When I was a kid, Momcat and Pops had specific ways of doing things but didn’t necessarily have reasons as to why they did these things the way they did. It was likely the way they were taught by their parents, and their parents before them. These things ranged from food preferences to cooking styles. Momcat did not use any other white rice but Uncle Ben’s Converted Long Grain, nor did she ever buy white bread, grape jelly or shredded cheese. We never had honey in the house because Pops hated it. All of our towels came in sets of two and included a matching hand towel and washcloth. When I got my driver’s license and started driving the family vehicles, Momcat was vigilant in letting me know I needed to move the seat all the way back when I was done using the car, because the next person driving the car might be Pops and he needed more legroom. And you never, NEVER, put a bumper sticker on a car.
Once I was living on my own, I did a lot of things the same way as I was taught. I bought block cheese and shredded it as needed. I never bought honey. My towel sets were always two bath, two hand and two washcloths. I always pushed the driver’s seat all the way back when I got out of the car – even though it was my car and no one else was driving it.
It took me a while to realize that a number of these habits weren’t really Moxie originals – I had taken them on because they had been instilled in me by my parents. I started questioning each one. Was oatmeal for breakfast something I really liked? No. I like oatmeal but it doesn’t fill me up. Same with cereal. So I stopped buying cereal. I stopped drinking most juices because they gave me heartburn. Tired of shredding my fingers on the cheese grater, I stopped buying block cheese and now I only buy shredded. On my 30th birthday, for the first time ever, I had honey in my peppermint tea and was astounded at how good it was. Now I’m never without a jar of honey. And the bumper sticker thing? I put a window cling for my alma mater in my car’s back window and Momcat lit into me when she saw it. “WE do NOT put stickers on OUR cars!” she said, glaring at me.
Some of those habits, have passed my idiosyncrasy litmus test. While I may not be buying Uncle Ben’s anymore, Momcat’s rice cooking methods (2:1 ratio, boil water, add rice, cover, lower heat, DO NOT LIFT THE LID) have proven to be failproof. I like having handtowels because I use them to dry my hair – the bath sheets I prefer to buy are way too big for my head. And while grape jelly is fun to eat, especially with peanut butter, there’s something quite spectacular about apricot preserves or a lovely mixed berry jam on good bread.
Oh, and the driver’s seat? As it so happens, the car I’m currently driving has a programmable seat. I positioned the seat just the way I wanted it, then I pressed a button that saved the settings. Now every time I turn on the ignition, the seat automatically moves to where I want it, and slides back when I turn off the engine. God bless technology.
What habits were passed down to you from your parents?