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Raspberries, good for what ails you

Raspberries, good for what ails you

October 5, 2006

(I have a new post up over at my other blog continuing the discussion of picky eaters and focusing on food portion distortion)


I have never liked to cook.

I think in part it is because eating and dinner time was never enjoyable to me as a child. I have none of those warm fuzzy food related memories that I hear people talk about all the time. Like “Oh my mother’s home made apple pie.” or “Oh when I was a child we would always make___ for this holiday.” Unless you count the number of times I was served eggs which would cause me to dry heave at the dinner table as a warm and fuzzy memory.

My mother didn’t know how to cook. Nor did she own even a single cook book.

Her favorite thing to make was chicken thighs. Which might not have been all that bad I suppose, but she would arrive home from work and take the package out of the freezer. A huge amorphous frozen mass of chicken and stick it into the metal 9×11 baking pan. She would then sprinkle a butt-ton of Thyme on the top of it (a spice I have yet to use in my adult life). Into the oven it would go. The meal would be made complete by opening a can of peas and boiling them until they were no longer pea shaped. And maybe there would be some buttered noodles.

I was almost an adult when I realized that you could buy chicken that tasted good and didn’t have bones it.

Other than apples, I don’t recall fresh fruit in our house. Salads were iceberg lettuce with that orange French dressing on top. Vegetables came in cans with dusty tops. And baking of any kind happened once every few years for Christmas and was always a stressful, NOT AT ALL fun event. In fact I would try and stay as far away from the kitchen and my rolling pin wielding mother as possible.

Organic farm

So is it any surprise at all that this is yet another area in my parenting that I arrived at by learning from my mother what not to do.

Yesterday we went to a small organic farm near us to pick raspberries. I frequently go there to buy produce and they have fresh baked goods that make me want to cry because I can’t possibly eat them all and still fit into my house. Though I try. I try.

We came home and made pies. Or more accurately, they made the pies and I supervised.

You may call me Martha

And I contained my brain matter for most of the pie making extravaganza, until this.

Venting the pie  or the source of my eye twitch

Why must they poke the pie all willy nilly like that? Dear God why??? It was then that my eye began to twitch uncontrollably and I was forced to whisk the pies into the oven so that I didn’t have to gaze at their hideous disfigurement any longer.

When toddlers attack

Miles clearly won, though the pie put up a valiant effort, second only to the front of my pants.

Posted by Chris @ 11:09 pm  

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  1. Finelly says:

    Those rasberries look very yummy! I must have been deprived growing to my ripe old age of __, because I have never seen an orange rasberry. Hmph.

    I know you turned comments off on your ‘instruction manual’ post, but I just had to say that you are not alone. Your last paragraph…me too.

  2. CeCe says:

    I think you just nailed it for me! I think that the reason why I can’t cook is the same reason you can’t. I feel so..enlightened!

  3. Lilly says:

    Thanks! You’ve reminded me to go pick some of the wild blackberries around here before it’s too late. It’s sometimes painful to pick’em but the blackberry pies are worth it.

  4. owlhaven says:

    It was a good day for pie-making! Looks awesome!!

    Mary, mom to many

  5. Keryn says:

    Oh, wow–that pie looks SO good. And your boy looks even better–what a doll! Is he taken? I have an 18-month-old daughter…

  6. Julie says:

    I think it’s marvelous that not only will your kids grow up with memories of tasty pies but they’ll have the memories of helping Mom make them to go with it. Way to break the cycle. Oh, and thanks for the shapeless mass o’ peas image. Ew.

  7. Blaine says:

    Yummy and Happy together. A perfect combination. Good for you!!

  8. Chris says:

    OMG!! We must somehow be related. You just described MY MOTHER. Oh wait, she used garlic on everything. I like you learned all my parenting skills from my mother. On what NOT to do.
    You are too funny. Love your blog.

  9. sarah says:

    Erm…ditto? Everything I have learned as a parent has been to do the exact opposite of my mother. She added enormous quantities of wine to everything, including substituting it for water….which explains my gagging reflex every time I look at a bottle of wine and my nausea if I smell the stuff. I had a mild heart attack when my inlaws wanted to let the kids go mulberry picking…but the looks on their faces when they come home completely purple - just made my day…you’re fantastic, by the way.

  10. Novaks8 says:

    I always weep a little inside when I read your posts about your childhood.

    I want to go back 30 years and do something.

    It makes me want to be a better mother.


  11. eko says:

    Yep, weeping and smiling and chuckling when reading your posts…

    So cute - the poking picture! :-)

  12. briana says:

    My mom’s spice of choice was/is dill. To this day, if I put dill in something, my husband asks me after tasting it if it is a recipe from my mom. Ah, gotta love that dill…

  13. Maddy says:

    Bravo Miles.

    I love the look of that pie, hmmm I think I will have to pop our to the shop for some ingredients.

    Make your own wonderful, around the dinner table, memories with your family, and forget the one’s from the past, you have a beautiful family …. that you made all on your own.

  14. peepnroosmom says:

    Yummy, Pie!
    I bet they have so much fun “helping” you in the kitchen. I’m sure they will have fond memories of that.

  15. Brigitte says:

    It seems all we had as kids was canned peas (gag), congealed spaghetti with chunks of ham in it, and soggy Minute Rice with cooked hamburger stirred in . . . but it had the opposite effect on me. I learned to cook meals for the whole family at a pretty early age, and still like cooking (if not under too much pressure to do all the other things I’m slacking off on) in pure self-defense!

  16. Sara says:

    You are a brave, brave woman. The control freak in me makes cooking with my children an eye-twitching, cheek-biting experience. They have fun and I wind up with a dirty kitchen, a migraine and a sore mouth. I am trying to let go….*deep breathing*….so for braving the pie making extravaganza, I say good on ya!

  17. Wendy says:

    My mother’s idea of dinner was opening a box of Hamburger Helper. I havent touched the stuff since. It is a shame really, because my father is the cook in the family but he liked to cook weird food. Well, weird to a child. What child wants egg drop soup?

    I learned to cook after my first started table foods and I couldnt bare to watch her eat anything from a can or box. I started with the 30 minute meals and have moved up. I have way too many cookbooks and am currently adding crockpot books to the mix.

    My daughter asked me to bake an apple pie, which I have never done in my life. I dont really like pies. Well, we made one. Even though it didnt turn out all that great, I hope she has some warm fuzzy moments. At the very least, I have turned her off of pies.

  18. debby says:

    I think your mom and mine went to the same parenting/cooking school.

    I hope that the good that came out of it is that we are intentional about our parenting and have a guiding philosophy, even if it’s only “I’ll never do what was done to me”.

    Your kids’ faces show what a good mom you are.

  19. Jean says:

    Give yourself a pat on the back!! Letting your kids cook/bake with you has to be the hardest thing ever!! Now, I feel guilty. My seven year old keeps asking me, and I haven’t gotten around to it.

  20. Mir says:

    Mmmmmmmm pie… I’ll be right over! ;)

  21. Robbin says:

    I am often heard saying, “Good Job! Why don’t you go play while mommy fixes oops I mean finishes your project”. You are a cool mom. I have never picked a raspberry in my life.

  22. InterstellarLass says:

    That pie looks amazing! And it looks better on Miles’ face than it does in the pan!

  23. Darren McLikeshimself says:

    I’m with you. I was completely cheated out of the mom-who-bakes-cookies-and-other-good-things experience.

  24. D says:

    Your patience is clearly limitless… lord.

  25. Lori says:

    The smile on Miles’ face says it all! What a fun thing to do!

  26. madre-terra says:

    Fall raspberries…yum.
    You break that non-cooking cycle girl! I cook and even for me it can be hard to cook with the kids. They can be too slow…too unfocused….they just don’t do it the way I want them too. Yep…I can be a perfectionist too or maybe just a control freak but I lay my feelings aside hidden in the back closet…locked up tight so I don’t kill anyone in the process and cool with them and do art projects…don’t sew…no sewing.
    I loved your pictures!!

  27. Katie says:

    To this day I’m still not sure my mom knows how to boil water. My MIL took me under her wing several years ago, I think she was worried about her precious son starving. So I’ve learned cooking isn’t awful, you gotta eat after all.

  28. nabbalicious says:

    God, that pie looks so good. And I think you are a marvelous cook!

  29. momslo says:


  30. Beck's Mommy says:

    My father was a fan of pork chops. And we had them A LOT. To this day I cannot eat pork chops. I also don’t like to cook and avoid it as much as possible. But I do like baking. And those pies looked amazing!

  31. bluepaintred says:

    are those blueberries in there? i think its not really fair for you to post pictures of amazing looking food without recipies. Did you make the crust? Ive never tried making a crust.

  32. randomstuff says:

    I grew up in a baking and cooking home, I own several cook books, but some of my favorite receipes are the a little bit of this a little bit of that. One spice is never the answer. Once my sister and I got old enough we were each responsible for a night of cooking. It was a good way to learn.

    Those pies looked excellent by the way.

  33. Jenifer says:

    those pies looks so good

  34. Christina says:


  35. Jen says:

    Wow, those raspberries look amazing! Ours have been over for a month. I’ll be hitting CT on Monday - I hope I get the last of the raspberries! My son is a huge fan.

    On the subject of being fed foods as a kid - my stepmother was the most awful cook. She couldn’t. Her height of haute cuisine was mashed potatoes - from a packet. It was called Cadbury Smash. Vile wallpaper paste. I bought my sister a packet as a joke recently - she didn’t talk to me for a week.

  36. PunditMom says:

    I’m sorry your comments are turned off on your October 3 posting on friendship and loyalty. Between that and your description of your few exposures to fresh fruits and vegetables as a child, I am wondering if we were separated at birth!

    And those raspberries look amazing!

  37. Karin says:

    What a dollface that Miles is. You are truly blessed.

  38. kate says:

    You totally inspire me on what a cool mom I want to be. I will put my OCD on the back burner to do wonderful things like that with my kids. Oh of course when I have kids that is!

  39. Natalie says:

    I can so totally relate to you. My mom hated to cook. I don’t have fond memories of home cooked meals. And to this day cooking feels like a big chore and I hate thinking about what to make. Although, my husband really really likes to cook and he is rubbing off on me a little teeny weeny bit. =)

  40. Cathy C says:

    Poking the pie all “nilly willy” is the best. How did you/they get the crust to look so perfect like that?

  41. jody2ms says:

    Oh Yum!!! That looks fabulous!

    Will you make pies on our “trailer escape trip”???? Pretty please!

  42. liz says:

    Oh drool. Drool.

  43. Erika says:

    I can smell those pies all the way in CT… MMMMM Pie. (homer reference)

  44. Chris says:

    Oh how I want to come steal the berries!!! This summer I made a BUNCH of black raspberry jam. Tonight I pulled the last jar from the cabinet. So much for getting us through the winter…

  45. Heather says:

    The only thing my mother knew how to make that was semi edible that was a meat recipe, was meatloaf. But, dear lord in heaven that one meatloaf would end up making, meat loaf sandwiches, eggs and meat loaf. I swear I felt like all we ate was meat loaf! One day she decided to “kick it up a notch” and add rice to the mixture (??) well, I was totally embarassed when my friend and I bit into it and the rice wasnt cooked.

    Wow, those raspberries and blueberries look amazing! And blueberries in your yard! Lucky! :) The ones I have to choose from at the store are pretty sad looking and cost an arm & a leg.

  46. rachel says:

    gorgeous raspberries! And what lovely pies and Miles is adorable as always. It looks like a lovely day.

    I hope some of this cooking with your kiddos is healing for you.

    We just got an apple peeler-corer-slicer from my grandmother, so I can’t wait to run to the orchard to get a bunch of apples for pie. *twich* about the berries with my berry-allergic kiddo *twitch* and a little, ok LOT jealous of the yummy pie.

  47. cheeriobutt says:

    mmmmm. For not liking to cook you sure do a heck of a better job than I! You know while I was reading your memories of eating as a child I thought about how a parent can make something a good or bad memory just by the attitude and love they put into it. My husband ate the same way as you did but because his mom had love in her actions it was different for him. They are warm memories. I used to live on a ski resort and people would say I wish I was you, but all I could think was I wish that I lived in a small hick town on a farm with people that care about each other and have values and traditons instead of this place that has turned my family into strangers and my parents into irritable, busy, stressed out, and downright mean parents. I wanted quiet simplicity with love and I didn’t care about any fancy materialism. It only seemed to break our family up. I used to celebrate when the power went out because then my parents would actually talk to us and we would all laugh instaed of fight.
    Isn’t it funny how kids have the better perspective on what happiness is? It’s not the things we do but how we do it and the heart that’s put into it.

  48. Mom of all Seasons says:

    I also have no “every X we did Y memories” as my mother is not sentimental and did not see the point in traditions. I have, therefore, become a tradition wh*re (stealing most from my mother-in-law and from my best friend).

  49. Nancy says:

    These comments are making me laugh. My mother made Shake and Bake chicken most nights of the week with the occassional hamburger helper, frozen fish sticks or spaghetti dinner thrown in for “variety”. I was thinking about this recently and I asked her about it (concerned that maybe my memory was faulty) and she admitted we ate the shake and bake chicken all the time and she blamed my father and said that’s what he liked. She had five kids and I wondered why she didn’t at least try to expand the variety of dinners we ate. she was just never interested in cooking; she was much more interested in other things; she also hated to go grocery shopping. She was raised by two aunts who were wonderful cooks. When she did go shopping, she never hesitated to buy all the Hostess goodies and the sugar cereals. she is really not a gourmet type person at all. She thinks chinese food and mexican food are weird. when she visits my house nowadays, she’ll offer to make a nice dinner for everyone and every time, she makes “orange chicken” which is her special, fancy chicken dish. Ahhh!!!!

  50. Rebekah says:

    How fun! YOUR kids will have great memories!

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