinner was served with a big bowl of it. I hated it as a kid but have learned to love it as an adult.
I need to start making some of these dishes my mom cooked for us when we were young for my own kids and see if they enjoy Danish cuisine. I know they love the Danish pancakes (sort of like crepes) and Danish Ebleskiver.
I did this cartoon of my mother and The Reluctant Gourmet (me) in the kitchen with my mother cutting up some onions and me asking her to let me help. I can’t honestly remember how much she would let me help as a kid. She was usually too busy with my older brother, younger sister and me for cooking lessons but I do remember as adults, she would never let me help her in the kitchen. She always wanted to do it her way with no help and was very stuborn about it.
Happy Mother’s DayThere are lots more stories about my mother to tell and recpes to share but for now, I would just like to say to my mom up there watching over me, I’m thinking about you. And to all the mothers everywhere, Happy Mother’s Day.