Every Saturday in 2013 I’ll be sharing a post for the Mom Before Mom project. The goal is to tell the stories of life before motherhood, the stories which root the woman in every mother. So much of memory keeping is focused on capturing our children’s experience but what of our own? Who will capture the mother’s journey as a woman? Who will honor our journey if we don’t honor it first? Every week I’ll be answering a question, journaling my life stories. Read along or write along with the wonderful bloggers linking up every week.
Prompt #3: What was your favorite home cooked meal as a kid? Did you help make it? How did it make you feel? Share the scents and sights and flavors.
Does dessert count? It’ll have to because my mother’s rice pudding is the thing of legends. I would it eat all day long whenever she made it. I cannot in any real way convey to you how spectacular it is.
I never helped make it or any other dishes my mom prepared. She wasn’t very good at sharing her kitchen. And really, I didn’t quite have the attention span back then to stand by the stove for hours. Once she agreed to show me and let me help her make the rice pudding. I stood there asking her how much to put in, looking for measuring utensils. She looked at me bewildered and just started pouring in things without measuring.
She opened a can of condensed milk and poured it in. She opened another and eyeballed a bit more to put in. I spooned out the rest. She told me I could stand there and stir. After what seemed like forever, I asked her how long and she said until it’s done. Yeah, I left then.
She doesn’t really cook much anymore because her body doesn’t allow her to stand for long periods of time. Once in a blue moon, though, she still musters up the energy to make her famous rice pudding. It’s so dear and near to me that I’ve thought I need to learn how to make it before she dies. She’s not dying anytime soon (she’s not ill just older in age) but it’s a thought I’ve had for a long time. I feel some relief knowing my daughters have tasted the magic and are as enchanted by it as I am. So if I never perfect her recipe, then at least I’ll have loved ones to reminisce with about the flavors. Is it weird to think like that?
Sweet, smooth, cinnamon-y. Unlike most rice pudding, you barely notice the rice granules. They’re so plump and moist, they almost disappear. It tastes amazing steaming hot out of the pot, cold out of the fridge, tepid at room temperature, with cinnamon sprinkled on top, licked off a plate, in a mug, with a small spoon for lengthy enjoyment, with a large spoon for maximum flavor in short amounts of time. Any way you consume it, her rice pudding is the best thing in the world.
Today I’m sharing next month’s prompts. A nice variety of topics, I think. I’d love to know how you’re enjoying this little project. Does the writing come easy? Does remembering? Let me know in the comments!
2/2 How did you celebrate your birthday? Do you have a favorite celebration? Worst? From the cake to the presents to the guests, invite us in to the party.
2/9 Do you remember your first romantic thoughts? How old were you? Who was your first crush? It’s the month of love so fill us on how you created a concept, an idea of love and relationships.
2/16 What kind of car did your family drive? What played on the radio? Where did you sit? Take us on a road trip.
2/23 Walk us through your bedtime routine as a kid, a teen, a college kid. Anything you still do now? Did anything keep you up at night?