My son came over for dinner last night. And, as all of you who are mothers to sons know, no matter how big they get, they'll always regress to little boys when they come to see you. Now, my son is anything but little. He's 6'3", and a head turner. Really darned handsome if I say so. However, there's nothing turning his head when he's at my dinner table.
"You are an amazing cook!" he says, (which means more coming from him than ALMOST anyone,) "you make the best comfort food, but it always has a twist; always. And it's a good twist!"
And so the genre is born.
He's in the midst of relocating to another home. The furniture is in a storage unit which means he brings his laundry over once a week until the condo is ready. And good thing, too. Since he was 4 he always wears one sock right, and the other inside out, so this is my chance to create a little order for him. It's enough to charm your socks .... wait. That one's been used. Anyway, it fuels my motherly hormones and makes me kinda hum for the rest of the evening.
"So, what are you in the mood for?" I asked, knowing he'd never settle for the leftover vegetable stew I had.
"Well, something with meat, and well, a lot of it." He grinned.
Ah, I love boys.
And so it continued. Me, chopping, searing, braising, marinating and steaming, (and grinning I might add,) and my son sorting the coloreds from the whites, waiting patiently for his meaty, twisty, comforting meal.
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I write this post to embrace the chuckle that you must be enjoying as I steer a healthy admonition straight into the gates of temptation. And yet I see no flinch, no frown, and even your hand out in acceptance.
It's not your fault. For eons we've been trying to find a way to rationalize our love for sugar. And chocolate is the crown jewel of them all.
So let's just pretend for a minute this is healthy, and in the end, just be sure you get rid of all the evidence.
Using a packaged brownie mix, replace the 2/3 C oil with 1/4 C oil and a lunch sized container (4 ounces) of apple sauce, cook according to directions. For frosting, combine 1/2 ripe banana and 3 T butter with enough powdered sugar to arrive at a soft frosting consistency. Top with sea salt roasted almonds, and a drizzle of honey.
Last week we ended an era. A 27 month era to be exact. It was a quiet ending, without fanfare, parades or even an audible woop, woop. Instead of a celebration, it was welcomed with hugs, tears, and family as we quietly moved my husband's mother into a Home so she could be cared for by professionals, during her last stages of dementia.
There really is no way to verbalize what you go through when caring for someone who must suffer through the incomparable symptoms of this cruel disease and it is full of opposites. For instance, it is so quiet being a caretaker, like an echoing chamber of secrets filled with random forgetfulness and vanishing memories. And because you cannot go anywhere like you used to, devoid of the sound of life.
And then it is also noisy, even deafening as you wade through the daily ritual of TV, repeating commands, and the incessant symphony of fear. Everything seems to be vibrating with tragedy, and on some days, hopelessness.
I started this blog in the beginning of our journey as caretakers, knowing I'd need a creative outlet at home to see me through the noise and the silence. I had no idea how right I was. It has saved me. And as you can see, posts have slowed down to a crawl over the last three or four months as her condition has worsened. That is why, when we saw her embraced by the wonderful people who now care for her and watched the smiles on their faces as they assured us everything would be okay, I knew to heal myself I would have to start cooking again.
There are only a few things true in the world. Love, kindness, and the comfort of doing what you love to show kindness. That is what cooking is for me.
I won't narrate the culinary journey this time. Only a few snapshots and the recipes to go along with them for you to try. And a little advice. You never know when your next trial will arrive. But remember, it comes with a round trip ticket. Eventually it will end, and you, well you will be okay.
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Meet the Cook...
My name is Camine Pappas and I love to create beautiful and delicious food that anyone can make. My signature style centers around a love for combining things in a way you might not expect as I work to find a hidden combination of colors, textures and flavors from the things that are in my pantry and/or easy to obtain.