Although my brother, sister and I are married now and have careers—I'm an elementary school teacher—we all live within a couple miles of Mom and Dad. We still get together on weekends and holidays to enjoy each other's company and Mom's meals. She lets us help, but she likes being chief chef.
Now that she is retired, Mom can spend more time cooking creatively. She loves making up recipes, adding a little of this and a little of that. We even play a game, where I taste her latest "invention" and try to guess what ingredients are in it.
Cooking has created an unbelievable bond between my mom and me. We watch cooking shows and read cookbooks together. The summer before I married Brad, Mom and I created a family cookbook with every dish we could remember her making. We printed several copies and even sold some.
My mom and I still laugh about the first time Brad came to our house for dinner. We were dating then, and he wasn't familiar with our Italian meals.
Brad dished up some of Mom's wonderful spaghetti and continued to eat until he was completely full. A good Italian mom is overjoyed when people go back for seconds…and thirds is even better. So Mom was beaming!
Unfortunately, Brad didn't realize spaghetti was just the first course. Once he had finished his spaghetti, Mom brought out the meat, vegetables, salad and bread. I'll never forget the look on his face! Still, he managed to sample every delicious dish.