Cooking Reminds Me of Cherished Time With My Mother

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by Alexus Jones |

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My grandmother and my mom taught me how to cook. Growing up, I would make apple pies with my grandmother for the holidays, and I learned fractions by doing recipes with my mother. It amazes me how much of our lives is centered around what essentially is our fuel. 

While I liked cooking with my mom, I was never very passionate about it. I always tried to make a week’s worth of food so that I only had to cook once. However, the circumstances we find ourselves in now have allowed me to improve my cooking ability and to try making new things. I’m probably proudest of the filet mignon I made that was perfectly medium-rare. (Actually, it isn’t that hard, but it saved so much money compared with going out.) 

I’ve also been able to share with my boyfriend recipes for the food I grew up eating. Each brings me a memory of standing in the kitchen with my mom. The first time my boyfriend and I made stuffed peppers was especially fun, because he thought we would eat them like an apple.

I’ve also learned how to make some of his favorite foods, including arroz con gandules and various pork dishes from his native Puerto Rico

However, I still can’t make some things quite right without my mom’s help. For example, every time I try to make pepper steak, the sauce is always too runny. With other recipes, I’m sure I could figure out how to make them but it would be wrong to do it without my mom.

My parents don’t cook much anymore, and they say they stopped being adults when I left the house. When I go home, I throw out all of the expired food and pick the dishes to make. Something I’m terrified of with Huntington’s disease is that the day will come when that’s not an option.

With Huntington’s, the lack of motor control often leads to difficulties swallowing. When I was younger, my mother used to make my grandfather huge pans of sweet potatoes with marshmallow fluff. (My mom still can’t stand that dish.) He couldn’t eat well and needed to gain weight.

I also remember transitioning to feeding him through a tube. The idea of that happening to my mom and losing my chance to cook with her is heartbreaking. For now, I’m just trying to make the best of every chance I get.


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