That's SO Jenn - Look mom, I made this / Jenn Press Arata
Published 12:15 pm, Tuesday, May 15, 2012
It's a privilege for me to be able to host generations of strong women in my home. As my mother, her mother, my dad's mother and my husband's mother gathered around our dining room table yesterday, I felt a sense of appreciation that they trusted me to make their day special. It's incredible to imagine at one time I was the baby of the bunch, and now I'm able to run the show. It's a mere form of payback for all the bottle feeding, story telling, family trips, bonding time and extra cookies each of them have given to me over the years. It's funny, but I had that feeling we've all experienced as children where we couldn't wait to show our mom a picture we painted or a new skill we learned. Even as an adult, I still find myself wanting to proudly share a dish I created and shout, "Look Mom, I made this!" I suppose, we're never too old for our mommy.
Mother's Day is the first holiday my husband and I hosted in our house two years ago. It was literally the first weekend we moved in, three weeks before our wedding day. I insisted on cooking a sit-down meal for 14 people, from scratch, before we had even unwrapped our recently gifted packages of silverware, platters and dishes. In addition to attending two parties for friends that weekend, and waiting for our cable to be installed, I made it a point to stash all boxes so our house could really shine for its first visitors. My parents have always shown me that if something is important and meaningful enough, we can find a way to make it work. To me, this was important.
I insisted on being a bride who did it all and balanced working full-time with house hunting, moving, decorating, wedding planning, working out, cooking, cleaning, unpacking, entertaining and being there for friends and family without batting a perfectly mascarad eyelash. I look back on that time with fond memories and a slight smirk at just how crazy my attempt not to be crazy really was. Nonetheless, I pulled it off. (Even if my parents had to bring a table for us to dine on since ours wasn't delivered yet!)
As impressive as all this may sound, this is really just what I know. Growing up, I've watched my parents host every single holiday, cooking all the food and barely letting others lift a finger. They put out a gourmet spread large enough to feed the town and do it all with grace and finesse. Best of all? They're a team about it.
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As a kid, I couldn't wait to be able to have my own home where I could do just these things. I dreamed of the times my husband and I would work together and serve our guests and laugh at the craziness later. On Saturday when my hubby and I returned from our trip to the fish market, he went outside to mow the lawn and I started preparing items in the kitchen. Mundane? To some, maybe. But in my mind, it hit me that I was exactly where I had always hoped to be.
So what if it takes me twice as long to wash dishes when using `the good plates' instead of disposable faux china? If I lose a bit of sleep over the weekend from cooking until all hours of the night, I'll catch up on it later. No brunch will ever compare to the many years of dedication my mother has given, and still gives, to me. She's selfless and caring and funny and kind, all wrapped up in a beautiful package. She's everything I always wanted to become.
So thanks, mom. Even though I'll never be able to give back all you've done, thanks for being worth every ounce of my time, and for always making me feel like I'm worth yours. Thanks for being the kind of woman who puts others before herself and welcomes everyone into her home with an effortless smile. After all, where do you think I learned it from?
That's SO Jenn: Confessions of a Foodie, is a food website that mirrors food to life through personal stories and anecdotes. It has step-by-step recipes with photos, restaurant reviews, chef and celebrity interviews, coverage of food-related events and party planning tips. Food Writer Jenn Press Arata also appears on regular cooking and party planning segments on CT Style WTNH News 8. Press Arata has been a writer and red carpet reporter for Life and Style Weekly Magazine, and worked in production on Food Network's Iron Chef America and Chopped.