This Labor Day weekend started with the boys coming down Friday evening and spending the night. I surprised them with one of their favorite (if not favorite) meals that I make - goulash. It's my mother's recipe, one that I've always loved myself. It was my favorite meal growing up. Every birthday, every time I was feeling under the weather, it was what I would ask for - and usually received. There was nothing better than my mom's goulash. There still isn't.
So of course I'm tickled pink when the boys get so excited about it. "It's one of my all time favorite meals." Spike said. It makes me grin. I don't have the heart to tell them that it has never tasted quite as good as what my mom made. I doubt it ever will be.
That's okay. I think that's the way it is supposed to be. I've shown Angel how to make it and will do so with Spike when he gets older as well. It is a very easy recipe and one that I hope gets passed down to their children as well. But I will lay odds that no matter how many times they make it for my future grand kids, it will never taste as good as what I made them. And I think that's the way it is supposed to be.
See, family recipes that are passed down like this are the best kind, because the five or six ingredients are not what makes it such a great dish. It's the love and the memories that it invokes. There has never been a time that I have made it and my mind hasn't wandered to moments of my childhood where I'd walk in the back door from school to see my mom at the stove, frying the meat and onions and peppers. Or the four of us gathered around the table discussing the day over that wonderful dish.
That's what I don't get in the goulash that I make for my kids, but what my kids get out of the same recipe. And I hope that when they do make it for their own family that it invokes those same wonderful memories, because if it does, then they will be making it with love. They'll be wanting to share that feeling with their own children. And they will. And that's why the recipe will live on as one of the best our family has.