Most moms would tell you that cooking for their families isn't difficult, it's deciding what to cook that is the problem. I can't guess the correct lottery numbers but if I'm fixing spaghetti at home you can bet the school has served it at some point that week. Because of this, I am more than happy to oblige when my family makes a request.
Most recently, my 11-year-old asked me to make potato salad. Unlike most of his classmates, he likes it. I would not have made such a request when I was 11, but the kid wants what the kid wants. And besides, potato salad holds a special place in my heart.
Years ago, when we only lived two hours away from my parents, my husband and I were hosting a birthday party for our oldest son. My husband had his smoker going and the menu was set. My mom called to see if I needed them to pick up anything on their way to our house. We chatted for a bit before I casually mentioned that I hadn't started the potato salad yet. This was a disastrous turn of events in my mother's eyes. She yelled into the phone and at my dad, "James! We've got get down there! She hasn't started the potato salad yet!"
Her reaction was funny to me because between her career as a cake decorator and raising cattle and farming with my dad, my mother is not easily rattled. I've watched her set up a wedding cake the length of an eight-foot banquet table and not break a sweat. She did get a little nervous when my dad tried to teach me to run the tractor and disc, but we were all a little shaky that day. That was still pretty mild compared the outburst I had just heard.
When I hung up the phone, I started the potato salad. It was a little on the crunchy side but I blame the new and improved recipe that needed some more improvement. It was fine. No one was coming over just for the potato salad any way, but it sure did fire up my mom. Because of that, I smile whenever I make potato salad.