Mom’s ‘work’ never done
There’s been a lot of debate recently on if being a mother can be categorized as work.
Work is defined as “exertion or effort directed to produce or accomplish something; labor; toil.”
We’re all reasonable people here. Let us agree that, on its most base level, being a mother is work. Even in snakes, turtles and other critters whose young must immediately fend for themselves, Ma Snake and Ma Turtle went through some sort of exertion or effort and accomplished a baby snake and a baby turtle.
Humans and other mammals, who tend to care for their young a bit longer, can expand that exertion or effort out many years and their accomplishments, as related to mothering, can be counted as many.
There’s the first smile. The first steps. The first food.
Food is a powerful thing, particularly in terms of association. I can’t tell you how many arguments I’ve heard about “my mother’s potato salad” or “Mom’s cookies” that were really Blue Plate mayonnaise’s potato salad or Nestlé’s cookies.
It’s a difficult fight to have; I’d argue that the memories are more important than true ownership of the recipe, but Blue Plate’s and Nestlé’s lawyers might take offense. Or maybe not. Maybe they know not to mess with anything starting with any variation of “my mother’s.”
My mother is known for her bread. She had a basic yeast bread recipe and kneaded it into wonderful things: rolls, braided loaves for church, cinnamon rolls for cold mornings, stuffed with cheese and meat. Unfortunately, her recipe, like many other mama recipes, started out with “take some flour.”
She worked by feel, like many great yeast bread bakers do. And, like most mama recipes, it evolved from a bag of Pillsbury flour. It took me years and countless little dead yeast fungi (yes, they’re technically fungi) to even get close to her recipe.
Now, I make it often, working by feel. Ainsley, my daughter, watches and gets her own little ball to knead.
Beth Colvin is The Advocate’s assistant Food editor. She can be reached at email@example.com