The Inspiration of Urbnspice Series
My little Mom is adorable!
I cannot quite recall when the name “Little Mom” started – it is definitely a term of endearment. It could be the fact that my wee mom is only 4 ft., 6 inches; having said that, she has a great presence despite her diminutive stature. The entire village adores my “Little Mom.” Strangers fall in love with her and family and friends are fiercely protective of her.
She has the patience of a Saint. This I can tell you from personal experience. I am one of her five daughters. There are so many stories I could tell you! We all have our unique personalities and eccentricities. I can assure you we presented some very interesting and exasperating challenges to our parents. Now that I have two daughters of my own, I often wondered while raising my girls how in the world my Mom did it with five! She handled each and every situation with patience and understanding. She was never too busy to listen to our worries, complaints, dreams and achievements or console us whenever we anguished over our love lives.
As a kid and a teenager, I spent a great deal of time standing by my Mom’s side watching her working at home whether it be cooking without recipes or sewing without patterns. She possessed a high energy level and gave the impression that she was tireless.
I was like most teenagers: self-absorbed, self-centered, and a little impatient with myself. When I decided to try my hand at making a pie, I thought it would be a cinch to make the pie dough. After all, Mom made it looks so easy. She would combine all the ingredients together into an old, beat-up, shallow, porcelain- coated metal bowl, and the resulting pie crusts were always wonderful. The instructions from my Mom were “put enough flour up to the certain chip in the old bowl, and shortening about the size of an egg, etc.” Easy, right? Absolutely – NOT! My first attempt at pie pastry can only be compared to a rubber ball. It did actually bounce! I am happy to say that I have come a long way in the world of pie pastry and can now confidently match my Mom’s. In this modern pastry chef world of precise weights and measurements, I still marvel at the simplicity of the process and the quality of product that my Mom always made in that old beat-up bowl. I would love that bowl now.
As you can only imagine, when there are five girls around, there were many “incidents” in the kitchen, like the time that one of my sisters decided to make a cake. Since her cooking experience up to that point was limited to scrambling eggs; that is exactly what she did when the cake mix called for eggs! Needless to say, the cake had an “interesting” texture. Mom took it all in stride and patiently provided constructive guidance.
She was not at all surprised when I left my job as Assistant to a Dean at a university in Alberta to return to school full time to study the Culinary Arts. She told me that I had always shown (even at an early age) a passion for food, how it was grown, how it was prepared, how it tasted, and how it was presented.
Our family had a large market garden which was my father’s pride and joy. I grew up helping him tend his garden. I experienced the taste of a freshly picked Ontario beefsteak tomato, and the crunch of a crisp fresh apple, and the musky smell of the cantaloupes ripening in the warm sun. Talk about the perfect stimulus to kick start the passion that I still enjoy today.
My Mom inspired me to become the person I am today. Mom recently turned 90 and although she has slowed her pace somewhat, she still enjoys cooking and sewing as much as she did when I was growing up. We often discuss our latest kitchen triumphs and experiments, foods we have both tried, or want to try.
I aspire to be as patient and generous with my time as she is with her time. My “Little Mom’s” abilities as a wonderful cook, mother, mentor and friend will continue to be my inspiration.
May 6th, 1927-2018
You Might Also Enjoy:
My Mom’s French Canadian Tourtiere
Apple Cream Pie – The Pie That Stole My Husband’s Heart
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Avril Morgan-Pare says
I really enjoy your website… I absolutely ADORE this article, the tourtiere recipe and story behind it!
Can’t wait to try it myself. As an aside, I’m your “cousin-in-law”, so there’s a special connection for me. I love cooking and experimenting in the kitchen…can’t wait to try this one!!
Denise Pare-Watson says
Thank you so very much, Avril for your kind words. This post – “Little Mom” and her famous tourtière is very close to my heart, as you can imagine. She was always my biggest inspiration in life. We spent a lot of time together in the kitchen and many of the recipes on the blog are inspired by her. Thank you for visiting Urbnspice – come back often! Say hello to Marc! 🙂