Thursday, December 04, 2008

Like Momma Taught Me

Welcome to my blog, a public diary chronicling the joys and frustrations of writing for a living, and a few points of interest along my life's meandering journey.

I write inspirational stories about relationships that share wisdom and teach important moral and life lessons, stories in which the reader might find hope, guidance, rekindled affection and a reason to smile.

Please visit www.gregoryelang.com and click the red corner on the home page just beneath the “Projects” tab to learn more about what projects I may be working on.

Now on to today’s post~

This story did not make the last cut of Mom’s Little Angel, but I want to post it for you as a good example of what is in the final draft of the upcoming book (Feb. 2009):

Mother’s Recipe

Vanessa watched her pot attentively, wanting the olive oil to be hot but not smoking before adding the onion, green bell peppers and celery, the Creole Holy Trinity. When she dumped the vegetables in the pot they sizzled instantly and an aromatic vapor filled the room. As Vanessa stirred the mixture her thoughts turned to her mother, the chef and teacher who had taught her how to make Gumbo.

It was in the kitchen where Vanessa had learned to make the perfect roux, corn bread and biscuits, how long to let okra boil before it became slimy, when to take shrimp off the heat (as soon as they start to turn pink and not a whisper longer) and which vegetables were best in every season of the year.

Cooking was her mother’s favorite task, it was her love, and it had become Vanessa’s passion as well. She cherished the time she spent in the kitchen with her mother snapping green beans or whisking eggs for a meringue. Even scrubbing pots was fun; the task didn’t matter. Just being Mom’s Sous Chef put Vanessa on top of the world.

It was also in the kitchen where Vanessa learned that her mother preferred to prepare slow cooked meals. It gave them the chance to spend more time together than microwavable meals or stovetop hamburgers would afford. During all those long conversations they had while waiting for a stew to thicken or root vegetables to roast in the oven, Vanessa learned more than just her mom’s favorite recipes. She learned of her French and African ancestry, what it meant to be Creole, fear God and love him with all your heart at the same time, to put your family first and, last but not least, to believe in yourself.

Looking into the pot and seeing the onions had turned tender and translucent, Vanessa added garlic, a pinch of salt and gave the pepper mill a few good twists. Taste as you go, she remembered her mom’s words and dipped a spoon in to get a sample. Just right. And then she remembered the day when her mom had called her into the kitchen and announced it was time for the student to prepare a meal for the chef, but without assistance. Mom wanted Gumbo, the very recipe Vanessa followed from memory on this day.

The test came in the late spring of her senior year of high school amid making plans to leave home that summer to attend college. As Vanessa cooked with the occasional word of reassurance from mom, and once a little cough with a subtle shake of the head in disagreement about how much file’ powder to use, there was talk of independence, new experiences, temptations, and taking care not to lose your way. Mom put her spoon down when she spoke of the added responsibility that comes with adulthood, and gave Vanessa her blessing, saying she believed her daughter was prepared for them all.

It was in the kitchen were Vanessa learned the differences between living as a young girl under momma’s watchful eye, and going into the world as a young woman to build a life of her own. It was in the kitchen where mom had masterfully provided her daughter with more than a recipe for Gumbo, but also a recipe for living.


Well, I guess that’s enough for today. Thanks so much for visiting my blog. Now go out and hug somebody!

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