I had a great, serendipitous moment last weekend when I was perusing Parade Magazine and stumbled upon one of my mom’s pet peeves. I happened to see Marilyn Vos Savant’s column (http://bit.ly/RgC8WI) and the question, “My friend and I disagree about whether it’s okay to use fabric shears to cut wrapping paper…Can you settle this for us?” I recalled (fondly now since my annoyance over these admonishments has diminished over time) the reprimand my mom would give if she thought we were using the “kitchen scissors” for fabric or the “fabric scissors” for paper, etc. Ms. Vos Savant explains the actual scientific reason for making sure that the fabric scissors’ blade does not get dulled by cutting paper. I actually never doubted my mom’s scissor-use guideline and have always tried to use scissors for their published purpose. In fact, if you have read many of my blog posts, you would know that I often feel my mom’s presence in my life because I follow many of her lessons.
This little tip sparked a reminiscence of more good tips from my mom:
First, one that my family notices and questions – using your wrist not your hand to check someone’s forehead for fever. Every time my husband uses his hand to check for warmth, I actually recoil, thinking about my mom’s method. And, I just googled this to find that Yahoo Answers! agrees with her (http://yhoo.it/WHFsJC ) — not that I doubted her, I just wanted a second opinion.
Second and more controversial: Drinking warm liquids to stay cool in the summer. I can recall the exact street corner in Red Bank, NJ where we had this conversation. My mom was treating us to drinks on a hot summer day and asked for hot, not iced coffee. Her reasoning might have been off, but her method works. She emphatically explained that your warm body has to work harder when it reacts to an icy liquid and the “hard work” makes you hotter. I’ve always wondered about this and just googled it too. I found an interesting and almost opposite explanation, but it still gives the same end result: feeling cooler on a hot day. http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/07/11/156378713/cool-down-with-a-hot-drink-its-not-as-crazy-as-you-think .
Third, tons of cooking education. Recently, after giving my good friend advice on cooking chicken soup, she was impressed and asked how I knew the “insider tips.” When I told her, “Oh, easy- my mom taught me…” she complimented my mom for both her practical knowledge and ability to impart it to me!
Little things like finding that column, especially when I usually recycle Parade Magazine without even opening it, give me a warm reminder that my mom is still an influence in my life. I have admitted before in my blogs that while I do genuinely miss my mother for all of the usual melancholy and sentimental reasons, I also selfishly miss her help. Thanks to her, I do know how to boil water faster, dust top to bottom, check for expiration dates and much more (http://iwishmymom.wordpress.com/2011/03/10/expired/).
I am so sure my mom would have continued to share even more expert and useful tips. And, given the opportunity, Marilyn Vos Savant would endorse them!