It has been a very down and up week.
My brother-in-law, Jeremy, lost his dad, Terence Griffen, to cancer last Friday after a pretty lengthy battle. Before going over to the funeral home for calling hours, I had some explaining to do with my kids because they had never been to a wake, let alone an open casket wake, before.
I pulled my eldest, Liam, aside to tell him about what he would find at the funeral home and gauge his reaction before telling his younger brothers. "OK, Liam. You know Uncle Jeremy's dad passed away on Friday," I said. "Well, when people die, often their families hold get-togethers to celebrate the life of the person who passed. We call those wakes. Sometimes at wakes, they have the body lying in an open casket in the room so that people can see them one last time and say goodbye. This is going to be an open casket wake."
At this point I paused and could see his wheels turning. I asked what he thought about the idea. He replied, "It's the dead body, right? But the soul isn't there any more is it?" I nodded. He continued, "So the body is just like a shell, right?"
Again I nodded. Liam didn't say anything for a few seconds. He stroked his smooth chin and looked me right in the eyes. In a moment where I simultaneously saw the child he is and man he will be, he blew me away when he said, "OK. I understand. When the soul gets too big for the body it molts. The shell is left behind and the soul goes to be with God. That's all right then. His soul was just too big to stay. I'll go to the wake."
And life continues on ...
By the time this column is printed, I'll be reading it online from my new home in Amish country. We are getting ready to move, and it is one huge project. We are looking forward to being resettled so much, but we've been here for more 10 years. It is astonishing how much stuff we have crammed into this little house and barn over time.
What is more astonishing is how many boxes I'm filling with foodstuffs. So now I'm playing a game. I call it the "How-much-of-this-stuff-can-I-use-up" game. Last night was an extremely successful round. I made cold soba noodles with peanut sauce and chicken and a sour cherry clafoutis.
Cold Soba Salad with Peanut Sauce and Chicken
1 lb. soba noodles, prepared according to package instructions, drained and rinsed with cold water
3/4 c. peanut butter, smooth or chunky
3/4 c. hot water
1/4 c. soy sauce
2-3 t. dark toasted sesame oil
1/4-1 t. crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
2 c. shredded or chopped leftover chicken (can substitute cooked beef or pork if you have it!)
1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
1/4 c. sliced green onions
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into thin 2-inch strips
In a large mixing bowl, combine peanut butter, hot water, soy sauce, sesame oil and pepper flakes. Whisk until smooth. Add noodles and chicken and toss to coat. Sprinkle the green onions, then the red bell pepper strips and cilantro over the top. Cover and chill until serving, at least 10 minutes.
When I was an exchange student in France, my host mother made clafoutis twice weekly. It is still one of my all-time favorite desserts. It's simple, elegant and inexpensive to make. If you don't have jarred cherries, you can substitute canned or fresh blueberries or peaches.
Sour Cherry Clafoutis
1 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
1 c. flour
11/2 c. milk
1 jar sour cherries plus 1 T. of the liquid in which they're packed.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan or a large tart pan. In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar. (Note: If using fresh berries or fruits, toss the fruits with 1/2 c. of the sugar and whisk the remaining sugar in with the eggs. Add 1 T. of brandy or rum to the batter in place of the fruit liquid.) Proceed with rest of recipe as instructed. Add the vanilla extract and cherry liquid to the egg mixture. Stir in flour. Whisk in the milk to form a smooth batter. Evenly spread the cherries in the ovenproof dish. Pour the batter over the cherries and place on a large baking sheet. Place in the oven. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the cake is sponge like. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes before serving. Sprinkle generously with confectioner's sugar and serve the clafoutis warm.
It has been a very down and up week.
Foodie with Family: Fall a wonderful time
Fall. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height that my soup ladle can reach.Continued ...
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Whether you opt to tailgate at the big game itself, or in your yard and then in front of your television, this is where fall comfort food makes its triumphant reappearance. Summer puts on a scarf and rubs its hands together and concedes to the wonder that is sustaining and warming vittles.Continued ...
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I’d like to see a show of hands: who out there has a tendency to overbook themselves? Yes. I see you all. I’m glad I’m not alone.Continued ...
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Years ago, when I was pregnant with my first child, I prayed that it would be a boy. Did I have any particular reason? Not really. I just liked boys. I felt like I'd be a good mom to a boy. I had my boy and I was thrilled.Continued ...
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My guys have discovered a new passion; fishing. Oh, have they ever discovered it.Continued ...
- Thursday, May 3, 2012
Foodie With Family: Kimchi (trust me)
One of the things I love best about my husband is his love of all foods Asian. Asian flavors are my default setting: Garlic, ginger, soy, and sesame are what I reach for when I crave comfort.Continued ...
- Thursday, April 5, 2012
Recipe isn't lost in translation
Sometimes things get a bit lost in translation. So many potentially good dishes are muddied and confused when put into a slow cooker and left alone for hours. This recipe for Slow-Cooker Honey Sesame Pork is an exception. (Plus, Ranch Oyster Crackers.)Continued ...
- Thursday, March 8, 2012
Cold-brewed coffee is refreshing
A handful of ice, the contents of a couple jars, a goodly splash of milk, a lid and a shake-shake-shake. That's all it takes to whip up a sweet, refreshing iced coffee to cool me down from my marathon grocery session.Continued ...
- Thursday, February 9, 2012
Foodie With Family: Feeding joy
The other day, after a protracted conversation about food, my little brother observed that my purpose in life is to make people hungry. As a food writer, there is something to that, but that's not the whole story ... I also feed them.Continued ...
- Thursday, January 12, 2012
- Foodie With Family: Birthday meals (x5)
- Thursday, December 15, 2011
- Foodie with Family: Simple, tasty food
- Thursday, November 17, 2011
- Foodie with Family: Queen of Holidays
- Thursday, October 20, 2011
- Foodie with Family: Tea follows walk
- Thursday, September 22, 2011
- Foodie with Family: Essence of summer
- Thursday, August 25, 2011
Foodie With Family: Feeding DIY spirit
It is no secret that I am a big proponent of making things that many folks buy at the store.Continued ...
- Thursday, July 28, 2011
Foodie with Family: Veggie burgers
The recent heat wave made cooking a real joy, didn't it? There is nothing I love more than standing over a steaming pan of whatever stirring for an hour when the temperature is in the 90s or — horrors — higher and the humidity is near 100 percent. I lie. Like a dog. These black bean burgers pull together faster than you can order take-out. Crispy and deep-brown on the outside, these satisfying burgers pack a serious punch in the taste department. Just slightly spicy, studded with sweet corn and topped with creamy avocado slices and hot sauce, these substantial veggie burgers are going to please even the most entrenched meat-burger-lover.Continued ...
- Thursday, June 30, 2011
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- Thursday, June 2, 2011
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There is some serious fun going on around our household right now. We're winning contests. That's right. We're winning contests.Continued ...
- Thursday, May 5, 2011
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The rains have been pouring down — it seems — without cease since spring officially sprang. Plans, field days, playground time, garden preparation, planting and other long-anticipated things have been canceled due to weather. We've spent a good deal of time crabby, cranky, out-of-sorts and fidgety.Continued ...
But now, my "to read" list is shorter, and the boys have put a world of hurt on the competition in the "read the most books" contest at our local library.
Truly, can you think of a better way to spend the day as a family? Baking, eating, laughing, snuggling in plush blankets and reading. I do hope the rain stays a little while longer.
Complete column includes Rebecca's recipes for Ham and Cheddar Stuffed Soft Pretzels and Salted Caramel Popcorn with Dark Chocolate Drizzle.
- Thursday, April 7, 2011
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I recently discovered that my youngest, age 5, has said something incorrectly for his entire life. While congratulating his older brothers on a fort they had built, he thrust his little hand in the air and yelled, "High Pie, guys!" As his mother, I was obliged to tell him the "correct" version of the saying, but I also mentioned that I liked his version better. Honestly, it's brilliant. What's better than pie? I can't think of a more suitable exclamation of excitement. Baking and serving foods in Mason jars has been all the rage lately and for pretty good reason. Fruit pies to pot pies to custards to cakes and everything else imaginable has been stuffed into the portable, reusable, heat/freezer/dishwasher safe canning jar. It's easy to store these convenient servings for later use.Continued ...
- Thursday, March 10, 2011
Foodie with Family: Sensational spud
While I still love my high-falutin' culinary projects, my evolution as a cook has moved me toward doing as little as possible to good things to coax as much of the natural flavor from them as possible. Hasselback potatoes are Swedish, but don't panic! Potato dishes of any nationality work for St. Patrick's Day because on March 17, the whole world is Irish. (Full article includes recipes for Garlic Hasselback Potatoes and Chocolate Chunk Cranberry Skillet Cookie.)Continued ...
- Thursday, February 10, 2011
Foodie With Family: Feed your cold kids
What is it about sledding hills that brings out the Evel Knievel in children? My boys — who have a rather nicely developed sense of self-preservation — become more than just a little reckless when you stand them at the top of an ice-covered mountain with a sled in their hands. It's nice to welcome them home with Potato Roesti and Bacon Jam.Continued ...
- Thursday, January 13, 2011
Foodie With Family: Flavored popcorn
Popcorn is the ultimate snack food. Portable, filling, inexpensive, tasty and customizable, popcorn can be eaten with just a little salt, or gussied up for company. Grab a heavy pan with a lid and a capacity of at least eight quarts, and I'll walk you through 15 of my favorite ways to eat popcorn.Continued ...
- Monday, December 13, 2010
Foodie with Family: Indulge sweet tooth
I have a child with an incurable sweet tooth. Most of the year, I am on sentry duty preventing said youngster from sugar-toothing himself into trouble; Carrot sticks, hummus, hard-boiled eggs and peanut butter abound. This time of year, however, I'm a little more lenient.Continued ...
- Monday, November 15, 2010
Foodie With Family: Break bread, pass it
Thanksgiving always has and always will equal bread in my brain. As a bread-loving child, it was my dream holiday.Continued ...
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