Growing up, my mom’s cooking was undoubtedly one of the best parts of life. Holidays were feasts and weeknights were sprinkled with elegant dishes like Croquette St Jacques, all the more impressive as a) my mom worked full-time, and b) I grew up in Thunder Bay, try finding Croquette St Jacques on a menu in the 1990s and early aughts.
My mom also cooked very healthy meals, packed with fresh ingredients and vegetables, which as a finicky toddler I didn’t necessarily appreciate. At babysitters’, I’d eat canned Heinz Zoodles and other processed foods laced with toddler cocaine, a.k.a. sugar. “Why can’t you cook like Auntie Karen?” I once asked my mom, perplexed why her homemade pasta sauce didn’t give me that crazy high like Aunt Karen’s Chef Boyardee.