I’ve been thinking about Mother’s Day a lot over the past few days. I’ve always enjoyed a close relationship with my Mom. She is fantastic. She’s also not doing so well theses days. On some days she knows me and other days, well, I try not to focus on those visits. As I’ve been contemplating this Mother’s Day, I’ve reflected on all the gifts she’s bestowed on me.
Education, a keen sense of right and wrong, confidence in her own voice, the ability to love deeply, cherish family and friends, and a deep and abiding faith are those gifts. I am also aware of those things that I hold special about her that she would wave away. Her ability to laugh and enjoy the moment. Her sense of fashion. When I look at pictures of her I see a beautiful and accomplished woman. In today’s Me too environment, I am struck by the rich life she gave me by surrounding me with strong, independent women. Women who navigated the challenges of their time with panache. These women passed along stories of successes and failure with chins held high and occasionally a few tears but always a sense of self. While equality should be the standard in the work place, much work remains to be done. This is something all women should remember. Pay it forward and have the courage to reject that which should be rejected.
From my Mom and these women I’ve had the courage to try and fail, pick myself up and try again. So tonight I raise a glass of wine and toast my Mom, Godmother, Grandmothers, Cousins, mentors, and friends and say thank you! Thank you for bestowing upon me the ability to reach for the stars and pick myself up when my reach is not long enough.
As Thanksgiving approaches I have food on the mind. Food, friends, family and memories all neatly come together for me recalling wonderful times in the kitchen and around the table. The other night I was thinking about comfort food. That favorite dish that you love no matter the calorie count. I noticed that my comfort foods all seem to be cheese related. Grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup and a side of chips were a classic Mother/Daughter lunch growing up. I don’t think I will ever forget watching Perry Mason re-runs on the tv with Mom while eating a grilled cheese. To this day I love Perry Mason and tend to flash back on those wonderful lunches with her. Her vegetable soup and homemade chili are on the list and tended to have grilled cheese sandwiches served with the soup. To my list I’d also add mac-N-cheese, deviled eggs, egg salad sandwiches, the potato chip, Granddad’s cheese straws and, last but not least a cheese soufflé.
My grandmother made this wonderful cheddar cheese soufflé for “ladies lunch”. Where my Mom related comfort food is soup and a grilled cheese sandwich, with Grandmom, it is a cheese soufflé. At my request, she dutifully passed along the recipe. As a novice cook in my first year of law school, I attempted to prepare my first soufflé. It was a disaster. I needed to back up and learn some cooking basics, like making a white sauce. My next attempt was slightly more successful thanks to coaching by Mom on some of the finer points of cooking. Over the years I’ve mastered my soufflé recipe and even branched out to include variations on the original recipe. I can now do a Roquefort cheese variation that is to die for.
Yesterday, I decided to treat myself to a cheese soufflé that was on the menu at Cognac in the City. Wow, it was beautiful as well as delicious. I think the bar has been set again. Their soufflé was poofy and airy and delicious. Taller than any I’ve ever coaxed out of the oven. I’m not certain what the secret is but I’m going back to the kitchen and I may see if I can find a re-run of Perry to keep me company. Grandmom has been gone since I graduated from law school but there are moments I feel her around and she may even decide to pop in to keep me company. Back to that food, family, and friends theme!