On Friday, I had the urge to make popcorn. It did not involve throwing a paper bag lined with God-knows-what into the microwave, but instead: a heavy pot, a stove, oil and popcorn kernels. I shook the pan over the stove like a madwoman, to keep the oil from burning. Then pop! pop! poppoppoppoppoppoppoppop! until the pot was filled with the white fluffy food almost to overflowing. Dumping the hot popcorn into large bowls, I waited until the pot cooled a little before putting pats of butter in it to melt. I poured the butter over the popcorn, salted it, and served it to my girls as an afternoon snack.
Popcorn. Just the way my mom used to make popcorn for us. Freshly popped, heavy on the butter and salt, delicious.
It has been a long time since I last tasted my mother’s popcorn. We used to have popcorn every Sunday night. Mom had already made a big Sunday dinner for us to eat after church; Sunday evening was her time to relax, to not cook. If we wanted something else to eat, that was fine, but we had to fix it ourselves. I ate a lot of cheese sandwiches with my popcorn on Sunday nights.
It seems like my mom pops into my head a lot these days as I’m cooking meals for my family. On Halloween, I made her chili recipe in the crock pot. It was a great, warm meal to come home to after trick-or-treating in the cold weather. Tonight, I made homemade pizza just the way Mom taught me. Mom told me every now and then that she was tired of cooking for all six of us. She would complain about how she couldn’t think of anything to make for dinner. I would always compliment her cooking; I loved her meals. But now, as I struggle to make dinner for the family every night, I know how she felt.
I also know that even though she got tired of cooking dinner, she loved seeing the family come together at the dinner table. As I make her recipes and come up with my own recipes, I have wonderful memories of the meals she made.
Even of the meals that consisted of nothing but popcorn.