I’m A Mother – And A Bully In The Kitchen

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Fast forward to cooking for my children. When our eldest with born with a laundry list of food allergies, including milk and dairy products, eggs, nuts, peanuts, certain legumes and fish, my Kitchen Bitch tactics sped into overdrive. Not only did I begin to read nutrition and ingredient labels with German-like precision, I was also supremely intolerant of anyone who appeared to mess with my kitchen-flow. I also cooked anything that could be cooked. From scratch. Never in my life had I chopped, sliced, rinsed, minced, stirred, broiled and sautéed as much as I did back then. And if I may say, the food was delicious.

After that, I really didn’t “trust” anyone to cook, other than my mother, or women or men whose food I had previously enjoyed. And whose kitchen habits I considered to be above reproach. Clean kitchen habits are a must. Don’t get me started.

My husband and I and our girls were once invited to a birthday celebration at the home of a semi-famous Canadian couple who had prepared some food for their guests. When I went into the kitchen to hang out — which, as everyone knows, is where the cool kids congregate — I was taken aback by the unpleasant sour odor emanating from the sink environs. I actually plugged my nose! Casually glancing around, my eyes stopped on filthiest sink and surrounding surface area I had ever seen. My eyes stood transfixed on a decaying piece of bacteria-filled sponge stuffed into one of those open-mouthed sponge caddies that had clearly seen better days. Paralyzed, I subsequently dry-heaved, grabbed a glass of wine — Pinot, of course — and backed away from the kitchen. And then I stared at the dining table laden with food.

A second set of alarm bells went off in my head. My first instinct told me to steer clear of the food. Why? Because if food isn’t prepped in a clean environment, chances are the food is unclean. Chances are the person who prepared the food is unclean, and chances are cross-contamination is only the beginning of my problems. I rationalized that okay, I’ll just drink. More Pinot, of course. And then I panicked realizing that my girls will surely want to eat something! They did, of course, so I plied them with juice, which thankfully came in boxes, but I was saved from having to offend our hosts by spotting various dishes on the table that contained milk-ingredients. Phew! I should mention, I never expect my hosts to prepare separate special food items for my girls (on this occasion, I wasn’t asked), so I reached into our bag of goodies and promised that we would go out for vegetarian sushi later.

As for the moral of the story, well, there is none, except this: Recognizing and acknowledging one’s problems is generally the first step towards redemption. Doing something about it follows a close second, and third, and most important, it’s never too late to apologize or make amends. You’re welcome.

(Photo: Design Pics/Ron Nickel)

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