The Kind of Mother I Am


This coming Sunday (May 12) is Mother’s Day. I like to remind everyone I know because it makes me feel like I’m doing something for Mother’s Day. If you still have a mother, don’t forget to pay attention to her. I’ll be with two of my kids on Mother’s Day, but I don’t think they’ll pay any attention to me, ha. I make my kids do things like clean out the barn and shovel poop, so they probably think they’ve done enough for me already. My mother used to make me weed the flower gardens and I thought that was bad. I also had to do a lot of dusting, and my mother liked her knick-knacks. Everything’s relative, and since she never asked me to shovel poop, I thought dusting was a real hardship.

My three lil angels in 1997. That’s Weston on the left, then Morgan, and Ross on the right.
I try to be like my mother, but I’ll never be as good and sweet and kind as she was. I’m pretty sure she was always honest with us, too, except for maybe why she kept a bottle of sherry in the bottom cabinet. I don’t think that was just for cooking. Though she said so. I think that was so she could put up with us. Or put up with my dad. Or both.

I’m dishonest with my kids a lot–when it comes to food. My mother was never dishonest about food. If she wanted us to eat something, she just plopped it on the plate and we’d better eat it. Morgan was talking about cottage cheese the other day for some reason, and I described this side dish my mother often served with dinner. A pile of cottage cheese topped by a few sliced cling peaches. My parents seemed to adore this combination while we hated it. I ate a lot of cottage cheese and cling peaches when I was a child, but not since. Morgan was shocked, I tell you, shocked. I used the opportunity to tell her that she was extremely lucky that I didn’t serve that up to her. She said she would refuse to eat it. And honestly, I wouldn’t make her. I never force my kids to eat anything. Which is why I’m sometimes dishonest about food. It’s hard to hide the cottage cheese and cling peaches, but other things make easy hiding.

Back when we lived in the slanted little house, the kids wouldn’t drink the well water coming out of the tap. I’d buy bottled drinking water for them in two gallon dispensers. This could get pretty expensive. Eventually it occurred to me that when the jug was empty, I could just refill it from the tap–with well water. And they never noticed the difference…..

One day, after I’d been doing this for a couple of years, I forgot to refill the dispenser before the kids came home from school. And everybody was thirsty! No water to drink! They were in despair.

I said, “No problem, I’ll get you some more water where I always get it.”

I took the dispenser over to the sink and filled it up in front of their boggled eyes. I said, “This is where it comes from……”

Morgan, Ross, and Weston with my parents in 2008.
While this photo was being taken, Morgan was saying to Ross, “Your armpits smell.”

They never complained about the well water again, by the way, and started filling up their glasses at the sink. Saved me some fridge space, let me tell ya.

And whether it’s calling goat, lamb, or venison “beef” or pulverizing onions till they are unrecognizable in a dish or pouring farm fresh cow’s milk into a store-bought jug, my devious shenanigans continue as needed. I’m just that kind of mother. The kind you can’t trust!

But at least I never serve up cottage cheese and cling peaches. Because that, dear readers, would be too obvious and up front, and really, no fun at all.

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on May 9, 2013  

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  1. 5-9

    My grandmother used to love cottage cheese with peaches also.. I liked it OK, but not enough, I guess, to ever make it or myself. My grandmother was also a big fan of congealed salads.. Another thing i ate if offered, but never prepared…LOL!

  2. 5-9

    I love this post. Have a little cottage cheese and peaches Sunday in honor of your mom. 8)

  3. 5-9

    Cottage cheese and peaches! My mother made that too. Maybe it was a 60s thing? We also had a ring of pineapple with cottage cheese. I didn’t eat cottage cheese for a LONG time after I grew up. Happy Mother’s Day! I don’t have anyone left to wish that to in my life… but often send a card to my Aunts for Mother’s Day.

  4. 5-9

    And we always thought cottage cheese and peaches (with a gob of Miracle Whip on top) was a TREAT! :lol: ime Jell-O with shredded carrots and celery (and Miracle Whip on top), was another thing, how-some-ever.

  5. 5-9

    Argh. LIME Jell-O.

  6. 5-9

    I am a combination of both I suppose. My children weren’t actually made to eat everything on their plate, like it or not, but they were required to take at least a couple of bites. And sit at the table with proper manners while we ate. They could ask to be excused after a reasonable amount of time. Our youngest hated onions , peppers and mushroom on pizza so he took everything off of his and gave it to his brother. Soon he got lazy and just ate it. He also hated taco night. He now loves both those meals. He is 40 now. I never cooked different things for them but they could make a peanut butter sandwich later. However I did put a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in that 40 year old’s lunch box every day. He still loves them the best. I cringe when I see some families out and about now. It seems like the kids rule so there are no manners at mealtime and the whole family better like McDonalds because that’s what the kids want. I have a wonderful relationship with my kids but they will probably ignore me too. I never cared much for Mother’s Day. To me it just forced kids to be nice to their mother one day a year when they should be that way year around. I can see that you have a wonderful relationship with you children too, Suzanne.

  7. 5-9

    Cottage Cheese was served at home when I was going up but I didn’t like it and still don’t. My hubby likes it and I did make the kids try it when they were going up.

    I can relate to disguising things I have done it a lot. There are also somethings that you just don’t mess with. My kids still remember the time I told them that the liver patties were hamburger patties.

    Happy Mother’s Day everyone.

  8. 5-9

    Another “cottage-cheese-and” combo favorite: cottage cheese and luscious home grown, vine ripe and warm from the sun tomatoes.

  9. 5-9

    I was also good at disguising food. Liver became exotic “whale tail”.
    But I camouflaged a lot of things. Cottage cheese, when run through a blender with a little honey is a good ‘cream cheese’ substitute.
    The kids had to at least taste a couple of bites. I took care of a teenager (boy) one summer recently. Never had fruit or a veg in his life. hehehehe By summer’s end he loved them, and knew how to make grilled asparagus, chicken pot pie with vegetables, zucchini lasagna, grilled corn, strawberry shortcake, etc. We made it fun. He even learned how to make sushi (no raw fish involved). He learned to chop and slice vegetables in julienne strips for the sushi. Boy, were his parents surprised when they came back stateside and picked him up. He even helped me can Victoria Sauce (a rhubarb chutney) and baked zucchini bread which he froze and gave his parents.

  10. 5-9

    hahaha Your water idea was genius. I would have loved to see their faces!

    My mom over fed us cantaloupe. I’ve tried eating it since childhood, but it just tastes so awful to me. I don’t know if it was just a cheap fruit or if *she* really liked it.

    I only have one kid (son) who I have to be dishonest to about food. The other one loves anything I put in front of her!

  11. 5-9

    So funny! My mom would always serve cottage cheese with pineapple chunks – something I’m sure my kids would refuse :)


  12. 5-9

    Cottage cheese and fruit? *barf* You are supposed to put sliced green onions or chives in cottage cheese ;). I have to puree things for my daughter AND husband. I started using onion powder because I can use a lot to get the right flavour and they don’t complain about eating onions. I haven’t made stew in years because it HAS to have carrots and peas, and they won’t eat it if there is anything more than beef and potatoes in there. Fine then, I just won’t make it *harumph*.

  13. 5-9

    I love the picture from 1997- They grow up too fast.

    My mom ate the cottage cheese with peaches too- I think it was her ‘diet food’ I can’t stand the sight of cottage cheese……..ewwwwww

    I hope you have a fabulous Mother’s Day!

  14. 5-9

    Oh my, I just love cottage cheese and fruit. Pineapple and cottage cheese is the best! I am not so crazy about cottage cheese on its own and I don’t like it when it is too soupy.

  15. 5-9

    My Mother also served cottage cheese with cling peaches, but she made it all fancied up! She put a piece of iceberg lettuce under the mound of cottage cheese and peaches! Gourmet to the max. :sun:

  16. 5-9

    OMG! I can not wait to have my husband read this post AND the comments! He was sure that my family was the only family on the planet that ate cottage cheese and peaches. Plus, ours was on a bed of lettuce and was the main meal because it had vegetables, dairy and fruit! The only thing we never had to eat was liver, and that was only because my mother wouldn’t eat it either.

  17. 5-9

    I LOVE cottage cheese and fruit! We grew up eating it, too, and if I weren’t lactose-intolerant, I’d eat it all the time.

    I have to say, my mother isn’t a great cook (and she’d agree with me on that) and somehow got it into her head that you had to cook meat until it was like eating a shoe. I have a not-so-fond memory of sitting at the table for hours staring at a cold pork chop I wouldn’t eat. I plan to never eat a pork chop again if I can avoid it.

  18. 5-9

    Half a canned peach on a lettuce leaf topped with cottage cheese and a marachino cherry perched on it. Thought I was serving a fancy salad.
    My husband hates cottage cheese…I don’t really care for it…everyone of my kids like cottage cheese…go figure!
    I am not a big fan of a day my kids are semi forced to recognise me ….but I have been known to use the day to get out of cooking.

  19. 5-9

    The cottage cheese & canned peaches were my step-mother’s diet food. And when someone mentioned lettuce underneath I remembered that was a fancy salad in restaurants in the late 50s.

    And jello! – lime jello with cottage cheese stirred in, orange jello with shredded carrots, staples in the 1950s. It was a
    S.Dakota fad for sure, always at church events and picnics.

    Miracle Whip! Another locality fad, southern and plains states. We always had Miracle Whip and I still love it. A 1950s snack: Miracle Whip on white bread. To heck with mayo, yuck!

  20. 5-9

    We had to eat everything on our plates, whether we liked it or not. I have not-so-fond memories of sitting at the table for hours staring at cold liver. We were allowed to put as much ketchup on it as we wanted, but it still didn’t help.

  21. 5-9

    Miss Judy…how could I have forgotten the cherry? =o)

  22. 5-9

    Hate cottage cheese. LOVE this post!

  23. 5-9

    I Love cottage cheese! I like it with bar-b-que Fritos mixed in it.Also cottage cheese mixed with a can of crushed pineapple and a pkg of sugar free lime Jello, chilled.I did the lettuce leaf, cottage cheese, cling peach thing for many years.My youngest daughter is the only one of my three kids that likes cottage cheese.She gets a bowlful of it at Golden Corral.:) Hey, she also likes buttermilk and cornbread.Just like her mama.
    I’m sorry your beautiful mother isn’t here with you this Mothers Day.

  24. 5-9

    pkay…I assume a bunch of us are the same age–the cottage cheese and cling peach age! Lettuce leaf underneath. Sometimes canned pear halves for peaches! Once a while bottled french dressing poured over all. To this day I cannot deal with large curd cottage cheese. Sometimes I can tolerate small curd, but not often. Whipped cottage cheese (with some butter added) is palatable when mixed with caraway, dry mustard, and anchovies. Hmmm, cling peaches don’t sound so weird after all.

  25. 5-9

    My dad grew up in town, but they frequently drove down to the family farm to help out. Dad refused to drink the fresh, raw farm milk until Grandma started transferring it to a milk jug from town first. I think it was a couple of years before he found out.

  26. 5-9

    Peach and cottage cheese, was it in the school cafeteria that I remember having that? I love cottage cheese, as does my daughter but I need a ton of pepper on mine. I also remember a “salad” made with lettuce, half a pear, two mini marshmallows at the bottom for teeth, two almonds for ears and when you got done it was supposed to look like a rabbit. It didn’t. Maybe the rabbit’s behind…

  27. 5-9

    Growing up on a farm we didn’t have cottage cheese. If we did it would have been home made. But I do eat it now and my two girls are split on eating it.
    Does anyone remember candlestick salad? A “fabulous” salad that my Mom served at Christmas. A piece of lettuce, ring of pineapple, plop of Miracle Whip, half a banana standing up and a cherry on top. Festive. Looks interesting, but bananas make me gag. Thank goodness that by the time I came along Mom didn’t make me clean my plate.
    I miss her every day!!

  28. 5-9

    You do make me laugh!
    I was given ‘chicken’ as a child that was rabbit, I’m still not amused by that :no:

  29. 5-9

    One time when I was a kid, my grandmother served “chicken wings” for dinner. It wasn’t until later in the evening that she told us that we had actually eaten frog legs. We had no idea. LOL

  30. 5-9

    I think most Mother’s do that. Heck I do it to my husband. Ha Ha
    I have a clipping in my pantry that goes like this.

    To help a friend lose weight, I told her she should switch to lower-fat foods, including skim milk. When she said her family would only drink whole milk, I suggested that she keep their regular container and refil it with skim milk. This worked for quite a while, until her daughter asked one morning whether the milk was okay.

    “Sure, it’s fine,” my friend answered, fearing she had been found out. “Why do you ask?”

    The daughter explained, “Well, according to the expiration date, this milk expired six months ago!”

    I don’t remember where I found this, but I get a kick out of everytime I read it.

  31. 5-9

    Suzanne, that pic of your little angels is so beautiful. You are, and have been, I am sure, a wonderful mother. Look at how those little babies grew up into those wonderful grown children (they’re always children, no matter how old they are). I felt such wistfulness in this post. I tell you, I would have LOVED to be a kid growing up on your farm. When I was young I never had that direct connection to the earth that you do now, and that is so important and so lost in this world. I have tears in my eyes right now. Happy Mothers Day to you, my dear. You, and your family, are the best.

  32. 5-9

    I like cottage cheese with apple butter. Not sure about those peaches though!

  33. 5-9

    Cottage cheese and peaches is one of the official WV State Foods. It’s next to cornbread soaked in buttermilk and chicken gizzards. My 87 year old Aunt still loves these foods.

  34. 5-9

    Oh… by the way: we cant tell who the carpetbaggers are here by what they refuse to eat. :devil2:

  35. 5-10

    :happyflower: :happyflower: :happyflower:

    Love love love cottage cheese, especially with fresh from the garden home grown tomatoes. I didnt like it growing up, but after I married, my Husband ate it with fruit and tomatoes, I tried it, and I liked it. I normally have it in the fridge in the summer months.

  36. 5-10

    Oh gosh, I forgot about the iceberg lettuce leaf! That made it a REAL salad. Pears were substituted when Mom didn’t have a can of peaches in the fruit cellar. Even now, if I have cottage cheese and peaches, I’ll set that out with supper and my husband always remarks that he just loves it and why don’t we have it more often? :lol: This discussion has me thinking it’s time for a real Minnesota Lutheran supper: Cottage cheese with peaches and hotdish made with Cream of Whatever soup!

  37. 5-10

    My son went through a stage where he distrusted vegetables. He absolutely refused to eat them. He did love to eat lunch at school on Pizza Day though. One day he came home and said he was never eating pizza at school ever again. He discovered that they hid VEGETABLES underneath the cheese and sauce of the pizza. I think it was the dishonesty of making him eat vegetables and like them that offended him the most. Now he’s a big vegetable fan.

  38. 5-10

    A Mother does what she has to do and I think you are a wonderful Mother. Have a wonderful Mother’s Day tomorrow! :snoopy:

  39. 5-11

    With my mother it was: a lettuce leaf, a half canned pear, dallop of Miracle Whip and a bit of grated sharp cheese on top. I still like it. Also, we raised our own beef and chicken. For whatever reason, my brother and sister “knew” that the packages of chicken were from our own, raised meat chickens. Mom had to disguise the chicken in casseroles. Tbe beef, we told them, was sold and we “bought” beef from the butcher and that was why the packages had a stamp “NOT FOR SALE” on them…..we had bought that meat and it was not for sale to anyone else. [My sister and brother were quite naive]. At lease mom did not have to go to great lengths to disguise the beef. She was such a good cook.

  40. 5-12

    Just coming back to wish you HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!! I hope you’re having a great day!

  41. 5-12

    Happy Mother’s Day Suzanne, and everyone! :heart:

  42. 5-27

    Yes, we had that cottage cheese/fruit salad too–always on a lettuce leaf – sometimes a pear half (canned), peaches or pineapple slice–Oh yeah, my mom always put a maraschio cherry on top to dress it up!

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