When I was first married, years ago in the late 70's I bought a roast to make a special dinner for my husband and his mother who was visiting us. I had never made a roast before and hadn't a sweet clue where to begin. Not wanting to show my ignorance to my mother-inlaw, I called my Aunt Joyce. No answer. Then I called my Aunt Julia luckily she answered. I was so relieved. She was such a great sport. She always took the time out of her life to help me. Holding the phone in one hand leaning up against the kitchen counter, I stood staring at the roast in the pan, tears sliding down my cheeks I said to her, “it’s embarrassing to be me! There is so much I don't know."
"Silly goose, she said, stop crying and listen to me, ok? You can do this it is so easy. There is absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about."
She went on to say that children who don’t have mothers naturally don’t have a lot of the usual information others who do are privy too. She said she wished she had known this sooner because she would have taught me more things in the kitchen before I got married. She explained the whole process of making a roast beef dinner. She asked me what I was going to serve with it and I was pleased to share that my aunt Joyce had taught me what foods go with what and how to time a meal to make it all come together. These things I understood. But the actual making of the meal, how to make something taste great, what spices to use and how long to cook something, that was an art I hadn't acquirred as yet. Then she relayed this story to me that I will share as well. Many have heard this as it is well know. Nevertheless I want to share it here. It will be obvious why later.
A young woman wants to make a roast for dinner and goes to put it in the pan…because she has watched her mother do this, she does it exactly the way she has always seen it done. She does it all from memory. She places the roast on the butcher block, slices off both ends placing each cut off piece beside the roast in the pan, sprinkles salt and pepper on it and puts it in the oven at 350 degrees to bake. Then she calls her mom.
“Mom, why do you cut off the ends of the roast and put them in beside it to cook every time you make roast beef?”
“ Hhmm”… says the mom, “ I don’t know, my mother always did that. I will call Grannie and ask her”. So the mom calls her mother.
Grannie says, ”well I don’t know sweetie. I did it because that is what my mother always did when she made roast. I will call your aunt, my sister and ask her since mama passed on and I can’t ask her”
So she calls her older sister who says…”mama cut the ends off the roast each Sunday because the only pan we had was too small for the piece of meat to fit in. She always tucked those end pieces in at the sides so it would all fit and there was no waste!!”The recipe passed along, done absolutely the same way so it would turn out “right” was passed on mother to
daughter, generation to generation. That is the kind of gift that I find myself wanting to give to my children and
coveting all the time when I see it in others lives.The ability to pass along something to another IS important.
It is all about roots, identity, feeling grounded and feeling a part of something bigger.