My mum would spend hours preparing lunch or dinner if she knew her children and/or grandchildren were coming to eat. If Sunday roast is at 4pm, she would start preparing at 10am, as soon as she got out of bed. The day before, she would have nagged my dad about getting last minute shopping that she had forgotten. My dad would sigh in exasperation, sometimes in bad temper.
And I, too, have not always shown her gratitude. I would point out to her that her food is not healthy. “Too much sugar!” I would denounce. “For years, I was hyperactive because of YOU, Ma!”
Or, “OMG!!! How much sugar is in this!”
I would parrot some research about the evil of her food to her – “Sugar is more addictive than cocaine, Ma!”
I did the same to my late mother-in-law, another woman with a big heart and zero ugliness. I would bitch about the cheap food she buys, in particular, the six sausages for £1. I won’t let my children eat those damn sausages.
My mum-in-law would bite back. “There’s nothing wrong with my son, and he grew up eating them sausages, not your fancy food!”
Despite not being rich financially, my in-laws, when they were alive, would have the biggest, raucous parties for the family. Often, tin food was involved. I would grimace.
But read this paragraph:
I had been invited to dine in the “perfect” homes of two sisters, eating perfectly prepared food, served oh, so properly in beautiful dining rooms. All very healthy too. Organic, cooked to perfection, with the best ingredients money can buy. The sisters knew all about healthy eating. Perfect, you would think. But in a blink of an eye, and behind my back too, they would say some of the most vicious, ugly things about me. What poison, concealed in their perfect food.
At the back of my heart there is always the memory of the sweetness of my Ma, she and her cakes and jams and imperfect food. I am sorry, Ma, for not seeing what real poison is.
Photo: just a simple cream tea in my mum’s backyard.