Nourishment, a tribute to my mother.
Hello it's Cory! I used to run my own blog about being a man who was not raised a vegan or vegetarian, but turned to veganism to help with my own health challenges. I wrote this piece 7 years ago for Mother's day. I wanted to share it again today.
It's not an easy time for a lot of you right now. This piece has always been special to me. I had no idea that I would one day be the owner of a food business. Reflecting on this piece today brings me comfort in the face of all that we have lost these last few weeks, as a small business, we are faced with how to move forward. We worked so hard to bring so many vegan comfort foods to our menu. We sadly will not be in a position to offer that menu for the foreseeable future. We can only offer Donuts and Coffee.
I hope you enjoy this piece, I hope that wherever you are, you are safe and with those you love.
First of all, HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!! To all the mother's out there.... Especially to mine. Yes even Ogre's have mother's.
It's late in the evening mother's day eve and I'm watching my wife carefully measure out flour for her fresh sourdough bread for tomorrows Ogerish, Vegan, Manly meal...
This brings to the surface the memory of warm rye bread baked lovingly by my Oma. At any given time, bread could be seen in her kitchen in all the various stages of creation. I can picture tea towels draped over proofing loaves awaiting their time in the her oven. As a 5 year old Ogre, me and my mother would wait for her to arrive early in the morning. We would watch and keep post at our nearest bus stop waiting for her to arrive. I don't really remember her face or what we would say to one another upon greeting, what I do recall now as an Old Ogre is the warmth of her hug and the love and kindness in her face each and every time.
As a little Ogre I would sit at the kitchen table watching my Mother and my Oma, busy themselves making perogies in our kitchen. I look back on those days and now understand what nourishment really means.
Think about Nourishment.... what does it mean to you? There are many forms of Nourishment. There is the obvious.... Food for your body. Then there are Emotional Nourishment's, Spiritual Nourishment's and the overall Nourishment's we receive from our everyday experiences.
Reflecting on those memories with these two most special and amazing ladies in the kitchen, I can't help but realize all the forms of Nourishment I was receiving. My little body was going to eat food, prepared in my home by women I love. I gathered in my mind, cherished memories of my Oma. I learned food tastes best when prepared in your own home with real ingredients. I felt included, loved, cherished and secure. There was no place safer than right there at the end of that table. I was never shewed away or told to go play... and the funny thing was.... there was no where else I wanted to be.
When my Oma passed away, my memories turn solely to my mother in the kitchen. I was blessed with a mom who cooked for us everyday. Our freezer was stocked with various meats and roasts, homemade perogies, vegetables and bread. Beside our freezer we kept our potato's and cabbage, canned goods, homemade jams and pickles. Hmmmmmmmmmm. Directly in our kitchen was a large glazed Crock with a wooden lid weighed down with a stone from the garden. My mother used this to prepare Sauerkraut.....
I think about all of this now and realize just how amazing and nurturing it all was.
A few years later, this Ogre hit a certain age. I was out in the world making my own money for the first time and getting my first "taste" as a consumer..... it was all..... Immediate gratification. No time to cook for this Ogre! It was all right there, quick and easy! Quantity over quality! I could drive thru to get it, use the phone to order it and throw all the packaging away... Look Ma' no chores!
As time ( by this I mean Years....) goes by, A thick fog clouds over every part of my life. I stopped feeling anything. I became numb to life and the world around me, sort of floating through, sort of like an addiction... My day to day life was consumed with mindless eating. From dawn to dusk. I never did figure out how to eat while sleeping though.....
I always looked forward to my mother's specialty.... Big family meals. Thanksgivings, Christmases, Easters, Confirmations, Summer BBQ's... you could really taste the care and love put into everything she made. If this Ogre could could take just one meal along with me forever... it would be her Christmas Eve Feast. Following my Father's Ukrainian heritage it is comprised of meatless, dairy fueled, rich, doughy deliciousness.... with a side of stuffed fish, cabbage rolls and a cornmeal souffle. The wife and I have managed to "veganize" this meal for ourselves and while it is truly delicious.... it's missing the ingredient all that other stuff has. Mom's loving hands....
Realizing I would no longer be eating these meals as a Vegan, I felt uneasy..... A bit sad. This Ogre loves his Mom, how could I tell her I would no longer be eating her delicious, love filled food?
I realized that Emotional Nourishment was to be the focus at these special times... more than food. When I was making these changes for the betterment of my health, I realized that Emotional Nourishment was key. Taking the emphasis off food at these gatherings has allowed me to experience family and friends for who they truly are.... People I love.
Today is a reflection on all the things Mother's do that make them Mother's. My Mother embraced these changes I have made. She adapted her foods at these gatherings, careful not to use dairy in there preparation, making bacon free cabbage rolls, even making special perogies for me. As her son, I loved that she was going out of her way to do this for me. What I came to realize is that the time spent in her kitchen as a little Ogre, has nourished me and prepared me to make my own food. I learned from her how to take my time and prepare food with love, how to follow a recipe and that this is the food that always tasted best. This Ogre lost his way for a time but is thankful in the Nourishment he received from his Mother to find his way back.
Mom, I Love you with all my heart and I thank you for all your support and love.... Even though I don't eat your food anymore.
photo: Dan Kern Photography