You would think that it was enough that I made soup and went to Chilebrown's on Saturday. Why stop there though? Because I made this dish as well before heading out for the pepper tasting.
I mean look at it. It has eggplant. And lamb. And because it has eggplant, I can tolerate the tomatoes. Of course, I did follow the recipe and use heirloom tomatoes.
This was also part of the care package for my mom. It's kind of funny. For many years, my mother would rarely eat my cooking. It would be, "I don't like that" or "I'm not in the mood for that." When she did eat my food, then often it was, "Why didn't you do this instead?" Because my mother is the first to tell you that she is a great cook; the rest of us are merely pretenders to the throne. And then she'd get mad because I frequently cooked food for my dad and my aunt, but not her. Why? Because they showed appreciation. Food can be a very personal, emotional thing for me.
In recent years there has been a shift in my mother's attitude toward my cooking. It seems to coincide with the point in time when she started telling me what apparently she had been telling others for years -- that she is proud of me.
My childhood was a painful time filled with, "You didn't try hard enough." Might explain a great deal about my body image issues. I have too many years of hearing others say that I was great only to have my mother tear me down. And in those earlier years, I often thought that I was great just to hear otherwise. So I learned to distrust my judgment as well as that of others. But food was a safe haven for me. No matter what she said, I knew that I cooked well. Now I sit here questioning why I wanted her approval so bad for all those years though.
Yes, I even ask this now that I have her approval. Now I bring her food and she calls me the next day to ask for the recipe. And I bring enough so that she can share with her neighbors, other retired folks. And they ask her why I don't do this for a living.
Yes, I have toyed with the idea. There. I said it. Cooking, just like re-reading The Tao of Pooh, helps me to rediscover my center. I am at peace in the kitchen. No TV, no computer. Not even a phone since I realized long ago that cellphone coverage is pretty sketchy in my kitchen. As a result, the majority of the time I do not bring my phone with me in the kitchen. They can leave messages. It is my time to create. And so why not take the plunge? Because I'm afraid that if I have to do it everyday, then I will grow to hate one of the things that I truly love in life. Besides I've had more than enough change for right now.