Reflecting on my Mom, Founder of Country Pasta

I feel like I won the lottery when they were assigning moms back in 1975. However, I also believe several of my personal characteristics are the direct result of trying to be or do things the complete opposite of my mom. I don’t think I’m unusual. I know many girls/women who, for example, grew up in situations where their mom was a neat freak, and they say to themselves, “I’m never going to worry about cleaning everyday and instead just enjoy life.” Or their moms are super savers, so they spend like their life depends on it. We try to take the polar opposite route. Yet regardless of how hard we try to be different, we are often reminded that “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”  A great saying for us in the food world. And while jokingly I say I tried to be the apple that somehow rolled away from the tree, there are so many traits my mom has that I could only be lucky enough to have gotten from her. And from these traits that I’ve observed in her over the years, I have had the opportunity to learn many lessons.

The Knutson Family...back in 1975.

The Knutson Family…back in 1975.

  1. Be kind. My mom does not have a mean bone in her body. She treats everyone as though they are her long lost friends, regardless of how long she has known them. You only need to spend a minute with my mom to pick up on this particular trait.
  2. Have fun with friends…and strangers who are not yet friends. My mom knows how to have a good time. And she loves get-togethers with friends and family, always tending to everyone’s needs and desires. But it’s not only current friends she has fun with, the woman can make herself new friends better than anyone I know. It typically starts with some sort of “Griswold moment” happening in public, and the next thing you know she’s got a new friend coming to dinner. She knows how to have fun, and how to not take herself too seriously. I think many people are attracted to that quality in her because it makes it so easy, and fun, to be around her.
  3.  Be respectful and compassionate. My mom is amazing with both older people and those in need. She is always listening patiently, making sure everyone is feeling included, and ensuring people have what they require. One of the most beautiful things I’ve observed my mom doing is giving my grandfather a foot massage when he was in the hospital nearing the end of his time on earth. She had no hesitation and her only concern was that he was comfortable and cared for.
  4. Adapt, make the best of your circumstances, and move on. My mom has had to overcome many obstacles and challenges and has always done a great job at adapting to the situation, making the best of where she was, and moving on. The most recent example I have of this, and one that I am so proud of her for, is adjusting to life after my father passed away. They were married for exactly 40 years when he passed away back in 2006. She had gone from her parents’ home directly to being married to my dad and had never been on her own. I’ve talked to other children of widowed parents, and they have to struggle with their parents moving on. They end up not wanting to do anything, and are very depressed. To say my mom was sad when my dad passed away would be an understatement. He was a tremendous man, husband and father, and it was an incredibly difficult time in her life. At first she relied a lot on other people to do many everyday tasks for her. Now, however, she has become such an independent and strong woman. She is the gal who gets out there and mows the steep hill at her house, and unloads 2 tons of beef into her freezers by herself, or goes gallivanting to Spain or Germany, and volunteers for a week-long shift at the Medora Musical in North Dakota. I greatly admire her for her spirit and her adaptability. No, things are not perfect, but she’s making the best of them and living her life to the fullest!
  5. Show your love with food. Quite possibly the thing my mom is most known for is her excellent cooking. She can make these amazing meals, and feed an army of people, while making it look like a walk in the park. She loves food and enjoys making people happy with her delicious concoctions.  Many people have been lucky enough to be on the receiving end of her love…and the food that comes with it.

I always like to say that Country Pasta is the combination of my dad’s entrepreneurial talents and my mom’s love of cooking. Without one, or the other, I have great doubts that the pasta could ever have reached as many people as it has today. I hope the next time you have Country Pasta, you think of your own mother, and the many amazing traits she has. And know that your next bite is filled with love and lessons, right from the founder.

Wishing my mom, and mothers all over, a memorable day filled with family, love, and delicious food.

~Heather