Feeding 30 people (or, an ode to my Mom)

A couple of weeks ago, I walked into my parents’ house on a Wednesday evening. My Mom was in the thick of Shabbat prep — she’d just finished up a plate of nockedli (Hungarian dumplings) and was moving on to kosher paella.

A typical sight

30 people were invited and my job was help with the seating arrangements.

Why was that my role?

Because I hate to cook. There’s not much to it — it’s just an activity that’s never interested me. What does interest me, however, is being fed and hosted.

If you love to eat, is it hypocritical to hate cooking? I’ve struggled with some guilt about that over the years and helping with other tasks has been my way of trying to compensate.

The dining room before

Let’s not kid ourselves, though: I’m doing nothing compared to her. Over the years, my Mom has spent an unfathomable amount of time nourishing her family and entertaining friends. All I’ve done is help with chairs and flowers.

The dining room after

When we decided to start on this project, I thought I’d have to hide my dislike for cooking. But then I figured there were other people in the same boat — people who hated cooking, but admired cooks in their lives, and cherished moments and memories those cooks had facilitated. So I decided to try and incorporate that perspective into the book.

Credit for smiles: THE FOOD

By writing this book, I just may convert to the cooking religion, too. The payoff, of course, will be the ability to create moments and memories for others the way my Mom has for us. So the odds are good.

3 responses

  1. your strength has always been to make the most mundane beautiful. I always said that you could put on a shmata throw some scarves on and you would look like you just walked out of Vogue. Although you might not like to cook, your contribution has always been the artistic flare-the table settings, centerpieces or the correct serving pieces. Hosting wonderful warm gatherings take more then one person. You have a talent that can’t be taught. I know how to cook, but certainly lack the artistic flare that makes a meal and the atmosphere memorable.
    Estelle

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