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!