Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Rain, Quiche and a Monkeypant's Mother's Day

Today is another gloomy day; I don't think we're going to see the sun at all. However, the storms have passed, with only the lingering chance of a shower remaining.

I'm trying not to notice the effect that the rain is having on my lawn but I'm noticing that when I pull into my garage after work, I'm looking to see how much it's grown. Growing means mowing.

I have noticed I have a new pet bunny though. Every evening, he sits in the same spot of my back lawn and has a nibble. Last night, he actually came onto my patio. When I looked out, I noticed he'd bought a friend who was leaning against the fence where the yappy neighbour dogs normally bark, as if keeping a lookout for them.

I'm hoping the bunnies aren't eating my green tomatoes. Something is and it's not making me happy. Normally, by now, they'd be red tomatoes but our influx of rain is keeping the tomatoes green. The nice thing is that I'll hopefully be able to eat them later in the year than normal. As long as they stop disappearing.

The scariest part of all of this is that I'm noticing how domestic I'm sounding. I'm not used to that. We apartment dwellers fake domesticity; we dabble but it's hard to truly 'nest' because we have to keep a constant awareness of what damage we're 'allowed' to do to our apartments. As a homeowner, it's quite a different story. I've been celebrating by putting all manner of holes in the walls. I've put quite a few pictures up just because I can.

Last night, I decided to cook my first actual 100% homemade dish. I've been cooking dinner but it's been things like frozen pizza and salad, stuff that's easy. I made a quiche.

I didn't know I liked quiche until a couple of weeks ago when I went to Comic-Con. I tried a bit of my friend's when she ordered it for breakfast and it was like an epiphany. I had found something new that had never appealed to me before and now, suddenly, it was delicious.

That's pretty much how the food in my life has been. As a child, I was a horribly picky eater. I feel bad for that now because I had one of the good mothers who wouldn't say "Eat what I cook or go hungry." Instead, she'd substitute things for me, things she knew I'd eat. I never liked mashed potatoes and am still not a huge fan but at least now I will eat them. As a child, my mum would make me a baked potato in the microwave instead, just so I didn't miss out.

The one thing I always feel horribly about, even now, is my mum's mincemeat dinner. As a Brit, mincemeat is a pretty common meal. Basically, we take ground beef, spice it and add stuff, brown it in a pan, add some gravy and serve it with mashed potatoes. It's the same sort of thing that goes in Shepard's Pie but a little runnier with the gravy. We used to have it with noodles which I think is a little bit of the German side of my family coming in.

Anyway, mum would make mince, as we called it, and I never ate it. I ate around it. I'd eat the noodles and the peas that went with it. I'd eat the gravy but I never liked the mince. Yet, on weekends, we'd get to go to my granny's and she, too, would make mince. Except....for her, I'd clean my plate. I ate every bit of my mincemeat and often would have seconds. Nowadays, I feel a wee bit guilty about that because it wasn't so different to my mother's and yet because granny cooked it, I'd eat it. For what it's worth, mum....I'm sorry.

The ironic thing is I make my own mincemeat dish now now. I'm still not as keen on the meat. I'd rather have gravy with a little meat than have meat with a little gravy. Yet it's one of those dishes that my mother, my sister and I have all seperately fed to friends and family and each time, they clean their plates because they enjoy it. I suppose that's as close to 'passing on the family recipe' as we've ever come. It's a nice feeling though.

Mincemeat isn't the only dish I've learned to accept as I get older. Nowadays, I'll try many, many things which I previously scorned as "vile" and "revolting". Quiche is apparently one of them. My first attempt involved spinach, Canadian bacon and fresh sage. I have to say, it was actually pretty good considering I'd never made one before. I even made the pastry. Apparently, that's quite unusual because when I told my coworkers, they were all "Wow, really? You're ambitious." The thing is, the pastry was the easiest part. I didn't even have to use a recipe: I just called my mother who is now, in my opinion, the Pastry Queen because, let me tell you, her instructions were perfect. My pastry was light, tasty and didn't overpower the quiche because I rolled it out thinly.

This blog is turning out to be a bit of a tribute to my mother. That was unplanned. However, why not? Just because Hallmark has scheduled Mother's Day for May, doesn't mean I can't make my own Mother's Day. So, hey, mum, if you're reading this, thanks for everything. Thanks for not hanging up on me when I use you as my verbal punching bag when I'm stressed, thanks for all the asparagus you gave me this year. Thanks for always lifting Sausage onto the sofa even though we know he's capable of getting up there on his own. And, most of all, thanks for teaching me to cook, dad might be fancy but your food is always the stuff I crave.

So, I'm making today Monkeypants' Mother's Day. To my mummy-Monkeypants, you're the best. I'd give you a piece of my quiche but, unfortunately, by the time you get it on Friday, it might be nasty. But it's the thought that counts, right?

To my other readers, sorry I'm a little random again today. Sometimes I just have to go where the blog takes me. Thanks, as always for reading. I appreciate you all.

Happy Wednesday.

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