Cooking Up Mom

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A customer came into Green Cottage the other day shopping for a gift for her daughter, a new mom, and we got to talking about Mother’s Day and mothers generally and what we remember most about ours. “My mother was a respectable cook, but her favorite part of the meal was dessert, although you wouldn’t know it to look at her,” said she. “Sweets were her weakness. I still have her metal box of recipe cards and the ones for dessert are the most beat up and butter-stained. I remember her whisking a zabagleone in a crock over boiling water. She made merangues to store in a glass jar as a base for ice cream." She paused, remembering. " I think my favorite dish was her strawberry shortcake, so different from that biscuity dry thing you usually get. Of course she had to add sugar to the strawberries, no such thing as settling for natural sweetness, but the sugar made the strawberry juice really sink into the shortcake in a very satisfying way. I remember my disappointment after I left home and found out that not everyone had the same stellar take on strawberry shortcake as my mother’s! Pies too. Of course she used lard, it really made the crust flaky, but these days it just isn’t done. Saturated fat, outraged vegetarians, its not like it used to be for sure. But that apple pie!” The customer looked misty. “And rootbeer floats. That was her favorite. We would sometimes go out to Schrafft’s...remember Schraffts?...when I was little and I’d have vanilla ice cream with hot fudge on top and she’d always have a rootbeer float. And she loved doughnuts. We’d always go to the doughnut place and get a bakers dozen of the best varieties right after I’d been to the dentist. Definitely one step forward two steps back in the dental hygene department!” She laughed as I rang up her gifts, Panier des Sens soap and some Lilac chocolates. We gift wrapped them for her, of course. The customer then bought some David Urso earrings for herself. “Well I’m a Mom too!” she said, and we agreed nothing is too good for Mom. Before she left she promised to send us the strawberry shortcake recipe. We can hardly wait!