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"We must have a pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie." David Mamet

Friday, February 13, 2009

Why Eat Out?

Sadly, eating in is almost always cheaper than eating out. For the price of a dinner at Moutarde I can get a week's worth of meals at Key Food. But Moutarde is my mico-vacation from kitchen worries. There's a heavenly whiteness about the Moutarde decor that elevates its bistro comfiness. The only problem, cost aside, is that my 12-year old hates eating out. 

 Not us. My siblings and I always loved eating out for the sheer uniqueness of it. I remember more about The Clam Box, our family's favorite restaurant in the 60s, than I do most of my childhood. I had a Pavlovian response to the above menu when I saw it on e-bay. The Clam Box was where I tasted my first lobster at age 5. That experience turned me into the brazen eater I am today. I’m convinced this is one of the top reasons why my mother loved me.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Secret Sauce

When she was about 40, Mom went into the hospital for some routine surgery. She hopped out of bed (she had little tolerance for sitting still) and crossed the room. As always, I was overprotective - but she shook me off. "I have to move, don't I?"
 She stood at the window, staring pensively at the Miami skyline. After awhile, she said, "You know what I want?" I leaned in and put my arm around her, happy to do anything for her. "What?" She pointed out the window, the golden arches gleaming in the night. "A Big Mac." That's when I knew she was going to be okay.
This epitomized my Mom. She recognized value regardless of its packaging, the diamond in the rough. It's the same nose for quality that made her so indispensable at Marshall's. She could home right in on the designer gem among the overstuffed rack of pilly knitwear. The ultimate independent, Mom had no problem raving about a meal at La Grenouille while defending the beauty of the Special Sauce. The best things in life were sometimes labeled, sometimes not. You had to follow your instincts.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Like Magic

Every night for 20 years, my mother made dinner. Some nights she made 3 dinners. One for us girls. One for my brother after his hockey practice. One for my Dad when he came in late from the City. After I left for college and she was working hard in real estate, she still managed to muster up gourmet meals every night. 
This makes my head explode. I have one child and one husband. They never require for more than one meal a night. Even still I feel like I've won the lottery when they ask to order from New Happy Taco.
Tonight, though, I'm channeling my Mom. I'm a little tired and it's cold but we just ordered in last night. What can I buy on the way home that will quickly become a delicious meal? I have leftover linguine, which brings to mind Mom's Shrimp in Spicy Tomato sauce, a dish she would often prepare after we flew in from New York.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Exhibit A: Greenbeans

My Mom loved a good discussion almost as much as she liked designer shoes. And although there was plenty of passionate discourse in her kitchen, when it came to cooking vegetables she had the final word.

She was our master chef and, as much as she complimented us on our abilities, we always gratefully accepted our roles as sous chefs.

Mom held by several laws in her kitchen and in life. One was, if you look good, you feel better. This theory has proved true especially as it relates to my hair. It's also why I sometimes apply lipstick while cleaning the bathroom.

The food corollary goes like this:  if it looks beautiful, it tastes better. My sister Karren, a wonderful cook, is a master at this finishing touch. 
Exhibit A : green beans.