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Sunday, May 08, 2011

Foodie Sunday: Happy Mothers Day , Penhaligons "Bluebell" and a chance to give a gift today!

By Beth

l loved Mother’s Day as a child….It always meant that I got to get up early to make my mother breakfast in bed, which was her absolutely most favorite thing in the world to enjoy and something that she never did because she worked obsessively full time in the family business. My mother was raised in the town of Champaign Urbana, Illinois and came from a European family that had been extremely wealthy for centuries, that is until they lost all of their money in The Great Depression and she never got over the feeling that the next shoe was about to drop. Unfortunately as comfortable as my parents were she was never able to indulge herself easily a fact which made spoiling her even more fun!

Luckily for us though whenever we were sick out would come her white wicker bed tray and the lovely Limoge bed tray set, complete with a teapot of its own and a covered plate. She made us the loveliest foods, tea, soup and little sandwiches with the crusts cut off and we’d lay in bed feeling like princesses and hoping for at least two more days of the flu so that the “treatment” could continue!
So every year starting from a very early age, Mothers Day would find me up and prowling about, first to find the bed tray and the precious porcelain set and then into the kitchen where I’d make her favorite meal of buttered toast points with the crusts removed, fresh asparagus spears and scrambled eggs with tons of hot dogs stirred into them , diced onions and lots of American cheese. First I’d bring her the Sunday paper with instructions to “NOT EVEN DARE GO OUT OF THE ROOM, MOTHER” and then I’d make her a pot of jasmine tea, which was another pleasure that she totally loved yet didn’t allow herself often.

I loved making that meal all by myself in her kitchen and I always made enough so that I could have some too! The asparagus and toast points were easy enough but the most fun were the eggs! It was a wonderful dish….first you browned the onions and hot dogs (always Kosher!) and if that didn’t smell wonderful enough then you added a bit of minced fresh garlic. Then I would add the eggs that were gently beaten with tons of fresh chives from her garden and let the whole mess cook for a bit. Then I would add the cheese…huge glorious gobs of it …so much that the whole thing became a huge melting mess! Fortunately for me I taught my husband and son to make this very early on!

I’d assemble the bed tray complete with her Grandmothers linen and then the last part was a quick run into the garden where holding my breath I’d search for her favorite bluebells. I never checked the day before to see if they had bloomed, that was all part of the fun. There was one little fragrant patch of them, darling little dancing pink and blue flowers that had been given to her by her dear friend Louise, who sadly departed this Earth long before she ever should have. For some reason they always bloomed on Mother’s day regardless of the weather!

I’d find them and pick a few stems and go dancing into the house where I’d put them into a little Waterford bud vase. Then I’d have my father pick up the tray and we’d carry it in to their bedroom where she’d always gasp with delight and surprise! She’d eat the whole thing happily , while all the while nestled in her bed with it’s huge white embroidered duvet and fluffy down pillows. If it was terrible she never told me because I guess that’s what mother’s do! She’d finish, take a long leisurely bath (in all of the years that I knew her I do not think that she ever took a shower) and then off we’d go to the Cleveland Museum of Art or the Botanical Gardens and have a wonderful day. When my son was born the tradition changed a little bit and my family would make the same breakfast for me and then I’d quickly rush over to cook it for her! Eventually, we settled on dinner together and a lovely trip to the garden center where I’d buy her lots of flowers for her gardens and share just a lovely day enjoying her company.

Sadly, as most of you know a terrible stroke took her from us several years ago. I miss her terribly but we shared a fabulous life together and every year since on Mothers Day I wear Penhaligon’s beautiful “BlueBell” perfume which is just so very pretty and green and reminds me of being a young girl, scampering around in her yard! Today I am going to the nursery to find my own little patch of bluebells to plant in a wooded corner of my new garden . Please, wherever today finds you, hug your mother and keep her close. If yours is gone like mine, find some way to honor her and like she did, enjoy your children and grandchildren madly!

When she died we scattered her ashes along the bend of the beautiful River Road, in the shade of a willow tree that sings continuously in the wind with her favorite silver bell and her Barack Obama button. That’s where I got to visit her…at Solstice we bring her eggnog and in a few hours I’ll bring her fresh asparagus from my new garden which she will love!

So how will you spend your Mother’s Day? My mother’s most passionate cause was Planned Parenthood, because she felt that every family deserved the right to safe and affordable health care. Towards the end of her life when she was living on a fixed income, Planned Parenthood was the one organization that she refused to stop donating to. In her honor and yours, please leave me a comment letting me know what you’re doing today and for every one I’ll donate a dollar ! This opportunity will end next Friday. [Marina chiming in here: Planned Parenthood is an organization I also wholeheartedly support. I will donate a dollar too,  for every comment, so please join us today!]

Happy Mother’s Day to you all and wherever today finds you I hope that it’s filled with joy, fabulous perfume, loads of sunshine and lots of feasting! I love you all......

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Blogger Diana said...

I also support Planned Parenthood (and get my company to match through our charitable giving program), and applaud your efforts to do so. Your mother sounds like a heck of a lady; I'd have liked to have met her.

2:10 AM EDT  
Anonymous Esz said...

I'm not American so I don't know much about Planned Parenthood but what I do know sounds logical to me.

Here in Australia we have government funded healthcare for everyone under the Medicare scheme which covers almost everything but elective surgery. It's not without it's faults of course but to me, healthcare is a basic right that everyone deserves no matter what their income.

So I wholeheartedly support your cause and it's good to hear that my comment can help in even a small way.

Also - I love Penhaligon's Bluebell! It's my first perfume from the house and I love it. So fresh!

2:14 AM EDT  
Blogger Megan said...

Oh this is so heartwarming- thank you so much for sharing it. As much as my mother and I have our ups and downs, I can't imagine what life would be like without her. We celebrated last weekend, since she lives a bit of a ways away, and I took her and my father for brunch, and spoiled her with some sweet treats and a bunch of orange, yellow and red roses. Happy Mothers day!

2:47 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Mother's Day to all!
Thank you Beth and Marina for being so generous and kind.
I will enjoy being treated to lunch by my three boys. :)

4:24 AM EDT  
Blogger JAntoinette said...

I'll be calling my mom today; we are separated by an ocean this year. Though I am in Europe for the time being, I am horrified that Planned Parenthood is under attack in the US. Such a necessary organization!

7:18 AM EDT  
Anonymous Carolyn said...

Beth, This brought tears to my eyes. My mom passed over a decade ago and every Mother's Day is difficult for me. Thank you for this wonderful post which I'm sure will spur me to think of new ways to honor her.

8:20 AM EDT  
Anonymous Denise Miller said...

Excellent cause! Happy Mother's Day to all you wonderful Moms. Later today, my family is going over to my Mom's house for a cookout. (The men will do the grilling today) My son is still sleeping (he's 16) so I don't know yet how he will celebrate with me. All I do know is there will be hugs and love galore. ♥

8:38 AM EDT  
Blogger Prettywitty504 said...

My mother is in New Orleans and I live in Indianapolis, so I won't see her today, but I will call her. She loves to talk on the phone! I'm a big supporter of Planned Parenthood and am ashamed of the trend in our government to take away women's rights.

8:51 AM EDT  
Blogger ~elise said...

Headed to my mom's today...feeling lucky to have her!

9:18 AM EDT  
Blogger marsha said...

I know I sound like a broken record, but your posts are incredible! And I wholly support Planned Parenthood. I will be spending the day with my Mother as we live together, but she is sadly slipping away from us. We will probably take her out to a restaurant tonight.

10:01 AM EDT  
Blogger Gail S said...

Commenting for the donations to Planned Parenthood, a great organization and thank you very much!

My daughter and I will be spending the afternoon with my mother and father, they're getting on up there and I know I'm lucky to still have them. Just lunch and companionship, very simple :)

10:18 AM EDT  
Blogger Beatrice said...

The title 'Perfume smelling things' is so evocative. I can smell perfumes & flowers because of it. Defunding Planned Parenthood & the war on women are travesties. Apparently those waging.war on us don't care about the harm it causes everyone, including them.

Happy Mothers Day to everyone who plays that role in someone's life.

10:25 AM EDT  
Anonymous Cynthia said...

Thanks for sharing memories of your mother, Beth. My Mom is gone now too, but never forgotten. She was my biggest supporter and best friend.

I wish I could identify a perfume with her, but she didn't wear perfume often, and was bemused by my fascination with it. Still, so many happy memories!

10:34 AM EDT  
Anonymous Mary Beth said...

What a wonderful snapshot of your mom, Beth! We're taking auntie and mummy and her apparati to brunch today. I'll cut her meat, remind her "Small bites and chew, please." and wonder and worry about what the rest of the year will bring. She's wearing Fleurissimo although a couple certain Sniffa faeries picked out Bluebell for her for her Sniffa package.

10:57 AM EDT  
Anonymous Jiyin said...

Oh, how great. You've inspired me to give financial support to Planned Parenthood as well. I agree that their mission is well worth supporting -- health care and personal freedom for women.

I'm not a mother myself, so today I'm driving over to my parents' house to cook lunch for my family. I have a card ready for my mom. I may also stop at the bakery and the florists' on my way!

11:19 AM EDT  
Blogger Cheryl G. said...

Such lovely, graceful memories of your mother. Mine, not so much, but I am smiling while shedding a tear for yours.

12:04 PM EDT  
Blogger Janet said...

Beth- Your love for your mother shines through in all of your stories. She sounds amazing.

I am having lunch with my kids and going to the garden store for more flowers for my garden.

Planed Parenthood is a crucial part of our healthcare system for the poor and uninsured. We need to support those systems like PP that work and insure healthcare or all.

12:13 PM EDT  
Blogger Doc Elly said...

Thank you for supporting Planned Parenthood!

I'll be phoning my mother today since she lives on the other side of the US, but we'll be having dinner with my mother-in-law this evening.

2:24 PM EDT  
Blogger Katherine said...

Thanks for your lovely post, Beth. I'm not a mother and my mother is gone, but I sent cards and called all the women in my life who have "mothered" me when I needed it.

I applaud your Planned Parenthood gift so much. What a great way to honor your mother's memory. Thank you.

2:44 PM EDT  
Blogger Vanessa said...

What a touching account of your associations with your mum, whose loss is still quite recent as these things go. My mother (long gone now) actually never encouraged us children to acknowledge the official Mother's Day occasion - maybe because she feared we'd slacken off in obedience and general helpfulness round the house the other 364 days of the year!

: - )

2:53 PM EDT  
Anonymous Ceci said...

What a wonderful post, Beth, your mother sounds like a beautiful and inspirational person.
Although I can't be with my mother today, I am calling her and hoping she enjoys the gift I sent her, beautiful soap scented with roses from Grasse.
Thank you for your generosity!

6:05 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

What a lovely post, Beth, and Kudos for your (and you Mothers) support of PP.

6:10 PM EDT  
Anonymous annemariec said...

I so much enjoyed reading that. Like yours, my mother rarely indulged herself but we did try and spoil her where we could. My 12 y.o. son cooked breakfast for me yesterday, and it was lovely.

Like Esz up there, I'm Australian, and am long accostomed to universal health care for all. We are lucky.

6:33 PM EDT  
Blogger Isa said...

In Spain we celebrated Mother's Day last week (May 1), but today I have spent some lovely moments with my mum too.
Her favorite perfume lately is Narciso Rodriguez for Her.

Happy mother's day to everybody!

7:37 PM EDT  
Blogger C. said...

Thank you for your generous memories.
And yes to Planned Parenthood.
Another yes to the scents that bring us back to our mothers.
For me it is lilac.
Today I am in lilac.

8:52 PM EDT  
Anonymous hongkongmom said...

what a beautiful piece about a beautiful woman, a beautiful part of life and a beautiful mommy, daughter relationship. we don't really celebrate mothers day...( I tell my kids all days are mothers days) but my 7 yr old son wrapped up all his ben 10 toys and gave them to me with a beautiful note! a very special woman in our community passed away in march and all the woman who loved her so much, support each other in our loss and in keeping her light shining and all wished each other happy mothers day.
The diff co ailleurs de fleurs was perfume choice. bluebell was worn to a girlfriends birthday brunch on frid.

10:51 PM EDT  
Blogger Flora said...

Beth, what a wonderful story, your mother was a treasure, and so are you!

I am not a mother and my own mother is also gone, but I thought of her today when I was doing some heavy cleaning and all the other things I have to do to keep my household together, about how she somehow managed to take care of all of us after my father died. I don't think we ever really appreciated or understood what she had to do and how hard it was for her - she had to learn to drive at the age of 40 and find a job that would somehow support four children. I did have the chance to tell her that much later, before she passed away. I still have her bottle of Demi-Jour an I never wear it without thinking of her.

Planned Parenthood is also one of my favorite organizations, and I have supported it over the years. Nothing else can really replace the services it provides.

1:29 AM EDT  
Anonymous L said...

I spent a wonderful, relaxed Mother's Day with my mom. We planted some flowers in her whiskey barrel and sat outside in the breeze.

How wonderful of you to donate to Planned Parenthood!

1:44 AM EDT  
Blogger Madelyn E said...

What a beautiful reminiscence of your happy memories . I feel your mother's presence as your words bring her to life .. I wish she was here in body, but I realize your are in touch with her presence and spirit.
I am lucky in that my mother, mother in law and Aunt are very much alive.
We celebrated Mother's Day at a lovely little restaurant next to my Aunt's Assisted Living home in glen Cove , Long Island.
Aunt Ethel was fully dressed up and made up and even perfumed (courtesy of her niece ahem ..ahem).
We exchanged cards and some gifts .
Even the family cats were included.
Aunt Ethel is about 95 and my mother is still"39".
We all enjoyed a sense of family and of American tradition too !
Reading your writings stir within me a sense of valueing tituals and the little comforts of living.
Breakfast in bed on fine china, accompanied by jasmine tea sounds so delightful .
It really is a pleasure to envision.
I echo your support of Planned Parenthood , which, is a "friend" to women of all ages . It is basic healthcare, accessible, nonjudgemental and affordable. Let's strive to keep it that way :)

6:01 AM EDT  
Blogger Alice said...

I enjoyed your post! Thanks for your support of Planned Parenthood-a worthy cause, indeed! It sounds like your mother was a grand lady!

My mother is gone, as well, but my children and husband spent part of the day with his mother. She lives just a few minutes away from us and she is a blessing to us every day!

8:31 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what a lovely remembrance of your mother. i love how you go to visit her, and where you spread her ashes. very sweet.


2:23 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

btw, i am a big fan of your omelette/frittata/hot dog extravaganza! must try it myself! have been making mushroom/spinach/cheese frittatas lately... and yours sounds like a delicious variation.


2:26 PM EDT  
Anonymous Maureen said...

What a lovely post. My mother is also gone for quite awhile now...I miss her every day still. I remember her likng a fragrance called Royal Secret and one called Galore. Also she loved Passion and White Diamonds. And very hot pink lipstick! A beautifully put together woman always.
I have always supported Planned Parenthood, and am very glad to see so many others do too.
I spent the day with my daughter and my mother-in -law, with flowers and brunch and laughter.

3:05 PM EDT  
Blogger odonata9 said...

What a wonderful post! And what a great idea to honor your mother by supporting her cuase. It is a worthy one, espeically given what is going on today with PP. Many of my friends had to use their services just for basic healthcare when not insured after college.

3:42 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a lovely post about your mom! I'm a big fan of Planned Parenthood--they give choices to people who often don't have any. My son came for a visit and foraged, picked and schlepped ramps to PHX! He then made ramps and potatoes and ramp pesto. For Mother's Day morning he made bagels from scratch--what a treat! It was perfect.

5:34 PM EDT  
Blogger samberg said...

A charming post, a beautiful ode to motherhood, and a thoughtful way to support Planned Parenthood. Add my buck to the pile. :)

6:45 PM EDT  
Blogger Proximity said...

Thanks for a beautiful post. I believe in Planned Parenthood and everything that they do - and all the people they help. Thank you so much for your donations :)

7:16 AM EDT  
Blogger YellerKitty said...

I'm reading this a few days after Mother's Day, because on Mothers Day, I was in Arkansas with my son. What a lovely tribute to your mother, and to her incredible legacy. In honor of you both, I am going directly to the Planned Parenthood site and making an additional donation. The work they do is so important for women's health, and I thank you, and your wonderful mother, for supporting them. And don't you know that the next time I concoct a luscious egg dish, I'll be thinking of you both? Indeed I will.

10:08 PM EDT  

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