What could taste better than bacon? Nothing.
So, it amazed me that (upon reflection) I could not recall one time when I’d ever cooked it.
During a recent empty-nesting trip to the grocery store with my hubby, he picked up big package of bacon. I quizzically looked at him and asked, “What are you going to do with that?”
“Cook it,” he replied.
It was a real treat to have bacon made in our house. In the 18 years of raising our daughters, we’d never cooked bacon for them.
We had always just settle with eating someone else’s cooked bacon at an outside eatery.
COOKING BACON CAN GET SALTY
These two strips of bacon reminded me of how I don’t like to cook.
It’s not like my mother never tried to show me how to cook. In fact, she often asked me to join her in the kitchen as she cooked her Jamaican dishes. But I usually declined in favor of going outside to play football with the kids on my block.
I had interest in things other than cooking.
You can only imagine how I “froze” when, during her toddler years, my eldest twin daughter Candace began to show an interest in cooking food.
When Candace was in third grade, she expressed an interest in making a soufflé. I shuttered internally because I knew that I did not know how to do that.
I felt inadequate as a mom in that moment. I feared leading her incorrectly in pursuit of making a soufflé. I didn’t want to make any mistakes…and have her look at me disappointingly.
That disappointed look was what my mother would give me every time I’d declined her invitation into the kitchen to cook with her.
Funny how certain images can stick in your head and have nothing to do with who or what is in front of you.
Despite my efforts to push past “that image,” I mustered up enough courage to buy Candace the supplies that she’d need to make a soufflé.
CONNECTING WITH COOKING CAN MAKE THE BACON CRUMBLE.
I had a fear of messing up. And I didn’t want my young impressionable daughter to see me mess up in the kitchen. I didn’t think that would be meaningful to her.
That was very shortsighted of me.
I refocused my attention. I simply gave her instructions on how to use the various kitchen appliances that she had to use. I also focused on being encouraging and not critical (which my mom used to do with me about everything).
It was amazing to watch Candace be so…herself.
She was methodical, full of thought, curious and delighted at the process, patient in the waiting (while the soufflé cooked).
Candace was in her element.
As I watched, I realized that we were having a mother-daughter moment in the kitchen.
The memory of “the image” of my mother’s look, that had walled-up my mind (and heart) for so long, crumbled before me.
BONDING IN THE CRUMBLE TASTES GOOD
I was bonding with my daughter.
I was just bonding with her differently; in the context of what I was (internally) dealing with but pushing past. And that was okay.
So, when Candace took the soufflé out of the oven only to see that it was flat-as-a-pancake, she wasn’t upset.
She just looked at it, pursed her lips, tasted it and, smiling, said, “It tastes good. I just need to figure out what made it not rise.”
Then she looked at me as she offered me a piece of her soufflé. I tasted it and agreed with her; and I applauded her efforts and how she’d undertaken the process of cooking it.
Internally, I was thankful for the (new) experience I had with her. It was “new” to me because I’d learned from my daughter that it was okay to make mistakes. The important thing to remember is that:
- you can go through “the mistake” together and
- You can come out on the other side of it with new understanding of your daughter…and yourself.
SHE’S STILL BEGGING FOR BACUN
When I realized my daughter and I could go through mistakes together, the idea of hanging out with Candace “in her element” did not have to be an uncomfortable thing. Being my quiet child, she finds pleasure in “her space.” One of those “spaces” is in the realm of cooking.
And I discovered, especially as she entered her teen years, that she desired to have such time with me. I managed to carve out such time when I signed us up for a cooking class and her face lit up. It was a great day at Sur La Table.
Recently when she was home for her college winter break, I let her in to my process of “throwing a meal together.” I could see that she really wanted to spend time with me doing that in the kitchen. It turned out to be a lot of fun.
I’m so glad that I didn’t miss these opportunities.
Now, strips of bacon bring a smile to my face.
I’m able to cook and use them in tasty ways…as I think of my Candace.
Because everything taste better with bacon–including mothering.
By the way, did you know I’ve put together a FREE PDF download with 5 Tips on How to Encourage Your Tween Daughter called “Mothering With B.A.C.U.N.™“ ? I wrote it just for you. Click here to get it now!
© Dr. Michelle Deering