Mother’s Day, with gas.

portrait shoot, August 2006

This year for Mother’s Day I bought myself a SodaStream.

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Two years ago, in my worst-ever performance playing the role of Mom, I did not receive the Mother’s Day present I requested (for three years in a row), so I stormed down the stairs screaming, “I’ll just buy my own damn Mother’s Day present!”

Yes, that’s actually what happened.

And then, true to my word, I did what I said I was going to do. I bought a silver necklace, a simple chain with two stamped medallions and two wire-wrapped stones, one of each for each of my children. I wear it every day, and occasionally my daughter will look at it and say, “that’s the necklace you bought the year you got so mad,” and I’ll nod and feel shitty (again) and apologize for the way I behaved (again).

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“What do you want for Mother’s Day,” Bernard had asked, almost three years prior. And I had answered, “I want one of those necklaces with the children’s names stamped on it.”

Bernard: “You don’t really want one of those hokey things, do you?”

Me: “Yes, I do.”

The first year I asked. The second year I picked out a necklace in a catalogue, marked the page and left it by Bernard’s side of the bed. The third year I went online, created the necklace I wanted, saved the shopping cart and emailed him the link. That year, which happened to be the same year that both of my children left their handmade cards at school, when I did not receive the present I had requested for three years in a row, I threw a temper tantrum and made a big show of buying my own necklace. And then I felt like a complete ass.

They had, in fact, bought presents for me, each and every one of those three years. They had each picked them out themselves. Was I really such a terrorist that they had to meet my specific demand or suffer my wrath? Was I actually that ungrateful? And did I really need wrapped gifts to know that my children and husband loved me, anyway? What the hell was I thinking?

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Last year on Mother’s Day I had no expectations and asked for nothing. The children made me breakfast and brought it up on a tray. The weather was nice. A neighbor invited some moms over for Mother’s Day cocktails on her porch. It was a great day. In a testament to forgiveness, we all decided to put the prior year behind us.

*******

This year for Mother’s Day my kids are cooking up some kind of special decoration, because they’ve already set rules about what time I’ll need to head upstairs for the night. Will I also get presents, come morning? Probably, but I don’t really care. This year for Mother’s Day I’ll be glad to have fizzy water from the SodaStream that no one had to buy for me to prove how much I’m worth. This year on Mother’s Day I’ll love my family no more or less than any other day. If I’m lucky, they’ll do the same.

Happy week.

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KaleFood | Week of May 12, 2014

Now that all of the gardens are awake, fresh greens are abundant and still tender. I also found cauliflower and bok choy and our garden mint is thriving, so we’ll take advantage of the spring goodness while it’s here. I typically leave the fresh heads of lettuce intact, wrapped loosely in a plastic bag in the refrigerator until I’m ready to wash and serve. I think they keep better that way. The other greens I’ll wash, spin dry, wrap in paper towels and then store in loose plastic bags in the crisper until I’m ready to prepare them.

Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

Ok, I’m a sucker: I bought the Joy of Cooking iPad app. I just could not help myself, especially since it was on sale. I like it, so far. It’s obviously more enticing than the actual book, and it has some recipes I don’t remember seeing in print like the one for orecchiette with sausage and broccoli rabe that I’ll be making. Unfortunately, there’s no online link to share for the recipe. Fortunately, you can pretty much figure this one out on your own: boil the pasta; sauté some sausage (recipe calls for Italian, but any will do) in a bit of olive oil; stir in chopped broccoli rabe (or other bitter green) toward the end; drain the pasta when it’s al dente; combine pasta and sausage mixture in a large bowl and serve with fresh Parmesan.

Roasted Cauliflower | Sautéed Bok Choy | Grits | Green Saladdrunken woman, frizzy head

I passed the bok choy by and then had to go back to the market to get some; it was just too pretty. It’s one of the few greens my children will eat, sautéed in a bit of olive oil with ginger, fresh garlic and soy sauce added at the end. I’ll try again to get them to enjoy Ina Garten’s roasted cauliflower, which I adore, but I won’t be holding my breath. Course ground grits and green salad will round it out, with fresh buttermilk dressing to use the fresh spring chives.

Roasted New Potatoes | Cedar Plank Cod | Mustard Greens Pesto

One of the farmers at the market this week gave me a tip for using spring mustard greens: spicy mustard pesto.  She uses pecans instead of pine nuts, both for economy and for a bit of sweetness. I found this recipe online, which also looks pretty simple and tasty. I will serve the pesto with some roasted new potatoes, tossed in olive oil and salt, and either cod or sea bass that I’ll cook in the same oven on cedar planks, similar to the cedar plank salmon from a few weeks ago.

spring tulipsThai Beef Salad

first lettuce 2014I love Thai beef salad and don’t know why I don’t make it more often. Seeing the chocolate mint at the market made me think of it (no, I didn’t buy any; I have an entire yard full of mint). All of the good green parts of a good Thai salad are prime right now, and the weather is perfect for grilling. There’s even a recipe from, yep, the Joy of Cooking app… but not online, so here’s one from Food and Wine.

Salmon Croquettes | Basmati Rice | Green Salad

I love salmon patties, just love them.  I make them the way my mother did, which is pretty much the way Saveur presents the recipe, although without the white wine. I like the texture of basmati rice, and it’s also lower on the glycemic index than jasmine or white rice (bonus).

7 Comments

  1. Redneck Garage

    Kate,
    Thanks for being real and sharing a story that most would like to bury. As parents we do our best, and as you shared, we fail. Forgiveness is the greatest gift we can receive from those we love. Have a wonderful Mother’s Day!
    Patrick

    Like

    1. Redneck Garage

      Sorry Jennifer…I did not get you name right….I mess up names all the time.

      Like

  2. I’ve had bad days, too. It’s forgive able.
    I live the links and recipes you share!

    Like

  3. It’s likely a good thing for oh so many reasons that I didn’t have children. Hope you and the kids have a lovely day (as I’m sure you will).

    Like

  4. Jennifer,

    Great post! But I honestly think you did your husband and children a favor with your outburst. Sometimes, as mothers, we think we have to be grateful for every little scrap of paper the kids come home from school with. Sure, we like them but let’s be honest, when it comes to Mother’s Day, birthdays and other gift-giving holidays, we usually get the raw end of the deal. And it’s okay to be ticked off about it.

    Kids should learn from both their mothers and fathers about the joy of giving. Doesn’t mean you have to go out and spend a fortune but when Dad knows there’s something you would love to have (not like you beat around the bush on that one), he should make every effort to take the kids out (preferably not the Saturday before Mother’s Day) and buy it for you as long as it’s something that can be afforded.

    There is such good lesson potential for kids to be had in an outing like that. I could go on and on about that one but I won’t. Just wanted to let you know I loved the post but please, don’t feel bad or guilty – everyone deserves a special day, that fulfills their own definition of special. ~ Judith

    Like

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