I must admit that when we first got married I wasn’t the best of chefs. I did get an A for effort and worked hard at maneuvering my way around the kitchen. I was on my way to becoming the covergirl for “Mommy Tried in the Kitchen”. I bought myself a frying pan and even got a crockpot. On those garage sale mornings, no cookbook went unturned.
If anyone is interested in Making More with Tofu, please let me know.
Being in the kitchen was twofold for me. It came with it’s own expectations (or so I thought) and the proverbial bar was very high. Success in the kitchen translated to a successful marriage. A perfected roasted chicken with a side of golden potatoes meant your marriage was stable. If you happened to have gently seasoned broccoli as a side dish you were more than just stable, you were successful! Can you imagine what the world would have thought if I had more than one side dish? What if I had made a homemade apple-pie?
Needless to say, I should have gotten the hint when one night I served pink chicken, raw broccoli and bread that had a touch of mold around the edges. (I thought I trimmed that off).
The kitchen was also the room where my children and I spent endless hours creating, talking, telling jokes (usually at my expense) and making endless trips to the grocery store for more eggs. This is where we experimented with frosting recipies and smushed bananas for bread.
As my raw chicken indicated months earlier, marriage number one was becoming a recipe for disaster. To my dismay, I soon realized that kitchen time with my kids became part of the settlement.
Life as a divorced mom was stressful and time was always a factor. Being a single, divorced mom for me meant more hours at work and shuttling kids to baseball practice, swimming lessons and playdates. The days of frolciking in the kitchen seemed to be a thing of the past. The kitchen was quickly becoming a warehouse for my pots and pans as well as a place to unload my harbored feelings of guilt and resentment. It was my pseudo therapy den. Friends would stop by and I would make them tea as I complained about late bed times at thier dad’s house.
One day my daughter Jackie, then 9, came home and asked me to contribute to the schools bakesale. “Do you remember we once made cupcakes with really good vanilla frosting? You can make those cupcakes!”
And out of the mouths of babes came my “ah ha moment”. She remembered the time we experimented with vanilla, butter and inordinate amounts of sugar. It meant something to her!! Needless to say, I found myself in the kitchen bringing those cupcake tins back to life.
Since marriage #2:
Life is more hectic than ever these days. Working full time and raising five kids has definately cut into my lesuire time. I am not a perfect divorced mom, I am guilty of making mac n cheese from a box and my veggies, more often than not, come from a frozen plastic bag. I feel like I live in my car and am my children’s personal chauffer, but this is by choice.
However, this time around I am older, wiser and make profoundly different choices. It’s not about what marriage is supposed to look like. It is about making the memories and spending real time with your kids, however long or short that might be. It’s about being present for your family.
I have found my way back into the kitchen and my children have followed. Whether it’s to experiment with frosting or rip open that box of yellow powdery stuff that magically turns into cheese, we are together. We get messy, gooey and sticky. The kitchen is often left a mess. But we are cooking up some amazing memories filled with laughter, fun and munchies.
1 3/4 c flour,
1 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar,
3/4 tsp baking soda,
1/2 tsp salt,
2 large eggs,
1/2 c butter,
2 smushed bananas,
3/4 c sugar,
1 tsp vanilla extract,
Combine and pour into greased 8×4 loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Enjoy!