It's been crazy around here...I'm sure no crazier than around your house, but crazy enough to keep me from writing/typing/composing/you get the idea. :-)
This past weekend was my mother's second birthday that she celebrated in heaven. My family all got together to celebrate her life here, and, because my other sister with a house was busier than I, we ate our meals at my house. It all worked out well -- my kids go to bed a LOT earlier than hers, so we could eat, and I could put W and AB down as they needed to go down and still enjoy being with the fam.
We did something "fun" for dinner on Mom's birthday, suggested by my bro-in-law. Way to go, JR! We had a meal of memories. For our appetizer (we never have appetizers, so this was special in and of itself!) we had Cinnamon Toast. Yes, it's a rather unusual appetizer, but Mama always made us cinnamon toast soldiers and hot chocolate when we were sick and sat beside us and held our hand or put a cool washcloth on our forehead or rubbed our feet. She was an amazing, compassionate nurse. How I miss her now when I'm sick! Nobody does it quite like Mama did.... Anyway, it was too warm for hot chocolate (70s!), but we kept with the cinnamon toast.
My sister, M, brought Samosas that we also ate for appetizers. Growing up, Mama took Proverbs 31 to heart to "bring her food from afar." She had a Betty Crocker Int'l Cookbook that she used quite often. Samosas and Wantons were great group efforts. I think she did wantons with me and samosas with M. It's a great memory.
For our main course, I made Strogranoff. Come to find out, it's NOT one of my Dad's favorites! You could have knocked my sisters and me down with a feather when that one came to light. We had no idea! In JR's words, Strogranoff is a testament to Daddy's unconditional love for Mama...and for us girls as well. The ladies in our family LOVE it, and Daddy knew that Mama wouldn't make it if she knew he wasn't that fond of it. We don't make it for him now, but he did eat it once more with us for the memories. We have a great Daddy!
For dessert, we had plenty. When Mama was pregnant with me, so the story goes, she baked a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and had a piece...all while Daddy was at work. Unfortunately, she made it early enough in the day that as the day progressed, she ate the WHOLE cake! To cover up for this travesty, she made another chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and ate the original sized piece out of it. She didn't come clean on this one for many, many years! It still brings a smile to my face. My sister, R, made a scrumptious chocolate cake for us all to enjoy. No, she didn't eat a whole cake before hand...or if she did, she has yet to fess up to it! Love you, R!
Another dessert story goes back to a church fellowship. (I don't know if any of our compadres from church read this blog, but this may be a revelation because we kept it hush-hush and just giggled to ourselves.) So...we had a homemade ice cream fellowship at church, but we didn't have the time to make any homemade ice cream. It wouldn't have been so bad, except for the fact that we were signed up to bring homemade ice cream. My mother was the queen of innovation. It's amazing how super duper yummy it is to mix up a gallon of homestyle vanilla ice cream, milk, fresh peaches, and a little vanilla in an ice cream maker! We got quite a few comments as to how that was "the best homemade ice cream" people had ever eaten! Hee hee! In the spirit of Mom, M mixed a couple of different batches with a base of homestyle vanilla ice cream and sweetened condensed milk. To one she added chopped up snickers, to the other she added pineapple and coconut. Super yummy, and they went great with our other desserts! (M -- please feel free to correct me in the comments as to what you did. That's just what I remember. Sorry if I goofed a bit!) Love ya, Darlin'!
For our final dessert, (yes, we had three!) Hubby made a pineapple upside down cake with rum flavored frosting. My parents are not drinkers. Dad is a teetotaler. Mama, however, enjoyed the flavor of rum...and on special occasions, she enjoyed rum balls or rum cake. Due to the fact that only two people would have been able to enjoy a real rum cake, Hubby made this imitation one as a nod to Mama. It was divine! And, it went great with M's tropical ice cream. Thanks, Babe!
We had a great time together remembering Mama through food. That was one thing she was insistent about -- feeding people well because she loved them. The motto stands, "If you go away hungry, it's your own fault." :-) May I carry on your tradition of caring for others in this way.
I love you, Mama.