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  • Eat, Darling, Eat

Good Cooker

(by M.T. Rose)

“Mommy, you’re a good cooker!” These are the earliest words I can remember, said with honest praise while watching my mother in the kitchen of our home in central Indiana, or selecting food during a two-hour grocery shopping adventure.

I use the word “adventure” loosely. We roamed the aisles. Thinking back, I’m rather impressed by my younger self, managing to stealthily generate unauthorized snacks and impulse-buy items during checkout. I can recall listening to my mom's muffled rants as we searched for the new location of a favorite item, with a small cheer when we found it. It seemed like a trophy hunt, and I chose to be excited about it.

Shopping was not, and is not, a fun activity for my mom. She raised me on her own, and hiring a babysitter was not an option—why pay someone when she could simply take me with her?

My mom has a certain chef-esque quality. She’s precise about ingredients and timing, based on years of experience cooking for her siblings when she was growing up. I do not have these qualities, at least not yet. When I was young, my chores included washing the dishes and putting them away—not a favorite activity, and possibly part of the reason I don’t have a lot of interest in cooking.

But my time in the kitchen has changed since I’m the mom myself now. My daughter enjoys preparing food and gets inspiration from several TV shows, especially one called “Nailed It,” which portrays something similar to my cooking efforts but in a reassuring and comical format. The shows let me think there’s hope for me still. I'm improving and becoming more enthusiastic in the kitchen. There’s fulfillment and bonding in our attempts to craft something new, in pursuing good nutrition despite our on-the-go world, and in the phone calls to my mom when I’m in a cooking frenzy.

Best of all is the nostalgia when I hear my daughter flatter my cooking skills with the same words I remember from childhood: “Mommy, you’re a good cooker.”

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M.T. Rose is a proud service member and self-published author who lives in Indiana. She can be found on Facebook.

Oven-Baked Salmon

coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil

fresh fillets of salmon

softened butter

lemon pepper

fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 450 F. Lightly coat aluminum foil with either coconut or extra virgin olive oil. Spread a light layer of butter on the salmon. Season with lemon pepper and freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Wrap in foil, skin side down, and bake for 6- 8 minutes.

Flip skin side up, remove skin, and continue baking for 6 – 8 minutes more, until cooked through.

Serve with more fresh lemon if desired.