Posted by: Judy | July 8, 2015


Wow. Yesterday, I read TR’s post.

I was nodding as I read along. Yep, I recognized so many things.

Family dinners used to be mostly about “Can you top this?” It’s changing.

And then I read this: “I find myself back at home with my mother.  A woman who stole what I enjoyed. It maybe wasn’t her intention or motivation, it was the behaviors that chiseled at my sense of self.  Everything from friendships to accomplishments she ‘stole’ with her words of disdain or worse, her outward interference in controlling (and sabotaging) what I did and who I did it with.”

For as long as I can remember NM emphatically stated that she doesn’t enjoy cooking. It was a chore. This is the person who if I liked something she made, she would change the recipe until I didn’t like it.

I was the child that wanted an Easy-Bake Oven and used it. I wasn’t allowed to replenish the baking kits. I was told that it was too expensive. If I wanted to cook, then I could make it for the whole family. However, when I did, then I was scolded for using stuff planned for other meals.

I took every cooking class offered in middle school and high school. I took gourmet cooking in college. I went to cooking demonstrations. I wanted to go to culinary school but was told that only men can make money as chefs. Pay no attention to Julia Childs; she was an exception to the rule. I hadn’t learned yet that “Only men can make money at that” was the go to line in an effort to control me.

For a short time, I cooked meals for the whole family. It wasn’t long before NM declared my cooking unhealthy and wouldn’t allow me to make dinner any more. I could cook for myself but no one else. As the years have passed, my time in the kitchen has been so severely curtailed I’ve reached the point where I eat sandwiches and preprepared meals. NM will swear she gives me time. The mess and interference by both her and EF simply isn’t worth the headache. I was going to say that the only sure time was the time they’re gone, but even then NM will have stuff in the oven, stuff on the stovetop, or something else. I’m tired of fighting the insanity and am simply making it as simple as possible for me.

NM now tells everyone that she needs the kitchen all day because she’s making everything from scratch. She cooks stuff overnight and in the middle of the afternoon, in the summer. I can’t tell you how many times I was dragged over the coals for using the oven during the summer.

Reading TR’s blog clarified the insanity.

Copied, tit for tat, and you can’t.

Someday, I’ll have a beautiful culinary kitchen, and I’ll enjoy cooking every day. Dreams aren’t dead.


  1. Oh man, Judy, sometimes our mother’s are so alike it’s creepy. Much of what you wrote about cooking was my experience also (I never was allowed to have the Easy Bake Oven — it must’ve been worse for you to have it and be unable to use it as your wished because of your mother). Thankfully my mother never changed recipes to make us like them less (wow is that awful), but she always complained about cooking. Once my husband and I were visiting, and he made his amazing bolonese sauce and somehow the high heat on the stove burned a pot shape around the burner. The look on my mother’s face upon seeing it actually unnerved my husband — it was his first instance of seeing how completely wacko my mother is. He actually apologized to me and said, “I should’ve known you weren’t exaggerating because you don’t exaggerate about other things. I just thought what you said about her couldn’t possibly be true.”

    I really enjoy cooking and food, and I often feel some of the deprivation about it growing up is part of why it remains so interesting to me.

    I’m sorry your mother continues to make it an issue for you. That post of TR’s really struck a chord for me as well.

    • I can imagine the look on your mother’s face. Sad how they can’t appreciate the time and effort other’s put in to care for them.

      It’s quite something when someone else finally sees behind the mask.

  2. I read somewhere that food is commonly controlled in all types of dysfunctional families. Your mother seemed to want to eliminate competition so she could shine at something you are good at? Like those stories of people injuring or kidnapping or killing off the competition. In her own mind, anyway, she is a superstar.

    • I think you’re right. Sad. There isn’t enough room, in their mind, for others… I was going to qualify ‘for others to shine,’ but it really is simply ‘no room for others.’

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