Mississippi girl, I am! Country girl, I am not! My husband, however, grew up as a country boy, and my amazing mother-in-law was the ultimate country cook. My style of cooking is best described as "quick and easy." Between my full-time teaching career and my busy little athletes' sports schedules, I have no choice but "quick and easy" if I want to feed my kids something other than McDonald's. And I'm proud of my cooking. I know lots of shortcuts and tricks to getting a "home-cooked" meal on the table in 30 minutes or less. Let me add that we do not eat frozen meals or boxed dinners. If that's your style, great! But all three of my boys (Dad, Big B, and Little B) like "mama's cooking," not something out of a box.
Where am I going with this? Well, last night, I got ambitious. I decided I wanted a country meal. All day, I craved fried pork chops, mashed potatoes and gravy, and butter beans. So when the rain cancelled our baseball games, I got busy cooking my southern meal. Now, I still used a few shortcuts...instant mashed potatoes, gravy mix in a little envelope, and yummy Margaret Holmes canned butter beans. However, there are no shortcuts to fried pork chops..none at all! I've only fried pork chops once, ever! So I don't know what made me think I could do this, but I tried anyway.
When I called the family to the dinner table, I was the first to take a bite of the pork chops. I chewed and chewed and chewed. They were over-cooked and really tough. I immediately told my boys, "You do not have to eat this. It won't hurt my feelings if you don't like them." Of course, my feelings were already hurt because I had set out to try something new and failed. My guys, however, insisted that the pork chops were just fine, and they ate them with no complaining. I let out a sigh of relief. Either they really did like the pork chops, or they were doing an excellent job trying not to damage my self-esteem! I got hugs and kisses and words of thanks following the meal. Apparently, my guys love me and appreciate me no matter what. Even when I feel like a big failure, I know that it's ultimately the effort that I make to nurture and care for them that matters most.
When my babies are grown, I doubt that they will remember the leather-like pork chops, but I hope they will remember that everything their Busy Mom did for them was done out of love!