Mothers Day this year was memorable, mainly due to Tom1’s gift. Tom1 is now 19 and in his second year of uni. He and I have an interesting dynamic in that we annoy the dickens out of each other but underneath it all we understand each other quite well and we’re close. He’s just not as easy to live with as the other three. (No doubt he’d say the same thing about me!)
Anyway, he was away working at his Dad’s fruit shop on Saturday and he rang me to say “Don’t cook tonight.”
I assumed he meant just don’t cook for him, which sometimes happens if he sees something at the shop that he has a fancy to have for dinner, so I thought nothing of it and went about my day. Towards the end of that afternoon we were at my parents’ place and I was wondering what I was going to make for dinner. I really didn’t feel like cooking, but I dragged myself home prepared to do the right thing and put something nourishing on the table for my brood.
Imagine my surprise when I walk into the kitchen to find Tom1 wielding a potato peeler, saying, “Get out! Get out!”
I’d misunderstood. He was cooking dinner for us all for my Mother’s Day present. This is unprecedented in all our time together. Ryan3 jumped in to help and I was banished. (But not very far…. Tom1 asked that I stay in earshot because they didn’t really know how to judge the timing.) I sat on the couch with my book and a red wine and listened to the mayhem.
Tom1 had gone to a great deal of effort. He went to the butcher’s next door to his father’s shop and bought a porterhouse steak for each of us ,(“They werre $6 each”), and asked the butcher how he should cook them. Armed with that knowledge (4.5 minutes each side, turn once) he went back to the fruit shop where his Dad SOLD him some Nicola potatoes (the best for mashing), 4 ears of corn and some carrots and beans.
Yeah. Don’t get me started on the SOLD thing. I found out during the course of that conversation that the things that Tom1 has been bringing back from the shop each week and keeping in his room for his own exclusive use were things he’d actually bought. Pasta, small tins of tuna, assorted nuts, lollies etc that he’d say, “These are MINE” and whick away to his room. For years I thought that Tony had given them to him and it’s been a source of a lot of headshaking and thoughts of “how selfish!”. Little did I know….
Anyway! Two of the corn ears turned out not to be good… one had a caterpillar in it which the chooks loved… so Tom1 decided to cut the remaining two ears in half. Much knife sharpening and whingeing about how hard it was. Then there was the debate about how many potatoes/when to start cooking each element/how much oil to put in the bottom of the fry pan so the steaks wouldn’t stick.
Tom1 was wearing a tshirt that he’s particularly fond of. I wandered into the kitchen to refill my wine glass to keep an eye on things and I suggested that he put on my apron to avoid being spattered by oil drops.
The first of the steaks went on. The sizzle was mouth-wateringly good. Then came the time to turn them. Every time Tom1 went near them the oil would spatter, sending him reeling backwards in horror. Tom1, almost 6 foot tall, dressed in a bright apron with a frog on the front of it, clutched a spatula and screamed, “Ryan3! I can’t do it! I can’t do it!!!”
I leaned in the doorway, thinking, ‘Yeah guys… it’s not as easy as it looks, is it?”
I had to consult on how to make the mashed potatoes, when to put the carrots and beans in the microwave… but when I sat down with that plate in front of me…. it was absolutely delicious. I’m not kidding; he did a great job.
It was lovely to eat this simple yet beautiful meal, looking up to see him anxiously sneaking glances at me to see my reaction. When he finished cooking his meal and sat down beside me, I leaned across, touched his back and said, “Great job, Tom1. Really lovely meal.”
All he did was grunt as though it didn’t matter much, but I saw the corners of his mouth lift slightly.