Today I made a huge, ambitious dinner on a regular old Monday night. There was pot roast, mashed potatoes and gravy, vegetables—the works. It was your typical Sunday dinner.
Except that it was not Sunday, and my big, amazing dinner wasn’t as amazing as my mom’s or my MIL’s Sunday dinners.
Notably, I didn’t make fluffy, warm rolls to round out the meal. Such a disappointment, I know, particularly when you’re looking for a vehicle for downing homemade raspberry jam with butter. Also, my roasts are never falling-apart-tender like those prepped by Shirley and Joyce. And my mashed potatoes have lumps, doggone it.
As we ate the meal that took a geologic age to prepare, I noticed these discrepancies. I wanted to call my mother and my husband’s mother and shower them with compliments about their perfect comfort-food cooking while begging them for tips on how to do it better.
After dinner I remembered something else about making a big meat-and-potatoes meal: it dirties every pot you own.
It makes me appreciate the generation of women who have gone before, whipping up flawless beef roast with mashed potatoes dinners for me and mine on many a Sunday evening. I honor their sacrifice because seriously, cooking like that takes stamina and know-how. I appreciate their skill in creating something that is reliably delicious (unlike my attempt). I admire their efforts in the worthwhile cause of bringing people together and filling them up with good food and good will.
So basically, while I suck at making traditional roast beef dinners with all the trimmings, I recognize that I come from a tradition of women who could whip out a meal like this in two shakes of a lamb’s tail.
I should feel shame, perhaps, but I mostly feel a kind of reverence for what my grandmas and my mothers can do.
I also will add (boast) that I do know how to bake yummy desserts. Dinner may not be perfect, but at least my family is being raised knowing that dessert involves real whipped cream. And homemade caramel sauce. And cake. Oft-times, cookies too.
But never pies, because I haven’t yet figured out pie pastry.