Tuesday, April 22, 2014

When Home-made comes Un-done

     It was the second batch of yogurt that was in the process of failing. I re-discovered it after I forgot about it two hours before, when my congested son woke up. Now the temperature was all wrong and I had to figure out how to save it. I was not going to waste all that milk if I could help it. 

     A few days later I discovered some soup stock I had made that never arrived at its destination, the freezer. Now it was spoiled and had to be thrown out. The wasted vegetables and effort broke my heart.

     Neither of these were as bad as the day Little Mister's therapist asked the most dreaded question on earth. 

"Can I use your bathroom?"

      Ugh, the bathroom! That room I had been trying to clean for ages and couldn't ever manage so much as a wipe down. What could I say? No, I'm sorry, the health department is conducting an investigation in there to see if it is the source of an outbreak? No, it's filthy? No, please don't put me in this awkward position? I can't just say no. 

      I wanted to jump up, run into the bathroom  and grab a sponge, but I was wearing an old skirt with a worn out elastic waist that I don't have time to replace right now. It would have dropped to my knees with too much sudden movement. There's no time to explain both the dirty house and the worn out elastic.

     "Monica! Don't you start cleaning in there!" she yelled as I began a fast tidying up. No worries, lady, I felt like saying. I can't get to this thing for the life of me and it's not going to happen today, either. 

      I silently prayed for room. Room for something more, room to breathe, and just one clean room. I'm not asking for storage space, just room.

      Then, Easter was upon us. Hope, resurrection, new life. My grandmother's violets bloomed spectacularly in the garden, and those same four stubborn tulips that I planted our first winter here came back to greet me. I walked out into the sun and breathed and found room. The room looked nothing like I thought, but it was so much bigger, the size of the whole natural world. 

In my Father's house there are many rooms. 

Oh, I see it with new eyes. Thank you for showing me. 

For Easter we had a large family gathering and I brought corn pudding. This isn't my favorite corn pudding recipe, but it is my favorite gluten free corn pudding, which was important for this event. It was very easy to make and everyone loved it. I tripled this recipe, but here is the original, which serves 8:

5 eggs
1/3 cup melted butter
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup milk 
4 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 can whole kernel corn
2 cans cream style corn

Preheat oven to 400 and grease a 2 quart casserole dish. In a mixer, lightly beat eggs. Add melted butter, sugar, and milk. Whisk in cornstarch. Stir in corn and creamed corn. Season with salt and pepper. I also added a pinch of cayenne pepper. Blend well. Pour mixture into prepared casserole dish. Bake for one hour.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

An April's Fool and Book Giveaway

     Next door to our house is an empty lot, and it looks like it was always just an empty lot perched on the edge of the neighboring field, since the beginning of time. It was a surprise to find out from a local old-timer that there was once a large home there that had burned to the ground. Sure enough, this time every year, you see the evidence that someone once lovingly planted spring bulbs around their home. The crocuses and daffodils return annually as a reminder that someone lived and planted there a long time ago. As I like to say, spring lays secrets bare.

      Here is another secret. I won't be spring 
cleaning, other than maybe a quick window washing. 
I am accepting that I am at the stage of domesticity
where maintaining the chaos and wiping down a dirty corner when I can, and not one minute before, is the order of the day. It reminds me of something I read about how we need to see our homes as a tool for living, and sometimes tools get well used. It was very encouraging be reminded that I'm not decorating a museum, but sharpening my tool. A tool that somehow functions as a central place to meet our needs, but should not become the need. I want to think like that all the time, about all kinds of things.

Have you read Saloma's new memoir yet? Bonnet Strings: An Amish Woman's Ties to Two Worlds is the sequel to her first book, Why I Left the Amish. It follows her to Vermont, where she starts a new life after leaving her Amish community, and then her ensuing struggle when she returns to Ohio to try again. Even though I know Saloma's story well, and how her life turned out, it was still a suspenseful story for me. It wasn't always easy to read about the agonizing decisions she faced at such a young age, and with such limited experience. When she makes her final decision after an epic struggle, you can be rest assured that it was not a decision that was made lightly.

Anyway, here is your chance to win a signed copy of Bonnet Strings. Simply leave a comment here for one entry. I will contact the winner in one week. If you don't have a blog, make sure there is a way I can reach you if you are the winner.

 Share on Pinterest or Facebook for one additional entry, and don't forget to tell me that you shared.

      It's too early to be thinking about rhubarb, but I saw some tiny red stalks peeking through the ground in our garden. It reminded me to use up what we had left in our freezer. I always wanted to make a fool, which is a British dessert of blended fruit puree and whipped cream. It was completely coincidental that I made it on April's Fool day. I made it with the last of our rhubarb and a few sliced strawberries. It was delicious! You can follow the link to the recipe.

Rhubarb Fool with Strawberries


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