Like most teenagers, I don’t look back on 2020 with fondness. Between remote school, missing my friends, and the cancellation of events, sports, and travel, my world went from a landscape to a snow globe overnight. Yet the time I was able to spend with my family is something I’ll never get back.
My mom is the best cook in the world. Oh yes, I’m absolutely biased, and thousands of kids will say the same about their moms, but she’s the best cook in the world for me because she is my world. I can tell if my mom cooked something just by taste- it’s distinctly flavorful, European, and delicious. My kitchen has always been the warmest and most welcoming place in my house since I can remember- a place for neighborhood kids who always happened to come knocking around dinner time, Disney song inspired dance battles playing out on the tiled floor, and many, many lobster races. I can’t name any of my friends who haven’t had my mom’s food- there’s always something that just came out of the oven, always an open dinner invitation, or her sending me back to college with fresh apple turnovers for my dorm.
What makes my mom’s food so special is its incredible ability to comfort. She can make even the fiercest meat lover fall spoon over bowl in love with vegetables through her soups. Every time I go to the dining hall and gladly help myself to squash, sweet potatoes, and spinach, I remember that my love of vegetables is all because she tricked me as a child into loving them through her soups. I have eaten leek potato soup on the hottest days of summer, dripping with sweat and the soup perpetually steaming, with joy (and pain) because her soups are like tears from heaven. It does more than warm you up; it’s soul food. It makes you feel good, because there’s good stuff in it, made by a very good woman.
My mom’s food saved our household during Covid in more than just giving us great soul food. It was during Covid that my parents started to create a plan to open a restaurant. Slow going at first, and it would take time for the ideas to sprout action- but a soup, no matter how good, always needs time to boil.