Please Mom, May I’ve Some More?

tates

My mother, a splendid cook and never one for following a recipe, on Sundays only, always prepared a roast. Whether it was the traditional roast beef or a succulent loin of pork I recall the aroma as if it were yesterday. The evening always began pleasantly, peacefully, as my family sat around the dining room table. And then the roasted potatoes arrived. Six roasted potatoes in that beautiful Lenox bowl, for six of us, including my 6”4 father. And at that moment, the dinner deteriorated with the frustrated pleas of my father as to why, why? my mother couldn’t make more than six potatoes. She never really gave an answer, but simply disappeared into the kitchen. This ritual went on for as long as I can remember during those Sunday night dinners and the question forever unanswered. Though I do recall her saying on more than one occasion that you should leave the table just a little bit hungry. It makes you remember how delicious the meal. I believe she just didn’t like peeling potatoes…

My best friend Janet, a fixture in my home during those years, always summed it up perfectly. “Your mother made the BEST hamburger I had ever tasted. But I always felt like it was the size of a meatball!”

Another old friend, well familiar with my mother’s cooking or lack of, used to taunt me “I hope you never have boys. They drink QUARTS of milk out of the refrigerator and full boxes of cookies at a sitting. And forget about it if they bring their friends over! They will eat you out of house and home!” Her words left me paralyzed with fear and right then, I secretly prayed for girls.

Three adjectives that come to mind in describing my mother’s portions… taste, spoonful, sip. “Give Kathy another taste of the string beans.” “Your father would love a spoonful of the turnip.” “Can you pour me a sip of orange juice please.” Get the idea?

I fear that I have carried on her tradition. My two sons, aged 12 and 14 are of average weight and seem to be satisfied with my portions but it is their peers that take notice when their plate is a little lacking. Just yesterday, a friend of my son asked politely if I would mind filling up his entire glass rather than only half. “Seconds” are a word so unfamiliar in my home that it is only understood as a time value. And, yes I guess I have to admit that when I make hamburgers for the family they are more slider than burger. Actually, my mother may have coined the term slider fifty years ago without even knowing it!

But unlike my mother and the potatoes, I am open to change. While preparing my list for the supermarket this morning I have made a decision. I will buy twice the normal quantity of everything. For tomorrow, let there be leftovers!
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12 thoughts on “Please Mom, May I’ve Some More?

  1. How interesting that your mom cooked this way. We know now it is a healthy way to eat, and increases longevity, but it was definitely atypical for women of her gen. I wonder what, in her past, or her family’s past, had caused this?

    That would probably make another interesting story.

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    1. My mother was raised on a farm in Leitrim Ireland. She claimed when queried about her tiny portions, that her family was never wanting in food. She further added that she always remembered hearing her mother remarking (while doling out one turnip per plate) that “you should leave the table, just a little bit hungry. In doing so, you remember how good the meal.” Thank you for reading!

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      1. You’re welcome (for the reading). It may never happen again–too many great blogs out there, too few of me–but glad I stopped by.

        Your mom’s family was wise. And evil. I would have withered away to a spindly nothing! I was ALWAYS hungry growing up, and we had endless seconds! Good grief! I was a bottomless pit of hunger! The thought of one potato!

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  2. You transported me back in time with this fabulous song. My father used to sing it constantly. Not sure if it was due to my mother’s spare portions or he just liked the tune. I wrote a short story about him if you care to read. He was quite a character with his Scottish accent and eccentric ways. Miss him every day! https://nynkblog.wordpress.com/2014/11/23/in-the-company-of-women-2/. You have a wonderful sense of humor. I visited your blog and really enjoyed your wit. I will visit again soon and read more! Thanks for the memory.

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  3. What a great post. I truly enjoyed it. I myself almost always have leftovers which is funny seeing as Hubby hasn’t always been fond of them. In fact, when we were first married he refused to eat them. This didn’t stop me from making them, I just didn’t serve them to him. Leftovers make great lunches and nighttime snacks. My mother had certain meals that ended up with leftovers like meatloaf because she liked meatloaf sandwiches, but if she wasn’t going to eat them, she didn’t make them. For us now, Hubby takes leftovers everyday to work for lunches and sometimes dinner when he works 24 hour shifts and actually requests them. He has learned to appreciate the convenience of having real food to eat when he isn’t home or late at night when I’m not up for cooking another complete meal for him. We could certainly learn something from your mother though on portion sizes. Too often we both complain about being “over-full” when leaving the dinner table. I’ll have to keep this in mind next time I make burgers and Hubby comments (not complains mind you) about the burger being bigger than the bun! Look forward to reading more of your posts.

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  4. Thanks Tilly. I always found my mother’s next day leftover (a rare, rare occasion) of a cold meatloaf sandwich, especially delicious. The next story I would like to recommend is “Death by Windex” regarding my husband. That is all I will tell as not to spoil. I love to write but am undisciplined so have found Cee’s Photo Challenges a wonderful distraction!! I will try to get back to writing soon. So glad to have met you. You sound very funny, a trait I greatly admire in friends 🙂

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  5. Good for you, breaking with tradition. Your mother had probably grown up with memories of scarcity, bless her. ‘Waste not, want not’ applied to most of her generation. Another well-written piece. I look forward to more.

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  6. Kathy, my mother’s parents had solid middle class values and my 100% Irish grandfather, whose parents came from County Roscommon and settled on Long Island, was such a great influence on my life when growing up to the point I think my father even became jealous. I remember one day coming home from school with my class pictures and my grandfather sat with me in the living room and told me he could pick out all of the Irish kids. He did guess right most of the time 🙂

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    1. I would have loved to know your grandfather. Sounds like a real character. The Irish are a fabulous and unique lot. I recently posted a link on FB about someone who sent a letter with no formal address to a town in Ireland with the simple notation “To your man with the glasses up in Belfast, doing the PHD” and the letter was actually delivered. Loved that!

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