I can count myself among those lucky people who, as kids, could experience the sheer joy of home cooking. In fact, I was even more than lucky – I was spoilt for choice, largely thanks to my strategic placement between my mom and my grandma in terms of culinary services. We had houses next to one another, so I was floating around quite freely between our sprawling backyards, in search for adventure and play. As both my mother and my mother’s mother were housewives, looking after the domestic bliss, they were eager cooks. It would be difficult, if at all possible, to tell who had a greater talent and whose ideas for home-made dishes were more delicious, but I had the pleasure to draw tastes from both in large quantities.
In fact, I can vaguely remember a culinary competition of sorts between them. Usually, with occasional exceptions, it was good-natured, but my mom was actually doomed to lose against obviously sneaky practices of my grandma. While my mama was fully aware that I could not possibly live off sweets, cakes and desserts, no matter how hard I tried to impose this vision on her, my granny exhibited unlimited softness in this respect, bribing me with whatever I wanted to see cooked, baked or bought. My parents did their best to persuade me to eat at regular times and avoid filling up with some sugary snacks or sodas before the most important meals and my gran could override these restrictions with a single sweep of her hand.
My mum was often cross with her mother for letting me gobble up things which were not good for me, but she had some understanding for this doting role that grandparents are supposed to play. As I grew up, I stopped playing their love towards me for personal gains and developed a discipline of my own – sticking with the main meals of my mother and visiting my gran less and less often for a treat or two. In a way, I slowly drifted away from the unreal, do as you please world of my gran and sided with a wholesome, focused and forward-looking world of normal eating behaviors that my mum represented.
She has always been proud in her cooking skills, retelling anecdotes about how terrible her food used to be at the beginning, when she me my dad, and how she turned into a nearly gourmet chef, step by step, due to her own determination and passion. When I moved out to go to college miles away, her first question when we called each other would inevitably be about the quality of food I ate. If I was just snacking on pita bread or ordering a pizza delivery with a click of a mini mouse, cash and time-strapped, I would lie not to make her worry. If I was dining and wining like I never did at home, I would lie again not to see her jealous. Anyway, she remains my favorite cook by far when I visit home.