Trickier still, is trying to master cooking techniques and recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation within a culture. I can admit, I am more than a little intimidated by the idea of preparing Puerto Rican dishes. I currently have no mentor, no reference and my favorite dishes are limited to what I have sampled from my younger sons favorite take-out place. It must be difficult to master the true flavors of any region in which a person did not grow up or spend a substantial amount of time living. The food I cook is all adapted to my palate and experience - nothing is authentic. Maybe I cook authentic New York?
We are quite passionate about the pork chops and rice and he decides to celebrate his actual birthday with one of his favorite meals. A simple night at home is followed by a Harry Potter movie and I hope all of his birthday wishes have or will come true.
But, what does this birthday mean to me? Well, I am no longer the mom of a teenager. He has turned 20 and is/has been well on his way through his own life path to adulthood. At 20, I was married and pregnant - in fact I gave birth to my older son just 10 days before I turned 21.
What would I tell my 20 year old self now?
Well, it would be a lengthy conversation about what really does and doesn't matter I'd say, but I know my 20 year old self would have simply assumed she knew better than some "old lady" and probably would have forged on ahead the same way all over again.
And really, that isn't all a bad experience - my road has had a few bumps, but mostly I have enjoyed the journey so far.
Also, this side (or top) of the hill in life still has a high appreciation for fried food, the love of family and making sure to have some pajama days.
It is our own experiences, tastes and sense of self that also keep us feeling Fed Well.