My Mom was a championship cook-yeah, I know what you are thinking, everyone believes their Mother is a great cook! Maybe so, but my Mom was in a different class.
she was one of those rare women who could literally manufacture a meal out of nothing. And she was quick in the kitchen too. My Mom would come home to a seemingly empty kitchen and pantry and in half an hour everyone would be eating! In my much younger days I was sure she hid some ingredients somewhere known only to her.
And she was funny too. she had different labels for different meals. For instance, there was there was the type of soup (gravy) she referred as “the leave me alone soup.” This was the type of soup with insufficient meat or fish. She said the soup boils angrily and sang “leave me alone, leave me alone” as it cooked! My Mom loved her proteins so she did not often cook the “leave me alone.”
But she would cook it when cash was low and the kids were hungry though she did not like it and I guess the humour helped to lessen the pain? shame? of cooking without a pot full of meat or fish.
Then there was the ‘white soup.’ She did not call it that though. I learnt that name much later in my adult years when I had left home. She called it the “poverty soup” because according to her, it is the soup for the poor who could not afford the array of ingredients necessary for a richer meal. She only cooked this meal a few times in my entire life but boy, did I enjoy it! I recall licking my fingers almost to the bone in enjoyment while she hissed at the ‘poor meal’ she had given us. I could not understand what she meant because I was sure it was the richest meal ever.
When I became old enough I begged her to let me have the recipe for the soup but she refused. I begged her to teach me but to no avail. She taught me everything else but not that one. She said she would never teach me because I would never need to cook the “poverty soup” for my family. No amount of reassurances that I enjoyed that soup would sway her; she was adamant. After a while I gave up. She was not going to change her mind, I would respect her wishes.
As an adult, I have tasted many a ‘white soup’ as it is considered a delicacy in many parts of the Country but I’m yet to taste any that comes close to my Mom’s version. Out of respect for Mama’s memory, I have refused to learn how to cook the white soup from any source, I have a version of it I make when I feel like it. It’s not quite like Mama’s but then, she’s not here to scold me is she?
Continue to rest dearest Mother…I miss you sore!