Saturday, March 9, 2013

The domestic arts

I am spending my day digging out from having way too much fun last weekend. I'm plowing through four loads of laundry, dishes, dirty countertops, an overflowing cat box. There are cloth diapers that need to be stuffed, meals that need to be planned. I'm soaking beans for tomorrow's soup. I make soup every Sunday. It solves two major issues: saving time and getting enough vegetables. I spent 6 years trying to kill myself with drugs now I'm worried about GMOs.
My mom was never much of a cook. I am not sure what happened. It seemed as if her generation truly bought into the notion that processed food was better. TV dinners, canned fruit we had it all. The microwave was my best friend as a teenager. My father was obtuse enough to want to make a few dishes from stratch. He would cook up the chicken carcass, have us snapping beans. He saved bacon fat in the refrigerator. This was his secret ingredient. He also made a signature meatloaf with wonderbread and ketchup but really the pressure cooker was his friend.
I suspect my mother had little in the way of home training when they met. My mom was not much for cleaning either. She would pour straight bleach all over the house a few times a year. She was compulsive about fluffing the carpet. There was a room we were not allowed to go in- the living room. She would monitor the footprints on the carpet. I called my parents house the museum of dysfunction . Everything was perfectly preserved each time we visited.
The last time I saw my mother, we had an argument. I was concerned because she had old expired food in her pantry and refrigerator. I started tossing things out. I went to the store. As I cooked her a healthy meal, one made of love and vegetable, she was trying to clean beside me as I cooked. Her obsessing over control, for order, made her feel safe. I disrupted the balance. I left in tears. This was the last time I saw my mother.

She called me later for the receipe for the food she refused to eat in my presence. She ate the meal over the course of a few days. She never mastered the domestic arts but she was perfect in many other ways. The perfect mother for me. A mother that loved, laughed, and forgave.

That same trip my mother extolled the virtue of this delicious cheese she had got for our dinner. My husband and I were famished after we got off the plane. I couldn't picture my mom visiting the cheese shop for a delicious chèvre or sharp cheddar but I know people changed over time. I changed. As she served the pasta, she unwrapped the individual slices of processed cheese. Delicious,! Gorgeous! As she would say. I chuckled to myself. She never mastered the domestic arts but she made me smile. My mother was a special lady.


  1. Kitties are perfect at the domestic arts - making homes special

    1. This is Smokey. He is actually a really mean cat that stalks and bites people. He makes his home everywhere, especially on top of me while I am sleeping

  2. I am the same! Every drug under the sun, deliberately trashing my body, obliterating my soul, and nowadays it's cloth nappies, veggies, meat, and clean makes no sense!

    The depths we sunk to, are the heights we fly up to, I suppose!

    Or our lifestyle is as incredibly manic depressive as we are inside!