Our mother was no stranger to spicing things up. She fancied herself quite the gourmand. She loved to eat, but did so without an audience. Thus the term sneak eater would define her style.
She also loved spicy food. If a little cayenne was in the recipe, she would add three times the amount. Abby and I aren’t sure if this was to coverup the original taste or if she was trying to keep it all for herself, as we would find it too much for our palates.
One of her favorite meals to make was chili. She added all kinds of things to her concoction and by the time it was ready to be served, it was so filled with numerous spices that it was almost unrecognizable as chili. Mother was fortunate to finally land husband number three, as his palate had been so warped by all the alcohol he consumed that we called him the man with the iron stomach. Not only could he consume her meals, he actually relished them!
As we got older and realized that food was not supposed to be cooked to death, nor was cayenne and garlic to be added liberally to every dish, Abby and I learned the daintier touch to adding spice to your dishes. We knew Mother had a heavy hand when she would use switches to hit our bare legs – mainly mine. We also learned that if a little was good and tasty then there was no need to empty the contents of the container into the dish.
Mother once again was living proof that the old adage
Moderation in all things
was a better way to lead your life.
She, however, never learned that lesson herself!