The King of Tuna Fish

the King of Tuna Fish

Larry Gottlieb

As crazy as it may sound, there are advantages to having a parent with MS. You can’t see it when you’re a teen dealing with the day-to-day stuff but, for example, my wife particularly appreciates my cooking skill, acquired because my mom has MS.

My first cooking experience wasn’t really cooking. I learned that I could open a can of tuna, stab at it with a fork for 30 seconds, plop in a tablespoon of mayonnaise, slap it on bread, and make my own lunch. I was set. In fact, tuna became my meal of choice for years, not because I loved it so much, but because I was afraid to turn on the stove.

Eventually I mastered “stove basics”, and made the dramatic switch to scrambled eggs. Cracking the egg without leaving half the shell in the bowl took some time, and learning that I should put a little butter in the pan so the eggs wouldn’t stick was a major breakthrough. But by the time I was 12, my cooking skills were legendary among my relatives and my parents’ friends. If you needed a fluffy cheese omelet, I was your man.

Then something I didn’t expect happened–my mother became jealous of my cooking. In a strange way, my independence and success at cooking became a threat to her role as an active parent. She eventually asked if I would move the pre-cooking process into the bedroom where she spent most of her time. If meatloaf was on the evening’s menu, I would bring a snack tray into her room, line up the spices, place the chopped meat into a mixing bowl, and have all of the utensils and additional ingredients at the ready. “Egg.” “Pepper.” “Salt.” Like a surgeon calling out orders to a nurse, my mother would bark out what she needed and I would hand her whatever it was.

Some of the best memories I have are of cooking with my mother, and now, when I cook for my wife and daughter, my mother is right there beside me telling me to ease off on the salt. That’s the real joy of cooking.

LARRY GOTTLIEB has been involved with the National MS Society for more than 20 years, originally as a teenage volunteer. He currently serves as director of Marketing.

COPYRIGHT 2000 National Multiple Sclerosis Society

COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group