Wednesday, January 23, 2013

'On the side' is a very big deal for you

Hard to believe but I was the only momma desperate enough to take her kids to the playground this morning in the 29 degree weather. I'm pretty sure Michigan moms laugh at high 20's. We bundled in layers and wool socks and ran over the frozen mulch to the deserted play equipment.

For 20 whole minutes. Fingers were too stiff to grasp ladders. Faces were too numb to smile. As we ran back to the van, big one asked, "Mommy, why am I crying?" Good times had by all. No really. We had a great time. Just what we needed. Running under a crystal blue sky.

We needed hot chocolate just as much. I warmed up the milk frothier and grabbed the cocoa powder. Topped each mug with a homemade marshmallow. Best part of a cold winter play.

As I watched the girls sip, I felt a twinge. My momma worked really hard to combat genetic fussiness. Not the kind where you gripe. The kind where you make a fuss about everything... The Sally Albright Syndrome. "I'd like the apple pie a la mode heated with strawberry ice cream. If you don't have strawberry, I'll take whip cream, but only if it's real. If it's from a can, then nothing... Yes, the pie, but then not heated."

Years of training us simply to peel and eat an orange. No sectioning or sprinkling with powdered sugar (which is exactly the way my grandfather had his orange every morning). She worked to simplify because my grandmother was a fusser, a major fusser. We used to joke that she asked whether or not we wanted a serrated or straight blade used to cut our sandwiches. We joked, but it was almost true. Every meal was a major production. She specialized in any dish that required ingredients from 3 speciality shops and took at least 6 hours of prep time. That's just who she was. My mom didn't want the burden of the production passed on.

You regular readers are probably laughing already, thinking, "this is the blog with recipes for making ice cream and granola - all stuff I can buy at any grocery store." What can I say? You can't fight genes, or maybe I don't chose to fight these genes.

Because I love a production and a good mess in the kitchen. If not for a power outage, I'd be in there right now candying peanuts to put in homemade banana ice cream.

And I love having ridiculous homemade treats to give my girls and sweet hubby. Pillowy vanilla marshmallows atop hot chocolate. Candied orange peel. Peppermint meringues. I've only gotten worse since the gluten free switch. I guess I'm trying to make up for the world of things the girls can't have, all the cupcakes and bakery sweets. Instead, they get homemade goldfish crackers. Maybe if the homemade stuff is enough fun, the off limits stuff won't seem so tragic.

We'll keep making and enjoying huge messes. And the delicious food that results. Get your kitchen ready... I should have a few more recipes headed your way.

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