Well Done

by Marilynn Halas on June 18th, 2012
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Anyone who has been a parent for even a few minutes knows that it can be a very humbling experience. For me, one of my most humbling moments happened a few years ago. I consider myself a good cook. I am by no means a chef, but no one leaves the table hungry and I am happy to report that I get more than my share of good reviews. Still, that doesn’t mean I have not been humbled.

I learned to cook with my mother. She was amazing. She could make anything and the best lesson she ever taught me was simply to try. She used to say that no recipe couldn’t be fixed, no matter what went wrong. I remember being so sad when a cake didn’t rise and she just smiled and said it would be perfect for trifle instead. As long as you weren’t intimidated, you could make just about anything.

Following her advice, I expanded my repertoire from Irish cooking to Italian, then French and Asian. I was delighted that I had such a great variety of menus and that my children could grow up with such cosmopolitan palettes. I even included a growing number of vegetarian dishes because I was settling into the realization that one of my children was a vegetarian.

No matter how wonderful the Sunday roast, my daughter was not interested. She ate a wide variety of everything else, but she wanted no part of beef. Other meat was tolerated, but hardly enjoyed with the gusto she reserved for pasta and vegetables. I was so delusional, I even congratulated myself for finding creative ways to get her protein. Then came the day that I was humbled.

I was out one afternoon and arrived home to the most wonderful sight. My husband had made a spectacular dinner and our kids were ravenous. As I sat down I realized that even the family vegetarian was devouring the roast beef! I was shocked, but I tried not to show it. Then I was shocked for a different reason.

As someone who spent a fair amount of time in Ireland, I had a healthy respect for the traditional roast. The tradition was to make sure it was well done. Whether that came about in the years before refrigeration or whether we have a genetic disposition to like it that way, meat in my family was prepared until it was cooked through.

So, there I was, awash in a sea of confusion. My child was never a vegetarian. She was busy getting seconds of medium roast beef and babbling on about how it was the best thing she ever tasted. She had never been a vegetarian,
she just didn’t like well done beef. Truth be told, most of my family doesn’t. How embarrassing. The poor kid was misunderstood for years.

I learned three great things that night. My daughter loves roast beef, my husband discovered just how she likes it and even when you think you know something for sure, it is always good to keep an open mind. Who knows? You just might learn something. We spend so much time guiding our children, how wonderful it is when we get to discover who they already are.

In the meantime, I hope you keep your face to the sun, so all the shadows and embarrassing moments will fall behind.


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