It was a delicacy we had only once, but my family still speaks of it decades later. Mom’s cauliflower goo was before its time. Today she could call it “cauliflower mash,” an ingenious carb substitute!
In my pre-FoodTV youth, overcooked (and/or canned) vegetables were the norm. My family hadn’t even tried Chinese take-out yet. But my Dad, brother, and I knew something was wrong with this cauliflower. While the florets on our plates looked in tact, they dissolved on contact with the butter knife.
“What’s up with this cauliflower,” we asked.
“I don’t know. It must be winter cauliflower,” Mom replied.
She’s still trying to live down that creative excuse.
Over the years, we’ve added other stories to the lore of Mom’s innovative cooking. She hates cooking. Cooking wasn’t going to get much attention.
Salads consisted of lettuce leaves barely cut or ripped, often too large to shove in your mouth. I haven’t eaten a salad made by my mother in almost twenty years, but I still call non-bite size pieces of lettuce “Mumsie lettuce,” an obnoxious yet amusing phrase coined by my Dad. Even my husband says it now, which really fries Mom’s ass. Once again, she was before her time. Today, countless restaurants cut iceberg into huge wedges, throw some blue cheese on top, and call it cuisine. Annoying, because if I wanted to have to cut my salad, I’d eat at Mom’s.
Mom can cook. I still remember her mac and cheese fondly. She makes good stuffing too. I look forward to her (green-frosted) orange cookies every Christmas (probably the only reason I avoided contracting scurvy as a picky child). No matter what the proliferation of cooking shows implies, we can’t all be accomplished chefs. I don’t like to cook either. The kitchen in our temporary rental house during high school probably still smells like the burned Rice-A-Roni I forgot I was making one afternoon. I took the saying about pots literally. Who can be bothered to watch a pot boil anyway?
Remove outer leaves and core from a head of cauliflower. Cut into florets.
Add 3 quarts of salted water to a saucepan and bring water to a boil. Add cauliflower florets to the boiling water.
Boil florets for 10-20 minutes or until cauliflower no longer has mass.
This week’s RemembeRED memoir prompt:
“Take me back…whether to a month ago or decades ago.
Share with me a special recipe, but don’t just list out ingredients.
Take me there…in 500 words or less.”