This blog goes out to all those mothers out there. Happy Mother’s Day to you.
My mom was never much for celebrating days like this. It wasn’t something I could just ignore – there were certain expectations of giving her a card or perhaps some flowers – but for the most part, the day wouldn’t be that much of a big whoop for her. She never hoped for breakfast in bed, a big meal at a fancy restaurant or even a day devoted to all the good things she does. She would have rather just gone about her business. My dad would make sure we honored the day (he’d probably buy the flowers for us), but other than that, it was always a low key kind of day. My mom is not much for holidays (ironic, I know). Still, even as an adult, if I don’t get a card in the mail so it arrives on time or if I fail to call on Mother’s Day, my mom will lay on a guilt trip like only a mother can. It’s a delicate balance: don’t celebrate but don’t ignore it. In any case, I was working all day and that was no big deal because we had no plans to celebrate the day. And don’t worry, my card arrived in plenty of time and I called her on my way home to wish her the best. She was watching the Jeter number retirement ceremony on television when I called and that seemed to be more pressing (history in the making) than a duty call from her son. But I wished her well, thanked her for all her motherly kindness and told her I loved her. And Jeter too.
Lola’s family always made a big deal of Mother’s Day. All the daughters and their spouses/boyfriends would gather in honor of their mom. It was usually a low key day in terms of food. On days to celebrate Gigi, the menu was always simple so that she wouldn’t get stuck in the kitchen all day. Beer and pizza kind of days or brunches where everyone brought something to the party. There would be gifts, plants, flowers and cards for her, but the thing that made Gigi smile the most on those days would be to be around her family. You could see how having everyone around would just fill up her world. She loved a full house and being with family. And since she passed away, Mother’s Days have become more than a little sad for the family. The daughters still try to get together and celebrate their mom – to miss her and to remember her together. Nowadays there are more little kiddos running around so Mother’s Day is also a way to celebrate the daughters that have become mothers, but the ghost of Gigi is still very much present on this day. She is in every smile, every laugh and every memory. In the joy of family togetherness, there is sadness. So it’s never an easy day.
Lola was going to go to her sister Becky’s house which is where the celebration was today. I was working so I would miss it, but I did what I could to help her get ready. Our contribution to the party would be to make the veggie and fruit platters and I told Lola that I could put that together for her. I like making stuff for parties. It’s kind of a strength of mine. Lola has the skills as well, but I can just do it a little faster with less stress. This allowed Lola the morning to stay within her thoughts (which really meant that she could think about her Mom). This also put my time management skills to the test too because I woke up around 7:30 and had to be at work at 10:30, so I had a pretty full to-do list to get done before work which included writing my blog, making the platters and making some biscuits (remember, it’s National Buttermilk Biscuit Day). At least platters are pretty easy. I usually like a little more of a challenge – I kind of felt that by being assigned the veggie platters I was put on the JV team (just one step away from being in charge of chips and drinks), but for time purposes, it worked out fine. It took me about an hour to carve up all kinds of fruits and vegetables and make them look presentable on trays. There was cauliflower, broccoli, peppers, carrots along with pineapple, melon, berries and grapes. It was a lovely medley and I got them all done and wrapped for travel in plenty of time. Now I had 40 minutes to make biscuits.
I found a recipe online for buttermilk biscuits. I actually searched for it while I was in the grocery store buying the veggies. I liked this one because it was quick plus it was grandma’s recipe. It had to be good. It came from a blogger called CookingManiac.com and that was a good sign too because as a rule, maniacs (at least unarmed or non-threatening maniacs) are usually fun people. I tossed the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder together and then mixed in some cold butter to start a dough. Then I poured in the buttermilk. Buttermilk is actually “the slightly sour liquid left after butter has been churned, used in baking or consumed as a drink.” I am not sure if I would ever drink it, but it does end up in some pretty great recipes, so it can be a kitchen star. Once it was added to the dough, things started to happen and soon I had a dough I could work with. I floured up my counter and my rolling pin and started rolling it out. You roll out a big rectangle shape and then fold the dough back over and roll it out again. You do this about six times. Because I was feeling daring, I decided roll some parmesan cheese into the dough too along with some black pepper just to bring more seasoning into the mix. I’m not sure if grandma would have approved. When you finally roll it all out, you cut out little circular shapes, place them on a baking pan and then bake for about 15 minutes. I also added a milk wash on top for extra browning.
While they are cooking, I rushed around trying to clean up. I had made a pretty giant mess which tends to happen when you are rolling out dough with flour. I left some dishes to soak, but I managed to get the counters clean and the kitchen seemed presentable enough. I then ran upstairs to shave with the five minutes I had left in cooking time. When I came down clean shaven, I pulled the biscuits out of the oven and I was pleased. They looked nice and golden brown without any burns on the bottom. I took them off the pan and put them right into a bread basket lined with a cloth napkin so Lola could take them to Becky’s.
I ended up being about five minutes late for work which I felt bad about, but in the grand scheme of things, it didn’t matter much. I did grab a biscuit for the ride to work and they came out pretty good. A warm biscuit is going to make you happy in any circumstance, but I think this one had good flavor too. You could taste the pepper which brought a little more flavor to the party, plus you could taste the salt too which was odd because it wasn’t a particularly large quantity of salt in the recipe. I wish I had some nice soft butter to put on there or even some jelly, but it was a quick one on the go just to see if they passed muster. They did.
Lola brought them to Becky’s and I was a little sad for missing out on the fun. I asked her to give me some feedback on the biscuits and she let me know that everyone liked them. Molly, our niece, was especially happy that they were still warm when they arrived. Lola texted me some pictures of Becky and Molly enjoying them too. That made me feel good. I was there in spirit.
Mother’s Day will always be a holiday that brings us memories. It reminds of those times when our moms were our whole world. As old as we get and as much as our world changes, we can always think back at the times our mom was there for us. She may not have been hovering over us, but she was always there. We are grateful for that. Sadly I have seen what it’s like when your mom isn’t there anymore and I can share in the sorrow that has been left in the hearts of Lola and her sisters. But still, they celebrate every year. They always keep those memories alive. They live in the love they were given and they honor their mom as best they can – as daughters who were filled with the endless love of a mother. So naturally, I made biscuits. Everything is better with a buttermilk biscuit. Gigi would have loved them too.
Next Up: National Chocolate Chip Day