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, 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, 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 age 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 bread crumbs, onions, eggs, and milk and fried in butter; another night, over-broiled pork chops.
On Fridays, it was always some fish because my dad and us kids were Catholic and prohibited from eating meat. If they were going out, she would fry up a batch of shrimp and french fries in our deep fryer. It was fried flounder with new potatoes if we were all there together.
Sundays were usually a big afternoon 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 to their house. Leftovers were used for Monday and some days Tuesday night's dinner.
When our garden was pumping out cucumbers faster than we could consume them in the summer, my mom would make this incredible cucumber salad called Agurke Salat. Every meal at dinner was served with a big bowl of it for weeks and weeks. I hated it as a kid but have learned to love it as an adult.
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 remember that as adults, she would never let me help her in the kitchen. She always wanted to do it without help and was very suborn about it.
Happy Mother's Day
There are lots more stories about my mother to tell and recipes to share, but for now, I would 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.