May 6, 2011

Love Letter to Smoosh

Some people collect stamps. Coins. Spoons. Automobiles. Things that are orange. Even small, porcelain cat figurines.

I collect moms.

Always have. It isn’t something that I consciously decided to do. It was just something that happened. I’d make a friend and in a matter of time, I had also bonded with his or her mother. And their mother’s friends. And so on.

I guess I am just a sucker for a squishy, marshmallow hug from a mom. Or the way they know how to fix the bow on your dress or clean the dried ketchup from your face with a little bit of magic mom spit. Which somehow is not gross at all.

And while you’d think in over 28 years (wait, am I 27 or 28? I actually can’t remember right now, I’ll have to ask my mom), that I would have collected enough maternal fairy godmothers. But I recently was blessed with two more moms to add to my growing list. My cup of moms seriously overfloweths. And yes, sketchy charming dude, they all look young and hot enough to be my much cuter sisters.

But if you’re wondering, okay now, which one is the real mom? The one that took my macaroni necklaces and boogers with equal love and revelry? Well don’t strain your eyes too much, because it isn’t really that hard to tell.

My mom (better known to me as Marcia or Smoosh) is the one that looks exactly like me. We are absolute carbon copies of each other. We talk the same. We giggle (and snort) the same. We joke and goof around the same. We share the hardship of similar autoimmune diseases. And we even wear the same clothes – or rather, I steal things from her closet and never give them back – which fit perfectly on us both, be it two feet shorter on me.

Smoosh is my absolute best friend in the world and everything about us is the same. Except for one thing: cooking.

While food excites me, Smoosh has to remind herself to eat lunch. I usually manage to eat two. While I find the kitchen and creating new dishes a relaxing, reinvigorating experience, Smoosh finds it intimidating and would rather cook her green beans in the microwave than figure out how to use a steamer. And while I search and scavenge to put as much flavor into my cooking as possible, Smoosh is perfectly content with a piece of chicken breast and a side of broccoli. With nothing on it. (See: cooking in microwave).

But that was then.

Turns out you can teach a Smoosh new tricks. And as my right hand super woman throughout these past, almost six months of endless cookbook cooking, she has transformed from a timid novice to a kitchen tornado.

She now dices, slices, and even knows what a turnip is. She cooks quickly and confidently and isn’t afraid to experiment. Or offer me advice on how to improve my recipes. How quickly things change. She is a cooking caterpillar that has blossomed into a fearless food innovator. And like all things mom related, she has some sage advice to share.

To inspire and encourage those who are new to the kitchen and new to low sodium cooking, I asked Smoosh to share some thoughts on the last six months. And as she has always done before, her talent quickly surpasses my own. I mean, I taught the women everything she knows about fashion. She used to wear monochromatic sweatsuits and now she shows up to my doctor appointments in jeggings, knee-high suede boots, and a sweater cape. And I’m the one in monochromotic sweats. With morning breath.

So to ring in this mother’s day weekend, please enjoy this little piece from my maternal angel, sous chef, and conjoined twin. And feel free to collect her for yourself. Her heart is big enough to pass around.

To all my moms, happy mother’s day.

And Smoosh, rock on.

Letter from Smoosh, timid cook extraordinaire:

Chef would not be a word used to describe me. I can cook, but it was never something I loved to do or found relaxing or fun. I did as little as possible in the kitchen. And when my darling daughter suggested that I be one of her recipe testers, I was not only aghast, but intimidated.

Me? Are you sure? She explained that I would be the perfect tester, because if I could follow the recipe and actually produce the desired dish, then she would be confident that just about anyone else could. (Note from Sodium Girl: I now realize how backhanded this comment was).

With that “empowering” sentiment, I decided to embrace my new title and job with enthusiasm. My first attempts went slowly, and I realized that I was not only unfamiliar with my kitchen, but unfamiliar with the grocery aisles. I realized I had to slow down, take my time reading the recipe, and learn to navigate the produce section. I felt like I was on a scavenger hunt, often resorting to seeking out the kindly clerk to guide me to my item.

After a few testing trials, I took my mentor’s advice and went to the nearest kitchen store and outfitted myself with a few new pans and improved utensils. I also found that hidden in my own kitchen drawers were never before used items such as a mandoline, a garlic press and a zester. I was on a great adventure and having fun.

I can now say some 20 recipes later (note from Sodium Girl: she’s being modest, it was more like a bajillion) that I love cooking. I am excited about each new recipe and can now even multi task my way through more than one recipe at a time. I love buying the fresh ingredients, assembling all the items on my kitchen counter and then making my way through a recipe, from the first chop to the final bite!

Magdalena CAbrera May 6, 2011 at 7:09 am

Dear SG, this is a beautiful tribute to your beautiful mom. I feel so blessed to be part of your life, our journey together and am grateful for the others who journey with us.

Emily May 6, 2011 at 7:22 am

What a great letter! And a great reminder that I should constantly let my equally awesome mom know how much she is loved!

Merrill May 6, 2011 at 7:48 am

What a lovely post! Thanks for sharing this Mother’s Day nugget.

jess May 6, 2011 at 8:30 am

Love this!

Cindy May 6, 2011 at 9:08 am

You guys are too cute!! What a great post 🙂 I second that timid cook feeling but have ALOT of fun making your recipes. XOXOXOXO

Kiko May 6, 2011 at 9:40 am

I plan to share this post with my own momma on Sunday– reading about your love for each other is a mother’s day gift in itself.

Smoosh, Jess probably hasn’t told you but we’re plotting a girls dinner date next time my mom (Anne) is in town from CT because we have a feeling you guys might just hit it off!

Happy momma’s day both of you.

Joann May 6, 2011 at 10:51 am

What a wonderful tribute to both of you! You’re a dream daughter and your mom is the BEST! I’ve said many times that in my next life I want to be her daughter…truly! It’s amazing that she’s so supportive, patient, kind, SMART, and fearless. But, honestly, the proof of her character and goodness as a mother is in her children. This level of blessing doesn’t come without a lot of love, hard work, determination and saintly patience. Your future as a parent is bright…you’ve learned from the best….and honored the love you’ve received from both of your parents.

BTW…I’ve been the recipient of her newly honed cooking skills…and…she is a very quick study…YUM! Good job, Jess!

thedailydish May 6, 2011 at 11:00 am

What a BEAUTIFUL tribute!

I love the wedding photos! And having a mother so dedicated to making this journey by your side – as your greatest fan and cheerleader!! That, SG, is truly priceless.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Barbara May 7, 2011 at 5:52 am

What a treasure you just gave your mom, and she to you. I would give anything to have had a relationship like this with my mom. I wish I had a daughter in addition to my 3 sons, to have a relationship with! But SG, you look nothing at all like your mom, lol! I can’t see it, anyway. I love Smoosh’s goregous hairdo! All the awesome women in the photo are so beautiful!

Samara Meir-Levi May 19, 2011 at 2:36 pm

Love, love, love the picture of you and your three moms!! All three of you look so beautiful and happy! I also loved your mom’s letter, her adorableness and sweetness totally comes through!

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