My mum grew up in a small farming community in eastern Ontario. Unlike most children of the 1950’s her childhood resembled the life of the pioneers. While the rest of the world was experiencing the wonders of cheese whiz and colour television my mum was bathing in a bucket. While a late night potty was no big deal in most homes, she was using a bed pan at night to avoid any risk of frost bite and bear attacks that might come with a night time trip to the outhouse.
Residing in a wooden farm house built by Scottish settlers, my grandparents raised nine children. With so many mouths to feed they depended on the land and plentiful harvests to put food on the table.
Meals in the Crain house comprised of vegetables from their garden, meat from their own turkeys, chickens and cattle, and my grandmother’s famous bread. All the meals were cooked on a wood oven which doubled as their main source of heat during the cold Canadian winters. A trip to the grocery store was rare as the only necessities they couldn’t produce on their own were coffee and sugar.
They did not own a television, nor did they have indoor plumbing. My mother often recalls the glorious day in 1959 her father installed an indoor bathroom. Having a flushable toilet and a bath tub made her feel like a princess.
My mum raised me with strong beliefs about food and culture. She always ensured I was involved, even as a child, with the meals she prepared. Some of my best memories revolve around our time spent together in the kitchen.
In the summer we would spend afternoons scouring the local farmers markets for fresh produce and local fare. I was taught the importance of eating locally and through this I grew an appreciation for seasonal foods. We also rarely ate at restaurants and today I am thankful that my mother instilled in me the tradition of home cooking.
To know my mum is to love her. She is a woman who radiates warmth and kindness. I am grateful everyday that she is my mum.
Happy mother’s day mum, you taught me everything I know.