To illustrate this point I'll share my favorite memory of my mom and interestingly enough - it's not from my childhood.
Growing up I was not much help to my mom in the kitchen. I preferred to be reading. Boy, could she cook! And bake too! She could make a mean pot roast that melted in your mouth. My mouth is literally watering just typing about it! And her sticky buns are worth fighting for - if they are there when I am, I wil wrestle anyone to the floor for the last one. So... when I got married, I wanted to be able to spread this joy to my new hubby. However, I always came up short since I hadn't helped her much in the kitchen and then spent 5 years getting engineering degrees at Drexel.
"How hard can cooking be?" I thought, "It's just following instructions!" (Go ahead and laugh all of you who understand the love and talent that go into cooking and baking - I was just clueless). I mean - I passed my chemistry and physics labs in school. Same difference, right? But every time I used her recipes, the results seemed not quite right and NEVER as good as hers. I was often on the phone asking her for help - I think she was amused (my dh was NOT - poor man).
One evening I was having our pastor and his wife for dinner and wanted to do an impressively yummy, yet simple Hot Fudge Pudding Cake dessert for them. I called dear Mom for the recipe. Her instructions were exactly this, "Put the dry ingredients in and then the wet and throw it in the oven. It's soooo easy!" So this is what I did.
When it was time to serve, the dessert seemed more like runny pudding than cake with pudding around it. One bite and I knew it wasn't right! Fortunately our pastor didn't notice but I could tell his wife had a clue. I was embarrased but at least it was edible.
When I called my mom to lament another culinary failure and complain that she hadn't passed me her great kitchen genetics, she offered to come and bake it together to see what went wrong. As a newlywed, I loved cooking and baking with her so I took her up on the offer. How else would I ever learn what I had thought (foolishly) would be a simple part of marriage?
So as we are standing together with ingredients ready, we start adding all the dry ingredients to the pan. Then I add all the wet ingredients. I pick it up to put it in the oven and my mom says, "Aren't you going to STIR that?"
I say, "What d'ya mean?"
Mom, with eyebrows raised and a half smile, says, "It needs to all be well stirred together before you bake it."
I say,"Stir it? It needs to be stirred? You didn't WRITE THAT IN THE INSTRUCTIONS! I didn't know it had to be stirred! You just said put it all in and throw it in the oven! You said it's that easy! That's what you said!"
Mom says, "I didn't think I had to tell you to STIR it! For heavens sakes, you always stir ingredients that you put together to bake something!"
At this point my mom is practically ROFL and I am so flustered and red-cheeked at my ignorant left-brain interpretation of Mom's recipe. When we finished laughing, I stirred the ingrediednts well and baked it. The results - perfect!
My dh loves to tell this story when friends come over! I will say that I've learned so much from my mom since then - the biggest lesson about cooking being that it's not just about following instructions. It really is a talent...a skill.. that takes time to develop and hone. I am so glad that she has been my mentor and helper - and so is my DH! BTW - I've also finally figured out the key to her fabulous pot roast - but it's not the stirring (*snortchucklesnort*)!
She still reminds me to stir from time to time!
Thanks Mom! It was hard to choose just one memory to post but this is one of my favorite memories of one of the many ways you've impacted my life! Happy Mother's Day! Hey, can I call you about my chili recipe for next week? ;-)