Several times lately I've been thinking about how I cook so differently than my mother did - and yet she cooked quite differently than her mother. For example, my grandmother frequently made pies - she liked to make pies and she was good at it. My mother also makes pies, when she needs to. However, when we were growing up, she always used canned fillings for her pies. (When you're mom to 8+ kids, some things have to go - and it was the extra steps of peeling, coring and slicing the apples.) I remember the "spitting cherry" pies she made from nanking cherries - which are so tiny that they are the size of blueberries. You didn't serve it to company - but they were good pies. My sisters and I make pies on occasion as well - but we're far more likely to pick up a pie on sale at the grocery store. (When you work full-time something has to go - and it's making everything from scratch).
I made grilled cheese sandwiches the other day; layered the bread with the cheese inside, buttered the outside of the slices, and then fried them. I have to admit though, that when we were growing up - that's not how we made grilled cheese sandwiches. In fact, I don't think I had eaten grilled cheese sandwiches like that until I saw them at a restaurant once. We made open-faced grilled cheese sandwiches, in the oven under the grill. (Again, can you imagine how long it would take to make them in the frying pan, for up to 12 people!)
However, many of the things I do the same way my mother does. We don't eat out much - maybe once every couple of months. I know that is very different from the Canadian norm, but that is the way I grew up. I make homemade soup very frequently; and think canned soup is really to put into casseroles, not for eating. If I want really good bread or buns, I make it myself. All of that I learned from my mother.
Even though I don't do it all the time, I still don't feel like the table is set properly without a tablecloth or placemats, all the cutlery, glasses, and the main course in a serving dish (not the pot it was made in). I learned that from my mother.
Ruth and I were making salads this morning. We had missed doing it the past two weeks, and it was good to get back into the routine. That's another thing I learned from growing up in a large family. Things are much more fun, when done with someone else.
Thank you, mom, for the many things I have learned from you.