Monday, May 16, 2011

You Could Be a Winner!

Certain times of the year tend to bunch up in our family.  May means my older sister’s anniversary, Mother’s day and my parent’s anniversary all land on the same weekend.  We took my mom to Alexander’s Steakhouse here in Cupertino.  Alexander’s has a Micheline Star.  I have trained for Olympic level dining: full course evenings of starters-to-cheese with all the amuses-bouches and palette cleansers and matching wines.  I don’t call myself a Foodie, an Expert of any sort.  
I am a Gourmand: “noun: glutton, overeater, big eater, gobbler, gorger; informal pig, greedy pig, guzzler.”
Gobblegobbleomnomnom.  I squeal for the server, moan and roll my eyes and wag my tail with every plate, every nibble.  I plan my dinner like most people plan their long-range road trips.  This time, I decided to forgo the steak (I’ve been working my way round the cow) and have the Tuna Tartar to start, the Caesar with Poached Egg, then the Filet Tartar, Fois Gras Mousse and Grilled Fois Gras as the Main.  I fully intended to cruise right into Dessert and into the Survey of Cheese, but found myself alone on the stinky fermentation front.  Amateurs. So GingerMan and I finished with the S’Mores--Delicate marshmallows, brullèed bananas, thick squares of chocolate ganache and Grahame-Miso daisy crackers.  Oh, and a peanut butter milkshake. Ba-dunk!  That’s me, hitting the floor.
My parents married on the deck of our apartment, with ducks and swans crowding the edge, fully expecting this crowd of people to be toting the motherlode of stale bread.  There was a judge, his back to the swans, with a black binder; my new grandparents, my two sisters and assorted people who exist as ghost extras in my memory.  I was seven years old, wearing a lilac flower-pattern cotton dress with lace edging, white cable-knit knee socks and brown sandles.  Later on, my 3-year-old sister and I were mistakenly given full-whack mimosas.  
The greater family group shifted and re-ordered and very shortly after, I moved away from my sisters to live with my father and this woman who had joined up for the National Guard Stepmother Plan--one weekend a month and two weeks a summer.  Instead she got a full-time kid with scars.  In her hutch you will find the Lladro Mother and Child figure my father bought her that first Mother’s Day.
I wrote of my ambivalence regarding M-Day. Last week, a friend mentioned that post and I dropped that the next blog would feature my RECIPE CONTEST that EVERYONE should ENTER.  She laughed and said she’d leave it to the experts.  I laughed right back and said I’d told The Knitmore Girls, myveryown Jedi Jasmin and Gigi Daaahhhhling the very same thing many times.  So many times, in fact that I finally vowed, a couple of months ago, to enter the very next contest, no matter what.  
That contest was their Mom N Me Contest.  For Mother’s Day.  BAAAH!  Fie!  So I didn’t enter.  I was right through to this bit of the story when I realised that for the two years I have been knitting, I have regaled many with the tale of The Raspberry Jumper.  How my mom knit it when I was about 10.  About Nathania of Purlescence Yarns opening the box of Lorna’s Fisherman, lifting the Cthulhu-like bundles of worsted-weight yarn skeins in magnificent colourways out of the box and not even setting them on the floor before my fibre-twin SarahLaura swooped down and grabbed the bundle of purple and I SQEEEEALED, snatching the lucious, raspeberry pink-to-lavender one.  That was ages ago, and I swore I was gonna knit myself a lovely jumper just like the one my mom made.  
It still seems like an anomalous occurrence--I have Memory Pockets.  I remember things from 18 months old that freak the rest of the family right out, but these things that should be so important remain surreal and often untouchable.  We never really did stuff together, we never had those Hallmark Moments. Our pasts and troubles bent us and sometimes broke us in ways that still keep us distanced.  But she did these little things and they bubble up in my memory.  
For a particularly good Christmas, she and Grandma made rag dolls to look like my little sister and myself.  They acquired these cardboard boxes that looked like pirate chests which I believe were originally packaging for Maker’s Mark bottles, but when opened by five-and-nine-year-olds revealed dolly dresses and little felt shoes and hats with ribbons on the brims. 
One summer she sewed me shorts that were longer and in colours that better suited my skin tone because I was so painfully self-conscious of showing my legs, which I believed to be fat and white.  The summer of 8th grade, she sewed my graduation dress, a 50’s-style pink dress with proper swing skirt, then found a crinoline, hot pink belt and matching pumps.  She also made me the perfect-blue Alice Dress, with two white blouses, to wear while flying solo to visit my sister in Utah.  
Now, The Raspberry Jumper.  I have the Knitting Pure and Simple pattern for a top-down raglan that would have kept my freezing arse warm and happy all freakin’ winter, but I kept saying, for a year--- I’ll find the perfect pattern, with fitting, with shaping, with this, with that....blahblahblah and a yaddah yaddah to boot.  
And I didn’t think of any of my mom’s creative triumphs, her attempts to achieve that which she never enlisted for, and I didn’t enter The Knitmore’s next contest, as promised.
I didn’t enter. I don’t enter. 
Sometimes it’s hard to hang on to these things.  But last week was our 30th Family Anniversary, and I was given a gift of memories.  I was born to a family of chaos and it gripped my mind daily.  In the last 15 years we have sought and tried and learned to hold and love each other.  So maybe stuff Mother’s Day, leave it to the one who blackened it’s name in my heart. 
Instead I embrace Family Day.  We enter Late, but with Gusto!  Mom, here’s to 30 years, and considering how long Grandma held out, about another 30 to go.  You called Monday to say how much you loved dinner, but I won some really nice lavender scrub so I might take you to lunch too.

And so should YOU!  You have a week left to enter my First Ever Recipe Contest, in which you can win your choice of a Three-Pack of Tasty Baking Spices -OR- some High-Grade Saffron!  Rules listed here:

  • Entree Period Runs from Monday 09 May 2011 to Monday 23 May 2011. Judging period follows, with winner to be announced on Friday 03 June 2011
  • Entrees must be posted in the Comments section and include your name, email address, and full recipe. 
  • ONE winner will be chosen by me. -The winning recipe will be posted with photos and the Winner presented here as an Official Kitchen Jedi! 
  • Now Get Cooking!
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  1. Please tell me more about how I was given a mimosa at 3 years old? I vaguely remember that period in my life (our lives). So I really enjoy all the blank spots you fill in for me. ;)

  2. HAHAHAAH! Ya, so in that apartment, there was a fireplace, we were planted on the hearth out of the way. Someone rolled round a while later with a couple glasses of "orange juice" and I said it tasted weird and they just laughed. It wasn't a parental unit, but I don't remember who it was. I just remember sitting there cross-legged on the tile and looking down at you to my right. You had a champagne glass in your adorable pudgy hands and you were just **downing** that stuff. And you were the adorable one. Everyone said so. You were so cute it KILLED people.

  3. I guess I got my party phase out of the way early!