Preparing for disappointment

I love to cook.  I love to bake.  I like trying new things.  Sometimes they work.  Sometimes they fail but I try.  As time has gone on, my dishes are getter bigger and harder and I am proud of myself for accomplishing trickier dishes.  I put a lot of pressure on myself to make wonderful things.  There are times when it can be overwhelming because I put so much pressure on myself but I put my head down and just try my level best.

From me all this cooking has emerged these traditions, I never foresaw.  People come by when there are big food events like Thanksgiving and Christmas.  They ask me to make things and bring it over to them.  They come and they eat and for the most part they really like the food I have made.  Most times when I make something new I am afraid to try it because I am more critical on myself than anyone else so I wait until other people have tried it before I do.  Overall, most people seem to like what I make and that makes me happy.  Having my food appreciated gives me some sort of purpose, as ridiculous as it sounds.  I am quiet, I like solitude, and the kitchen gives me an escape.  When things bother me, I cook something and the more things bother me the more I make and then things just magically get better.  The kitchen is my happy place and me making things people like brings me joy.  It is a weird kind of happy.

There is an exception to all this though.  My mother.  My mother does not eat what I cook.  She will order food or make something else and eat that even if I have prepared a large Christmas or Thanksgiving meal, she will not eat any of it.  She will give a variety of reasons why she won’t eat it, but the bottom line is she just won’t eat it if I cook it.  It’s not as though this is a rule she applies to everyone, it not like she doesn’t eat from other people when she visits their home because she does.  In fact I remember this one time where she went over to my cousin’s house and her coming back talking about her good her lasagne was.  At that time I had been making lasagne for years and for years she refused to try it.  She said it was nothing she wanted to try but my cousin made it so she ate it and it was really good.  To this day, she still has not eaten my lasagne.

I find her refusing to even try the things I make mean and hurtful and after all these years I really should be used to it but I am not.  I can’t figure out why she won’t eat the things I make whether she doesn’t think I can cook well, whether she doesn’t want to encourage a useless pastime, or what.  Whatever the reason happens to be I can wager my first born my mother will not eat any of my spread at Christmas.  I am making a lot of food for Christmas.  I am looking forward to doing it.  I have it all planned out in my head and I am really excited.  I can’t wait for it all to come together.  All that being said, I know once all the food is laid out, my mother will not eat it.  She will say it is because she has already eaten, or she just wants salad or she isn’t feeling for anything I have made or she just doesn’t eat those types of things.  Whatever the reason, she will not be one of the people eating what I have made.  The kicker to all this is if someone comes out to her and says how much they like something I have made.  She will add to the praise even though she hasn’t ever tried any of it.  One time on Facebook someone said how yummy my food looked and she jumped all on over it, saying how good it looked too and it was making her mouth water.  The funny thing is if she was there, she wouldn’t have eaten it.  Her comments were just because someone else had said it first.

If you know me in real life you know my mother and I don’t have the best relationship.  Most times things are tense between us so getting praise from her is few and far between.  She will not go out of her way to say I am good at something unless someone says it first and then it depends on whether she respects the opinion of the person.  And even then there will be a criticism attached to the praise something like “it tastes good but it is too sweet” or “it tastes good but next time do something differently”.  And if there isn’t a criticism directly attached to it, she will just make the dish later in the week so I can see just how well she can make it.  I can’t win.  No matter what I make, it won’t be good enough for her to try.

Now that I have finally gotten all this off my chest, maybe this year will be different.  Maybe she will see how hard I work on the food and actually try some of the things I make.  You never know it could happen but I won’t be holding my breath.

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