When Ya Comin’ Home? (excerpt)

Other than Michael’s potluck Tuesdays, the occasional sushi night, or the obligatory monthly takeout from Boston Market®, I cooked all of Mom’s meals—not a simple task. This woman whose taste buds retired years ago still had a particularly picky pallet. Whether it was the color or texture, I don’t know, but her comments could be brutal. She scolded Michael. “Not your soup again!” Or when serving a breakfast dish she hadn’t enjoyed in years, I asked, “Best French Toast ever?” She forced a smile, then shook her head, no. So, to avoid any more ego-crushing, I tried to keep things fresh and exciting. When whipping up my world-famous ratatouille, emphasizing “World-Famous” catapulted this healthy meal onto her favorites list. My homemade chicken soup and my special French Toast—whether she admitted it—also made the list. She loved spareribs, so I bought a grill to barbecue them year-round. Another blast from the past treat she enjoyed was corn on the cob. But for Mom and her loose dentures—she refused to let me secure—getting the corn off the cob proved too difficult, so I stripped those kernels off with a knife as my babysitter did so many years ago. Thank you, Mrs. Becker.