Salmon cakes first — then the dishes (maybe)

Chicago TribuneApril 16, 2014 

Mom picked up on the first ring. She’d been thinking of me. She had just finished dinner and was thinking about sitting in my chair.

“My chair?” I asked.

“Your chair,” she said. “The one you sit in after dinner. When you’re not doing the dishes.”

News to me.

I’ve made many a meal at Mom’s. And, I suppose, I’ve sat in that chair — the comfy leather one with the footstool — afterward. I suppose there have been times I’ve sat in the comfy chair after cooking and before cleaning up. Or after cooking and instead of cleaning up.

But I didn’t realize I had a designated not-doing-the-dishes chair. Worse, a designated not-doing-the-dishes-chair so designated by Mom. Who knew she was taking notes?

I couldn’t remember why I’d called. I hung up and patted together some salmon cakes, which always make me think of Mom. Their core component — cooked salmon — appeals to her enduring campaign to repurpose leftovers. Their supplemental components — lemon, dill and red onion — appeal to my enduring campaign for spring.

After the cakes were chilling in their crumb jackets I washed the dishes. Then I sprawled on the couch, wishing Mom were on hand to take note.

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