Stupid Babies Need the Most Attention
A Bruh To Remember

Who I Cook For

This post is sponsored by Blue Apron. The first 50 readers to sign up with this link will get $50 off their first two weeks Blue Apron!

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My mom tried to teach me how to cook growing up. But for the most part, I was passionately disinterested. It was like I was downright determined to head off into adult life without the ability to scramble an egg or function without a microwave. I loved to help ("help") her bake cookies, of course, because cookies, and cookie dough, plus we stored all the Christmas cookie cutters in this weirdly inaccessible corner cabinet in our kitchen and I was the only one small enough to climb in and find them. I would toss them out and then pretend I was in Narnia for awhile while my mom did all the work. 

Anything else cooking related, I wanted nothing to do with. It was boring, I'd probably mess it up, why go through all that work when I'd rather just eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? Do you know how easy it is to microwave a hot dog? Why can't we just always eat hot dogs?

But still, she tried. Family dinner time was sacred, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners were over-the-top affairs of family favorites that my mom cooked practically single-handedly because the rest of us were all completely useless. 

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So she probably didn't have very high hopes for me when I announced my intention to get married at 20 years old because I was so Very Adult and Mature For My Age. But I assured her I'd be fine. Why, just that month I'd learned how to roast a tomato in the oven after following a recipe I found on a container of Parmesan cheese! A TOMATO. That's just plain fancy. 

But once Jason and I were on our own, we did manage to get our acts together in the kitchen. (Especially since it was either learn to boil rice or like, starve to death.) We watched a TON of cooking shows and splurged on a few cookbooks. I learned to make all our family holiday dishes and then some new ones. When I came home to visit, I offered to cook dinner. My dad would rave and go for seconds. My mom would ask me -- ME -- for the recipes I made for them. 

And then Dad died, and everything changed all over again. My mom moved into an apartment and (understandably) announced her retirement from cooking. There were no more big family Thanksgivings and Christmases, since no one could agree on who should host what and travel/lodging logistics and ugh, let's just take this year off and regroup later. 

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My mom would come to visit and we'd cook for her. In the last few years it's been a lot of Blue Apron meals, mixed in with the holiday staples. She always loved them and marveled at the convenience of it all -- the recipe cards, the neatly portioned ingredients, how reliably good everything came out, how fun it is to try new meals and ingredients so often. She'd say she wished there was a meal service like this when we were younger -- menu planning and shopping for our family took up entire days for her!  And I think (I hope) she was proud to see that I carried on the tradition of family dinners together and the ritual of cooking healthy, delicious food for my children. Even if they, too, would maybe prefer to eat a microwaved hot dog.

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This past weekend, my mom moved again. Across the country to Arizona. Her health has been getting more troublesome (she was diagnosed with Parkinson's a few years ago and its progression has been brutal) and after a few falls and hospitalizations it was clear her living situation needed to change. She'll now live just about a mile away from my older sister, where she'll be safe and well-cared for. It's really a good thing.

But I've never lived more than a few hours' drive away from her before. Even after getting married, I was never too far away for a quick weekend visit. If she needed me, I could get in the car and be there, often with a Crock Pot of brisket in tow.

A few weeks ago she was hospitalized again and I went up to help out. I sat with her and tried to sort out what was happening with the doctors (a routine pacemaker procedure turned into a collapsed lung, and two further procedures failed to inflate the lung, which IS NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN). I brought her pizza and carry-out from her favorite restaurants so she wouldn't have to eat the hospital food. I went on a fools' errand to find fresh lemons for her iced tea. When she was finally discharged from the hospital, I taught her about the secret joy that is cold pepperoni pizza, which she'd never tried before. She had to admit it was weirdly satisfying. Which was good, because I was too exhausted to cook. 

And then I had to come home. She gave me all her pots and pans to give to Ezra for his birthday, since they were all small and sized for cooking for one. (He was delighted.) 

And then she moved. She probably won't be coming back. 

We'll visit, of course. The kids need to see their Nana and Auntie and the Grand Canyon anyway. But still, everything has changed all over, once again.

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For this post, Blue Apron asked me to answer the question "Who Would You Cook For?"

I originally wrote up something obvious about my kids, then shifted to our annual Friendsgiving party we're throwing later this month. I got about two paragraphs into each before deleting them and starting over. 

It's my mom. If I could cook for anyone, I wish I could cook for my mom again. 

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Phew, this was heavy for a sponsored post, wasn't it? Thanks to Blue Apron for indulging my ramblings. (My mom is okay with it, I promise. She's always like, girl, you get that money!) Now back to our regularly scheduled programming: Click this link here to get $50 off your first two weeks of Blue Apron. And please share #WhoYouWouldCookFor in the comments below!

 

Comments

Katie H.

It's so hard caring for aging parents, and even more so when they are far away. But, I'm SO glad your boys have had her around for so long and you still have time for new adventures in store. I WISH I could use a great service like Blue Apron, but alas, my husband and daughter are EXCEEDINGLY picky and they would never go for the lucious dishes Blue Apron has to offer. Still, if I could cook for anyone (and they'd like it) it would be them!

Amy

I love this #sponsored post. Your sponsored content never feels like I'm reading sponsored content- it just feels like I'm reading your writing. What a great post. My mom cooked everything from scratch: "Your father just doesn't like the taste of mixes, Amy" cue eyeroll. So I cook everything from scratch too, for my husband and my kids. (It sounds very 1950's, but I love to cook and hate doing dishes, so I promise, everything is great in our house re: division of labor.)

Shylo

Whenever I see a commercial for a meal-prep service, I also think of my mom. She hated cooking and I think of the hours of unappreciated labor she spent making the same six or seven meals over and over. Later in her life, she just ate candy and hamburgers. She might have enjoyed the variety a service offers.

Elaine C. B.

My grandma died when I was 18; she made the best potato soup and apple crisp and creamed corn. I never got to cook for her. I would cook for Gram.

Fraulein N

This was so touching. Ezra is really going to treasure those pots and pans.

Suzanne

Love this post, Amy. My mom has Parkinson’s too and things are getting difficult for her. I will be cooking for her more. I didn’t appreciate all the Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners she cooked until now, when I try to coordinate all those dishes myself. Mine will never be as good as mom’s or grandma’s, but I try.

Elizabeth Miller

Thinking of you and your mom and your family.

Our family has been hit by Parkinson's 5 times, only two of the folks who've had it are related to each other by blood: my dad's brother; their step-father and step-sister; a different brother's sister; a different step-sister's husband. It's been unfailingly brutal.

Sending so many hugs.

Lisa

My mom has Alzheimer's. My sister and I did GOTV work this year, which we'd never done before, for her. I am sorry your mom is ailing, and I hope she can be stable and happy in her new place.

Lisa

Had to come back and be scrupulously honest. We would have done the work anyway, because, this president, and because we are very close. But we dedicated the work to Mom.

sheilah

This is going to get me all weepy but if I could cook for anyone again it would be my father. He has been gone now for a long time but there are times when you just want your daddy. I would love to cook him a good meal and tell him that I am all right.

Amy

How it is that you can make me cry even with a sponsored post, I'll never know (but always appreciate).

I used to cook most of our meals and I was proud of that. Then I got pregnant and didn't have the energy to cook. Then we had a child and didn't have the time/energy/stamina/sanity to cook. And now things are getting better, but we're planning on having another child next year. I think I'll seriously consider a meal kit plan like Blue Apron for the first few months of our second child's life. I love cooking for my family, but life can get it the way of that (especially since my husband is definitely not an easy-to-please eater - I joke that he's the pickiest, non-picky eater ever).

KC

I can't even say how much I love that Blue Apron was chill with a sponsored post that is not even recognizable as the usual blog-sponsored-post that is 100% "rah rah rah if you use this product all the problems in your life will disappear! You'll be thin and happy and sexy and organized and everyone will love you!" (and yet it is still definitely pro-Blue Apron, even though that's not laid on thickly enough to make one gag. You got writing skillz with that product integration there.)

(Did I tear up? at a Blue Apron post? Yes, yes I did.)(I also love that your mom gave it the A-Okay and that you thought of checking with her. :-) )

Lee

I remember your mom's kitchen and a cookie or six. I agree with the poster above, I <3 your sponsored posts and always read them through.

flybigd

I wish I could cook Thanksgiving dinner for my mom again. She is still in good health at home, as is my dad, but the rest of my family have various problems and health issues that prevent them from making it two hours over to my house, and so my husband, son and I go to my parents. My mom HATES making Thanksgiving dinner. And she hates the leftovers too. In years past I was happy to cook, and the family was well enough to come to my house, and my mom would show up with a big smile. Now it's kind of a stressful day--I can help with cooking but she dislikes hosting and all the mess.

This was a great post and I wish your mom the best out in AZ. PS if you decide to visit the Grand Canyon and want to try to stay overnight--call the day or day before you go and there may be rooms or cottages available right on the rim. It's so awesome once the busloads of tourists leave and the stars come out.

Chris

Your sponsored posts never feel like you were forced to think of something to write. You have such a gift. I got teary reading this, knowing all you've gone through with your parents. Internet hugs to you today.

Christine

Aw, Amy. I'm so sorry. Adulting sucks, especially this part of it. Big hugs.

Anonymous

This post is lovely. Ezra is going to love those pots and pans!

My mom made some of the most amazing meals, and I too “helped” with baking, cause cookies(!). Then, as I got older, my parents worked different schedules and my dad cooked. When my mom got sick, my dad and I made holiday meals together until it was just him and I and we pared it down, who needs all that food for just 2? Now that he’s gone as well, I struggle to integrate some of my traditions with my in laws, but it’s not the same. Long story short, I would cook for my parents. To sit and have a meal with two people I miss terribly would be so wonderful.

I hope the move to AZ works well for your mom, it’s great there. And remember, she’s still just a phone call away.

Stephy

My dad. We lost him 10 years ago, and I never really got the chance to cook for him. I miss him.

Leslie

I love this post. If husbeast were not so terribly limited in what he can eat coupled with what he will eat, I'd be giving Blue Apron a try.

But I love you checked posting about your mom with your mom. I love that you and Jason learned to cook together and I really love that Chef 'Zah is now the proud owner of cooking-for-one pots and pans.

Be well, Amy. So many of us love you and your family through your posts.

Sara

I don't cook very much bc working mom and no time, plus 3 kids in various sports almost nightly during the week. But I do live in AZ (Phoenix area) and absolutely love it here. Is it wrong that I'm overly excited for a chance meeting with Amy? Bc I totally am.

Sheila

My mom was a great cook. I still cook some of the dishes she made. She died when I was 22. I don't know if I ever really cooked a meal for her. My dad died when I was 25. He loved my cooking. It's been over 30 years...my cooking has improved! I would love to cook them both a big meal and ask them all the questions I never got the chance to ask.

Stacy

My son ran off to college in late August and returns next week for his first visit home since he left. I am so excited to cook for him ---- chicken tacos, our family go-to, will be on the menu on Wednesday evening and I can't wait!

Betsy

My grandmother died before I really learned to cook. I would give anything to cook for her.
Your posts resonate with all of us that miss something, someone. Mwa!

Tamar

Both my grandmother and grandfather had Parkinson's. I still have the pan that my grandmother gave me to "babysit" when she finally decided that she couldn't cook anymore due to the tremors after years of pushing through. I use it all the time and feel connected to her every time I use it.

Sue W.

I would make shabu-shabu for my wonderful late mother-in-law. I took to her Japanese ways and foods like a fish to water. She said I made better Miso Soup than she did When she was in the care facility before she passed, I would make Miso Soup once a week and take for her to eat.
It's funny. When her son (my husband of almost 30 years) and I first got together, she thought I was a "gold digger" because I am 7 years older than he is. (Scandalous, I know!) But she soon came to find that I truly love him and she loved me as much as I loved her. She treated me better and loved me more for the 23 years I was in her life than my own mother has for my entire life. I miss her every day.

Amy A

This the first Thanksgiving without my mom. She died in September. She lived with me for a bit because of her severe dementia, and then we had a house fire and shit got bad so we found her a wonderful memory care facility.
Anyway, we’re back in our house now, as of two weeks ago, and for the first time in a long time I’m hosting Thanksgiving dinner. I’m making a lot of foods in honor of my mom, which no one liked, really, but her, like ambrosia and curried fruit (yuck, but she loved it.) So, yes, I’m cooking for my mom, and in honor of my mom. She hasn’t really been ‘here’ for a while because of the dementia, but now she’s really not here and will never be here again and it makes me sad. So ambrosia and curried fruit it is, and will probably be so from here on out.

caitlin can cook but doesn't really anymore

wow. this was just so nice for a sponsored post. here i am crying at work. I am so sorry to hear about your mom getting worse. i loved reading through other's comments too about who they would cook for- how sweet. I have fallen into that rut of the busy life with 2 young kids and the full time work with the traveling husband rat race phase of life, where there just is no longer the time or energy to cook especially on a weeknight (and oh god the accompanying dishes!) even though I never really minded cooking. But this post just really resonated with me and reminded me that you are cooking and doing the dishes because you love those you are cooking for! But also the memories so many moms have left with the posters makes me think about what kind of memories I am creating for my kids. Sigh. Thanks, as usual your writing is lovely.

katie

Stoooooopppppppp I"m not crying YOURE CRYING

Lauren

Damn you and your heart wrenching posts! Just kidding. I hate that people have to age and move and things have to change. Whyyyy!

Kathryn Haskin

I'd cook for my aunts and uncles and my parents. As a kid, we went to my aunt's house for Thanksgiving, a big activity with lots of people and lots of food. The older women would sit in the kitchen for most of the day - watching the food, serving the food, cleaning up, and I remember thinking that must be so not fun for them. But now, I know that the best conversations can be had in the kitchen, catching up, and I'd give anything to have a chance to be in that kitchen with them now, taking my turn checking on the food and cleaning up, while listening to them tell stories and laugh.

Sasha

I would cook for my boyfriend. He died two months ago, and up until he died he lived in Paradise, California.

Johanna

(crying!)

MJ

My Mom had Parkinson’s too. My heart goes out to all of you. How fortunate that she can be so close close to your sister. Much love to all of you.

Alex

I super relate, and I'm super sobbing.

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