Tag Archives: Easter

I Bought Him Flowers

My husband, a small bunch of pink and yellow tulips in vase overlooking the lake. He flew in Saturday afternoon for a steak and baked potato dinner.

Easter Sunday we took it easy, I’d gotten a rack of lamb the day before and marinated it in olive oil, salt and pepper, sprigs of fresh thyme and leaves of rosemary all day. I forgot the garlic, the entire head was in a bowl elsewhere.

Simple roasted rack of lamb, boiled red potatoes with butter and seasonings, and a salad with his favorite vinaigrette, no, not mine from a half dozen acids including several vinegars and fresh lemon and extra virgin olive oil, he wants bottled ranch dressing so he got that one.

It was a good weekend. Perhaps Texas Chili and my Ten-Minute Lasagne (on the site) next weekend. As a young girl or young adult you could always see me reading cookbooks and helping out if I was allowed to do so.

Thanks to all who helped me learn how to cook, from a very young age to caterers to college (I cooked for all my roommates) to work, work, work, then cooking schools. I thank everyone for contributing to my education.

Recently unable to sleep or really read because of an eye issue I’ve been up at night watching/listening to The Mind of a Chef, brainchild of Anthony Bourdain, and Michael Pollan’s concise and interesting distillation of his book Cooked.

It is fascinating to learn more about cultures, flavors, icky things I may never like to eat (not on the show but I never had haggis in Scotland) but Chef Pollan brought something to light. Many folks I know never cook a thing. I cook three meals a day plus feed and take my dog out, another thing people hire out.

Yes, my sink nearly fell below because the glue that held it together was not strong enough. Why? It’s a double sink and I use it many times a day and do hand-wash certain special dishes, large pots and pans and wash my hands. In the years we’ve been here no-one has seen this happen, because no-one cooks.

Dear Michael Pollan,

I like the way you pull people in instead of push them to feed their family healthy, home-cooked foods. For nearly thirty years I’ve shopped the outer aisles of the grocery store. I barely know my produce folks because they change out all the time but I bring my Texas Chili (Pedernales riff, of course no beans) to my butchers. Yes, I’ve a meat grinder on my 28 year Kitchenaid and at my age move it across the kitchen to put on the grinder.

I graduated PKU, Peter Kump’s which is now ICE.

I pick out all my 4# of hand-chosen meat (sale days are great) and take it down and do a Texas grind. The rest of it is up to the onions, garlic and spices. You may want to look up Lady Bird Johnson’s Pedernales River Chili that was served in 1962 for 5,000 guests at the Ranch west of Austin. The guest list¬†included JFK. If you look up the Lyndon Johnson Presidential Museum it’s on the site, or just Google it.

It’s very generic as a recipe because they don’t have what we do today and I’ll never use “chili powder,” so make my own from Penzey’s. This recipe was the most requested White House document in 1962 before JFK was killed.

Sharing this information is important to our future. Cooking made us human. Shopping at a grocery store for microwave or ready-made foods is ok a day or two a week but it probably means you’re at the TV and spouse is online and the kiddos never got to have dinner with their family.

Caring for one’s family is most important. Don’t tell your kids how many hours you had to work this week. ¬†Tell them you’re having what I’ve done for kids, MYOP night. I make pizza dough in advance but if they’re not my kids (we don’t have kids) I always have them make a ball of dough before they get tired to take home and rise in the frig for tomorrow.

Kids roll out their own dough and top their own pizzas with anything from caramelized onions and anchovies, tomato and plain mozz, pepperoni and it runs the gamut from sauteed spinach, roasted garlic………



Childhood Rituals

As young girls my mother and her sisters would climb to the seven churches of Montreal, ending with the one where crippled kids and adults would crawl up hundreds of steps to shed their crutches and walk back down. I am a bit dubious of that.

After I and my sister were born we went through the traditional Catholic education and Mass every Sunday. Mom used to make us sit on the sofa while she read The Passion on Good Friday. Why they called it “good” I never learned.

On Easter Sunday we’d get a small gift, the only one I can remember is that we received matching Keds red plaid sneakers. Of course we could not wear them to Mass. Get your Easter dresses, socks and shoes, girls. Don’t forget your hats and white gloves or we’ll be late! I think after church we each got a small hollow chocolate bunny. Probably after dinner so it wouldn’t spoil our appetites. That’s how I remember it.

It’s interesting that as a private cook I don’t remember what we ate after church. Probably ham. I think I was five or six with the sneakers, because of where we were living and photos I recall. Mom’s no longer around to correct me and I’m certain Dad doesn’t remember such a small childhood moment.

We will not read The Passion of Christ this year. I may even cook lamb for dinner. There will be no church service of any sort, my husband’s or mine. I get to see him nearly two days per week. I believe we pray quietly on our own, and do not need a priest or preacher to guide us. If we do, we will ask for one.

My father was cut out of my weekends because when my parents married the Priest made him promise to make us kids Catholic. He was Lutheran. Oh, they could sing. My husband was introduced to an individually-organized Texas church and just went to a service with his parents last weekend. No choirs, only single voices, and no dancing. What fun is that?

Do you wonder why we eloped with six friends? Wine vs. iced tea, dancing or not. It would have been a disaster. Plus my parents were divorced after many years. Mom is gone for years and Dad is older and ill. They never met my in-laws but know/knew my husband. Perhaps we’ll ask the Lord to renew our vows before family. In the Easter festiveness, please do not send me red plaid Keds. Dee

Safety and Security

I feel safe here. When my husband is off at work for a week or months I know I have a safety net. Where? Everywhere. At all levels.

It’s called friends. Shhhh, don’t tell anyone. We’re in transition again, three times in a month. We’re not moving anywhere unless something’s real. I have home base and will cook. Husband will be able to come home weekends. Dog will like him again. Yes, she loves him again, he’s the Fun Guy and I’m the Walker and Food Wench.

Security hits me like a brick wall (or slipping on a wet walkway) as it also means monetary security and having three jobs in a month is crazy and doesn’t lead to contentment on the wife’s part.

He has his job, I try to keep our lives together by making his job easier. He has someone who takes care of the home, meals, dog. I review contracts, pay bills, do taxes, and am also a problem solver and former consultant. I’m retired from all and getting used to not being paid for what I do.

We need to move simply for airport access. No, we won’t be at the back of the runway but I’ll need safety. To be sure, my dear husband always checks out everywhere we live. He sleeps through the night and I’m up at every dog whine to get up to the bed or go out. He wants to make sure I can take our older dog out in the middle of the night and be safe. I love him for this. Zoe loves him.

It’s no longer Good Friday so Happy Easter! Make those eggs and Hot Cross Buns. Send the kids on an egg hunt. We’re going to enjoy a good day together before a flight elsewhere…. Dee