Gosh, I have to say; lately I’ve missed my mom. I’m sure a few of you feel the very same way, eager for some motherly tenderness. In my case, it’s a bit difficult for my mom to make me some nostalgic favorites, so it was up to me to make my own motherly meal.
I couldn’t decide what I wanted to make myself--what could remind me of those lazy childhood nights playing Pokémon on my Gameboy? I started to realize that most of those memories were slipping right out from under me. I couldn’t remember what she made, just that she could take the blue box of macaroni and cheese and make it into the pure cheesy gold.
Well, yeah, she did make mac and cheese, which would be a pretty good side for dinner. What about protein though? Moms do not forget about their son’s nutrients as a growing boy. My mother would probably put an IV in me if I refused to eat a meal, which I never did.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but my mom wouldn’t consider herself a fancy woman. Her cooking skills are that of a middle aged woman scrambling to put food on the table after working a full day, not that of a classically trained chef. That’s not to say she was careless, just exhausted.
Ground beef was a cheap staple, and Hamburger Helper helped her make it more interesting to her ravenous children. Though I’m not sure I’d still want to eat Hamburger Helper, it served a purpose and that purpose is through.
So what could I make with ground beef? Hamburgers, chili, meatballs, meat loaf… Meatloaf? Oh goodness yes. That delicious brick of beef mixed with breadcrumbs and love. Meatloaf was the pinnacle of my childhood culinary experience; sometimes I was even allowed to mix it up with my clumsy little kid hands.
With the idea in mind, I drove to the store, picked up the ingredients, and with my girlfriend doing homework; I called up my mother and started to put my childhood memories into real time. It was just like she was standing there with me, in my tiny kitchen in my tiny college house. We bickered in good humor, she teased me, and we talked about a little bit of everything.
It was almost like the real thing, a close enough replica that I felt the real motherly tenderness through the phone. I was a slightly drunk, grown man making a nostalgic, childhood meal yelling jokes at his phone mixing the meatloaf with his formerly clumsy little kid hands. I’m okay with that, because for a few seconds she wasn’t a thousand miles away - she was right.