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Archive for the ‘Yummies’ Category

T.G.I.T.

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Jun-19-2008

The Father floated back home again today at about 2- a few hours before I expected him, days later then planned.

Mr.Jo is fixing the wood rot, The Boy’s bike is repaired, the horse is not going to die ( wonder where The Girl gets her rather melodramatic flair ? ), the gift for The Baby’s boyfriend’s birthday party arrived just in the nick of time, the bus strike is over and despite having to do a last moment triage yesterday of important things to do ( which saw the trip to the big grocery store fly out of the window), we have enough toilet paper to last for a day or two more.

After two weeks in India, we had a very Dutch dinner this evening and shall all loll about, eating sausage rolls of various sorts ( who really needs toilet paper ? One can fake that, but not a tasty family snack on the first night home) as we watch football.

Here at Casa Kitchen we shall be rooting for Portugal.

Yes, the long, long days of being a single mother ( without a car) are over.

Thank God it is Thursday.

TV

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Feb-14-2006

So, we have started watching that series based upon Jamie Oliver’s attempts to have decent food ( at 44 pence per) served for school lunches.

Now, while my kids do not eat all of what I prepare, I was taught ( in Omaha, Nebraska, Home Economics, required for girls) that dinner should include the protein, one carbohydrate ( potatoes, pasta, rice) and one green and one yellow vegetable. That- in fact- is how the dinners that I grew up eating were set up. I try to follow this rule, although I find very few yellow vegetables here. Like, uh, corn and , uh, carrots.

Lax as I am, easy going, in fact, I find that a dinner made up of pizza and fries to be a really, really horrible. Sure, we get pizza once in a while. But pizza and fries ?

In my book, that is right up there with fries and mayo. Although I must confess that now and then I will mooch a fry and a dip into someone’s frites sauce.

I find it very interesting to hear what children are being served up at home. It almost makes me feel that I am not doing a bad job of things. And here I must add that – of course- I am home all day, and can and often do spend an hour or two preparing our dinner.

Not that everyone snarfs it down like manna from heaven, not that I even come close to doing all of the vegetables that my Mummy Dearest put before our faces ( artichokes. I have never prepared artichokes for the family and I love them. How to cook them- haven’t a clue).

But still, pizza and fries, sausages and fries ?

Anyone who has ever tried to do an Atkins- like diet knows that the pleasures of vegetables and fruits are hard to give up indeed.

That fresh crisp.

Another thing to put on my list of things to do ( find more yellow vegetables), as well as finding a source for bags of Gold Medal Flour.*

* We made cookies last weekend, with a sack of Gold Medal that I brought back from the States. Perfect chocolate chip cookies. I have never had any success when using Dutch flour. And the children want us to make up a batch of cookies every Sunday.

Gold Medal, I need you.

Moving On

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Dec-9-2005

Having sucked that bit of drama to a nub, today I moved on to newer fields, filled with potential for agony.

Yesterday while playing at her friend Roos’es house, The Baby bit into something and a bolt of pain jolted through her tiny frame. Actually, it wasn’t really a bolt of pain, it was simply a lower front tooth wiggling, preparing for departure. Scared the piss out of The Baby, though.

When I came to pick her up, the Oma took me aside and explained what had happened. In such a way that I knew that it had been quite a scene.

I walked my fragile flower home, through the darkened streets of town, and murmured kind words. When her brother told her that the only way to get the tooth all of the way out was to use a hammer- and she broke down in sobs- I comforted her and gave her brother very nasty looks indeed. I did not laugh when she made herself an ice pack, which she gently held up to her chin.

I bought her soft foods to eat today, vla and soups. But when I caught her eating a stroop waffle that some old scammer lady sold me, the game was up. Stroop wafels- while very tasty indeed- are like biting down into tar. Gone the painful facade.

I tried another avenue for agony : I panicked about the Christmas shopping. Got myself worked up into a lather there, I did, until I did some worst- case scenario checks and found that I could get most of the things left to buy, on line, within two days. I ordered more gifts, this time from a seller at ebay.de, spending a hideous amount of time trying to figure out where the * contact this seller* link was. But it is all do-able. Humbling, but definitely do-able.

Can’t help it: I can’t start Christmas until Sinterklaas is over ( and the after- Sinterklaas sales begin) and that is just the way it is.

When The Father is away, the children can chose what we have for dinner. I got off easy yesterday : pizza, from down the street. But today The Boy wanted Paella, and he wanted some french bread, with that herb butter. And The Baby wanted tomatoes stuffed with North Sea shrimp. Now, North Sea shrimp are very tasty indeed, but about the size of ladybugs and I am not pleased with how they are cleaned. And so I poured over and cleaned a…lot of North Sea shrimp today.

Dinner was later than usual, The Boy and I have to get up tomorrow at 7 for an early football game.

But as we sat at dinner and I suggested that we do the family movie routine tonight, all agreed, yes, let’s do.

As I nagged The Boy, asking for help in clearing the table, he said to me : we should do family movies more often.

Why, I asked.

Because they make me feel all good inside.

Big plus point for my heart.

A Gift, II

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Oct-25-2005

Yesterday morning, The Boy handed me a present. As always, I smiled and told him that he really didn’t have to do that. I just liked that it was my birthday.

I loved his gift. He had rooted through two bags of wine gums and picked out the purple ones- which I love- and filled a little baggie with them, even though everyone agrees that the purple ones are by far the best of the bunch.

After he had left for school, Callum spied my bag of prime wine gums and asked if he could have one. After I glanced over to his mother- getting the ok- I said yes, and he took one out of the bag.

As he chewed it, I told him why this was such a great present : because the purple wine gums are…simply the best. He chewed for a while, as I was nattering on and then commented that they were indeed the best of all wine gums.

Raising my eyebrows, I said, well, don’t ask for another one, for you won’t get it. They are mine. It is my birthday, they are my present. Of course I was smiling the whole time, in a rather greedy, laughing way.

And it seemed that- at least to him- that was both perfectly understandable and acceptable behavior on my part.

I love that The Boy gave me the purple ones. I love that he knows that I favor them. I love knowing that he does as well, but gave them to me.

Good gift,Boy.

Dreamers

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Jun-5-2005

Win is here for a long weekend. We like Win fine. I suppose that he is one of our oldest friends, we have seen him pass through many a lovely girl. We were there when he got his PhD in Rennes, clapped our hands over our heads when he passed.

When he comes back to the Netherlands- which isn’t very often- he comes here. He is always welcome. I had boerenkool and rookworst last night for dinner, and new , new herring as a late evening snack. Plus a box of his favorite sort of drop, licorice. Venco, soft, sweet.

We went out for dinner tonight, no place fancy, my choice. Just an Italian place. We talk and talk and then move into that sort of dual level chat.

Some how, during the evening, we have rather said, why yes, let’s look for an old farm in Bretagne together. A place with a sea view, lots of land. I think that we would have an out building, but who knows. Win wants to buy a place and if we want to be a part of it, well, let’s look into it.

Properties in France are so stinkin’ cheap.

And in the end, it was just the three of us, laughing at old memories and coming up with new dreams.

Dinner

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Jan-27-2005

This evening, hanging over the remains of our Jachtschotel ( doesn’t that sound fancy ? Now, lean very closely and I shall whisper in your ear : it’s a casserole. You can’t fool me, that’s what it is. It’s made with mashed potatoes, onions, apples and left over meat. But wait ! We never have any left over meat, so first, I have to make meat to be left over), The Father and I caught up with our week. Sometimes life is like that. In fact, yesterday, he gave me his travel schedule for the next few months. After he had finished, I said ‘So, basically, you are home for dinner tomorrow and will be back before we go to Portugal ?’ A brief moment of panic crossed his face, he quickly asked me when that was. First week of May. Yep, he can make it.

So, he’s telling me all about the new company, this that and the other thing and before I know it, his stare is stabbing into my eyes as he says ‘You know, it’s a simple job. You could do it, but you don’t want to. ‘ I do believe that I was supposed to feel guilty or lazy, or perhaps both. But I didn’t, I don’t.

I don’t want to work full time, out of the house. We are lucky enough that we don’t need the money ( sure, we would enjoy it, but need it ? Nope.) In fact, the only reason I work at all is because The Father is totally convinced that it is good for me, something to keep me from feeling like Rosie, that robot in The Jetsons, even though I have told him, time and time again, that the only thing that I wanted to be when I grew up was the recipient of a trust fund.

Oh, there was a time when I had to work. Grave miscalculations on the part of our bookkeeper found us living in a house that we could not afford and so I saddled up my bike and earned a paycheck. I worked for 7 years, until The Boy was born. And then realized that The Father and I were burning out at both ends and that I didn’t have enough time in a day to teach The Boy English.

The tempo was murderous, I don’t know how people can keep it up, year after year. Especially now that the children are older and seem to need even more time, of a different sort.

I’ll just take my box of bon- bons, thank you, and the life of leisure.

I have never felt compelled to prove anything.

Play Date in Portugal

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Jan-13-2005

Today The Babywas invited to go and play at Duarte’s house. She has always been fond of the boy and had a very nice time indeed. Now, despite the fact that both of Duarte’s parents are as Dutch as drop, that Duarte lives just down the street from us, Meg has always insisted that Duarte lives in Portugal.

Now, having been to various countries in her short life- including Italy, France and America, The Baby has a general idea of how the world is set up. She knows that she lives in our town, which in turn is in The Netherlands. She knows that Alabama is a part of America. But no matter how many times we explain to her that Duarte simply cannot- the daily commute alone would kill him- live in Portugal, she insists that he does indeed live in Portugal.

Today at dinner, she told The Father that she went to play with Duarte today. He lives very close to her friends Roos and Sara, not far from the butcher. He lives at a number 5 as well, she told us. She then – as an aside- told The Father that Duarte lives in Portugal.

Lowering his fork, The Father explained to The Baby that if Duarte did indeed live in Portugal, she would have to take a plane to visit him.

And she – very earnestly- explained to him that Portugal wasn’t that far at all. Why, she didn’t need to take a plane to go to Duarte’s.

They walked there.

Perhaps being in Portugal is a state of mind. What do I know.

New Year’s Eve

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Dec-29-2004

Have I ever mentioned that New Year’s Eve is my very favorite holiday, the one that I love best of all ? It is and I haven’t a clue as to why- we never go anywhere, I don’t make a list of resolutions, nope, I always have and I suppose that I always will, just love New Year’s Eve.

It has something that the beginning of a new school year had, fresh tablets of paper, new pens, a new beginning.

I have made it clear to the The Father and The Cheriubs that we shall indeed have Moet once again, no cheap stuff. Tomorrow I go to the baker and order our olliebollen for the evening meal ( fried dough, by any other name…). I shall pick up a score of worstebroodjes as well.

At midnight, we shall toast one another- kiddies get the Moet as well- and then grab our coats and stand on our stoop, wish our neighbors Happy New Year as fireworks and crackers go off around us. As a blanket of smoke and the scent of saltpeter is captured within the dikes which surround Town.

And perhaps, late that night, we shall watch some old film together, something like It’s a Wonderful Life.

For, while I sometimes show the seamier side of it, we do indeed have the Walton Life, we are indeed very lucky.

Living within a cliche is not as bad as it is cracked up to be.

Ruminations

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Dec-25-2004

It all went very well. Most important to me, was that things would go well with the brother who lives in Italy, the one whom The Father has basically divorced himself from, business wise.

He – and his family- have always been our favorites within the family- friends, even though we are family. And so my thoughts were very focused on what to get them, what would be the most appropriate gift for the family that – basically- business- wise- should hate our guts ?

First, a jar of Boerenjongens . They are so utterly Dutch and so old fashioned that everyone had to laugh.I do believe that they are raisins soaked in brandywine, but really, what do I know ? The Father’s Mother was telling the lad that he should serve them together with Advocaat, this, that and another thing. Sure enough, Brother – in- Law’s next gift was a bottle of Zwarte Kip . Oh, did we laugh.

And then he received a bottle of Bokma. And as a last gift the traditional glasses that one uses when drinking Dutch gin.

He liked it very much and I was very happy that he did.

Business- wise, things went very poorly for him this year,in fact, it had the potential to rend the family apart, but he stood back, let family come first. Business is business and family is family.

I am glad that he liked his gifts.

I tried very hard to find something that would speak to him.

That would tell him how much we cared for him, as a person, not a business partner.

I think that I managed to say it. Don’t know if it will help, but I tried.

My Christmas is over.

Home Sweet

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Sep-6-2004

It wasn’t easy- this time- for me to come back to the Netherlands. I don’t know why this time was different, but it was. Perhaps it was because of the seductive friendliness which seems intrinsic to the South: why, I even caught myself smiling and chatting away with the sales clerks at Penney’s. Or perhaps it was because of the conversation The Father and I had at Dad’s, sitting on the porch and realizing that we had enough assets to buy a lovely house here and still have a generous, financial safety net to fall back upon. Yes, if – basically- I would just say the word, all this could be mine.

Satan stretched his hand out before me.

I was severely tempted, surprising myself.

When we came home last week, I avoided town. I didn’t feel like stepping back into it all and so sent The Girl and The Boy out to the store as often as I could. I wondered- rather dramatically- if I was developing that illness, you know, that one where you are afraid to go out of your house. Wouldn’t be all that surprising, I suppose.

Today was the first day of school and a rather hectic morning at that : the alarm was not set correctly and so we slept about 20 minutes longer than usual. On a school day. But we made it to school on time.

When I stepped back into the now quiet house, I realized that I hadn’t been alone since before the vacation began, why I hadn’t even indulged in my favorite hobby- taking naps- once. It felt so peaceful all around me.

I did the shopping, collecting the bits and pieces that make up our daily routine: bread sticks for The Baby’s school snack, whole wheat cookies for The Boy and The Girl, anything- but- fish cat food for the cat.

At the bakery, I saw that they had ciabattas and ordered two for The Girl, some raisin buns for The Boy and a loaf of bread for lunch. After I had paid, the clerk asked me if I needed a bag. She had a funny smile on her face, which told me that she knew that I never asked for a bag but she must ask, it’s part of the job. I smiled back as I told her that wasn’t necessary, and found myself still smiling as I stepped out of the store.

Once home, I put my groceries away and remembered to take the butter out of the fridge for The Girl, she prefers soft butter for her lunch. It’s Monday, water- the- geraniums- day, and so I went onto our stoop with my three bottles of water, a plastic bag ( for the dead blossoms) and the keys to the house.

It had been 6 weeks since anyone had tidied them up and so was quite a bit of work. As I removed the dried off stems, every few minutes a native would walk by, we would exchange brief pleasantries and then they would continue on their way into town.

And I realized that I was happy, happy to be home and that I was once again experiencing that unique pleasure of living in the town that I live in.