Tuesday, August 1, 2017
At Joe's request, the birthday cake on Saturday was baked by Sean, a Norwegian success cake. Suksesskake is traditionally served at important celebrations, and turning 80 is certainly important and celebration!
Also at his request, Joe himself made our dinner, German Lentil Stew, and turned down all offers of assistance. Both Joe's soup and Sean's cake were welcomed. I would have gladly made any meal he requested, but this was what he most wanted. There is something about a batch of homemade soup on the table that adds to any family gathering, but this was special. He first made this soup on February 4 1973 when I was pregnant with Ben. I have made it too many times to count, he has continued to make it too so it has been a family favorite; all my sons make it and their families vote for it too. In years to come, I wonder if the name will change to "Papa's Birthday Soup." That makes me smile. Happy Birthday, Joe! You are so loved. When the candle was lit and the birthday song sung, I smiled, too, at the mixture of names when the words came to "Happy Birthday, dear....Joe, Dad, Joe, Papa." What a gift you are to us, and what a treasure of family gathers and loves, all beginning with the birth of a 10 pound baby boy on July 26, 1937.
Saturday, May 6, 2017
A post with this title could refer to Daylight Savings Time, or Spring Forward, which happened a week or so ago. We changed clocks on everything that is not computerized so that the clock changes automatically and prepared ourselves for darker mornings and light lasting longer in the evenings, with everything seeming off balance for a few days. Or it could refer to the fast changing cultural time we are experiencing. Or just the changes involved in the arrival of Spring. But I am telling the story of a family dinner that has changed.
Once I wrote how I loved our Sunday dinners after church, with most of our family gathered around our dining table which once belonged to my Grandma Terrell. She loved Sunday dinners after church too,. I remember thinking and saying then that I was grateful for those times together because I knew it would not always be like that. Our family grew and schedules changed and people changed and the picture tilted. For a time it seemed like family dinners were no longer going to be a regular thing.
Then something familiar began to happen. After Joe and I began to share this home with Ben and his family, we decided to have 2 shared meals a week - on Fridays, I would prepare dinner and Ben would be chef for another weekend night. About 2 months ago when I was making Beef Bourguignon, I considered how big my pot was and wondered if our busy oldest son and daughter in law would like to come after work and bring their daughter who is in high school. Teion, our daughter in law, responded quickly that she and Skye would love to come but Sean would be working late. They came early and Skye played with Nora, who adores her. Baby Oliver is always in demand for cuddling. I finished making my beef and wine and toasted sourdough bread to serve it on and we feasted. Sean got some leftovers brought to him. Teion and Skye said they would love to come next Friday night, Our oldest granddaughter texted that she wanted to come to Friday nights and bring her friend Kasey. Sean began to leave work in time to come for part of the meal. And suddenly, our Sunday dinner after the church began to happen on Friday nights! Of course, Jeremy and Michala live in Nevada now and that is not an option for them to join us, but when they were here in January with Jordann and Maddie, our whole family gathered for the feast. Ben and Kristen are gracious co-hosts.
We are too many to go around Grandma's smaller oak table, but we can all fit around Ben and Kristen's dining table which we use in our dining room now. I served the Chicken Nogales ( * KitchenKeeper blog link posted below) pictured above. The only difference was I doubled the recipe! We are many more around the table as the years pass. We are a noisy, happy bunch that enjoys each other and good food. Times do change, but some things about us never do.
Saturday, September 10, 2016
So, the table would go to Sean. But first, I wanted to give it a little help. Joe and I bought the table from Storehouse, a company at the time with a reputation for quality natural wood furniture. We had it made from pecan wood. The butcher block wood and parson's style made it perfect for a succession of chairs to go around it. I knew of a local craftsman who makes things from old wood. His artistry is beyond recycling or repurposing. So we loaded the table into my truck, took it to Mr. Hawkins in Rosenberg, and asked him what he could do with it. He loved the table and in spite of the cost he quoted for its restoration, I left it in his hands. I liked that he loved the table too. Nearly 3 months later, our family table is in another kitchen, and it is still our family table. we recently had breakfast with Sean and Teion and Skye, along with Ben, Nora, plus Tim and Debi, family friends. It felt right. On the table, along with the breakfast casserole, they placed a framed poem I wrote many years ago. The following is the copy of the poem I posted once on my "kitchen" blog. www.kitchenkeepers.wordpress.com
Saturday, November 28, 2015
Thanksgiving Day has come and gone, Advent begins tomorrow. The 2 days are not always so close together, but it seems appropriate to move from the posture of marking gratitude to these next weeks of waiting and expectancy. I love so many things about these celebrations. There is the time set aside for personal reflection and recollection. There is time for family gathering and celebrating. This Thanksgiving has brought a keen awareness of how precious our times together are and how much I appreciate the occasion because it draws people home. The coming year brings great change for all of us, some already known. Jobs and homeplaces are relocating, our grandchildren are growing up. Next year gatherings may be different in numbers and place. So I need to say one more time how grateful I am that all our thirteen of our sons, their wives and our grandchildren were together for hugs and laughter, fun in the kitchen, remembering, and circling our great feast for Joe to pray a blessing and thanksgiving for our family, our food, our being together. Not many pictures, but so many, many good memories.
Thanksgiving 2015. Blessed.
Friday, November 13, 2015
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
This post also appears in my blog Kitchen Keepers. www.kitchenkeepers.wordpress.com
There I usually write about what is happening in my kitchen, and offer both old favorite and new family recipes. This story could so easily have gone into either blog, I decided to post in both!
Sunday, August 2, 2015
Now that our family numbers 13 when we are all here to celebrate a birthday, celebrations are often so lively my photos are not great, but the smiles and joy they capture certainly are. Since Ben's and Joe's birthdays are close on the calendar and we spread the celebrating out over various times and occasions, we start sometime after the 4th of July and finish up the month in the afterglow! Ben's cake was Maddie's creation, using a family recipe called Mississippi Mud Cake. Maddie and Jordann and Skye made a butterfly cake and Reese's cupcakes for Joe's party. I am happy to have lots of help in the kitchen!
Friday, April 3, 2015
I thought about Easters in the seventies when we decorated and hid eggs for our three little boys, dressed them up and took them to church and to visit grandparents. I thought about Easters in the past 15 years when I found just the right Easter dress to delight first one, then two, three, four, and now five sweet granddaughters! I smiled when I pictured the fun we have had with our little boys and these little girls decorating eggs, cookies, and cakes, and gathering our growing family around Grandma Terrell's dining table in our home. Which led me to think of that same table surrounded by my grandparents, parents, my sister and me, and sometimes others. Always my sister and I proudly wore Easter dresses sewed by Mother. Often we had a coat, hat, and purse to match! Those little girl Easters always included going to an outdoor Easter sunrise service in a rock ampitheater. Those red rocks made for hard, cold seating and shivering little girls in the early hours.
I thought about all the Easter baskets and Easter bunnies these memories represent, including this stern looking celluloid blue and white bunny that was mine in 1941, my very first Easter. I have no recollection of that Easter, of course, but the fact that this odd little rattle was something Mother kept and passed on to me is significant. She remembered.
Remembering is really what matters after all. In all the little signs and symbols of Easter there is one common thread, one reason for each: to help us remember. We remember that Christ came, that he lived to show us how to live, was crucified, laid in a grave, and that he rose on the third day. We sing the Easter songs and celebrate with joy because we remember.
We practice resurrection and redemption. Happy Easter!
Thursday, June 19, 2014
The "canvas" for this work of art is a plain paper table napkin! Sean has done hundreds of these, all unique, for tucking into his daughter's school lunch box! What began when she was in preschool continued for several years, each morning bringing a representation of Skye's choice the night before. When I was little, my mother used to ask me what I wanted for breakfast this next morning. I would tell her "cinnamon toast" and that is what was on the table the following day before I went to school. Skye would answer the question "What do you want for your napkin tomorrow?" And there would be seahorse,a dragonfly a tiger a mermaid, bees or a wolf! All for Skye, all containing "I love you, Dad."
Joe didn't tell Sean what image he wanted. The image is a gift in that way too. Joe's July birthday makes him a Leo. But Sean's love of The Lion of Judah and Narnia's Aslan shines through his offering to his Dad, Sean's own dear Lion King.
This "I love you, Dad" is a to instead of from. I love it.
Saturday, November 30, 2013
Friday, January 18, 2013
Two weeks ago, those in our family who live in this part of Texas gathered to enjoy the hospitality of our son, Sean, his wife, Teion, and their daughters Lauren and Skye. We enjoyed the traditional New Year's Black Eye Peas and Cabbage (with a twist of Indian seasoning) as we welcomed the beginning of another year and thanked God for the blessings we share as a family. Forty-five years ago, Joe and I celebrated the beginning of 1968 in San Antonio as we waited for Sean's birth. The morning of January 13, 1968 was blustery and cold as I struggled into a coat I had made for myself that no longer would meet in the front to button! Our lives changed forever with his birth, and we celebrated it with joy. There is even deeper joy as we celebrate his life after these years shared. Each year, New Year's thoughts and plans will always include our pride and gratitude for him.
Thursday, January 3, 2013
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
I have enjoyed asking family members each year "What would you like for your birthday dinner?" That has produced Italian meals more than once, Indonesian and Mexican food often. We have had a murder mystery game dinner, a luau, and cookouts.
So I was not surprised recently when Joe said "I have decided what I want to do for my birthday!" "A dinner," he said -with our family. Here. (at home) And I want violin music!" So of course, that is exactly what we had this past weekend. For Joe's 75th birthday he finally did not have "Cheap Cream Cake." He had lasagne and all the trimmings, tiny cupcakes, family, and unspeakably beautiful violin music. Aija Isaacs, who teaches music to several family members, brought her family and violin and gave us an enchanted evening.
My birthday present to Joe is in the photo below, a collage of a great many of the tickets to events, musicals, and theatre we have enjoyed through our nearly 50 years together. I can say without hesitation that his birthday evening of violin music was the best of all by the expression on his face. Many thanks to Aija, to our children for all their help with the evening, and to our friend Tommy Gay Dawson for her lasagne!
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Clyde, as the baby was called, was born into adversity and affliction of circumstance. But she was also born into a close family circle as her mother moved back home to relatives. I don't know much about her childhood, but I do know she loved her siblings dearly and spoke of them often. In 1904 she married Hezekiah Peyton Terrell and gave birth to 3 sons and a daughter. Opal, her daughter, was my mother. I became Clyde and Ky's first grandchild.
Clyde Terrell mourned the death of her oldest son, Vinnon, due to a hunting accident on Christmas Day in 1922. She never drove a car, never lived in a house with indoor plumbing until she was nearly 80. She raised her family on a farm in Smith County, Texas, drew water from a well, washed the family laundry in an iron wash pot set over a fire in the yard, and hung the clothes on a line outside to dry after which she ironed them with a flatiron kept hot on the wood stove. She planted morning glories and old maids, kept a garden for vegetables, milked a cow, hung slaughtered meat in a smokehouse, and kept chickens for eggs as well as wringing their necks for Sunday dinner for the preacher. She put up berries and peaches along with peas and green beans in mason jars with sealed lids and baked pies and tea cakes. She lived by "use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without!" Therefore, she sewed her own clothing, replaced buttons, turned collars and cuffs on Papa's shirts, and made patchwork quilts with what was left. She was an adept seamstress, adding embellishments of crochet, tatting, hemstitching, and cutwork to aprons, pillowcases and tea towels.
I remember being folded into her soft, sweet embrace and never felt more loved. I remember drinking cold well water from a dipper, picking berries with her, and stubbing my toe on the red dirt road when we walked to the mailbox. I remember that she welcomed folks to her door and to her table, the same one that my own family gathered around for lunch after church today. However, she always put a clean white tablecloth on top, and when anything was blooming, a jar of flowers on the table. Whether we were eating fried chicken or cornbread, biscuits or berry cobbler, the food was always delicious and warm and her welcome even moreso.
But most of all I remember her deep faith in and love of God. She knew God loved her and trusted him unfalteringly. She was a woman of prayer. She didn't just go to church, it was a part of her and she was a part of the people and their worship and service. Her pastor and his wife were her best friends. I loved going to church with her because she loved it so much. She had tragedies. She did not have what most would call an easy life. But she lived in gratitude and praise for the blessings she had.
Grandma died one month before her 90th birthday in 1977. I still miss her. This morning just as dawn was arriving, I went out into our garden and picked these yellow roses in her honor. She had an old rose bush near the front window of their house at the top of the red dirt road. She often brought bouquets of the blooms in for her table. They were golden yellow.
Saturday, February 11, 2012
I found these words while reading a blog I enjoy - http://www.throwbackroad.com/
I want to echo "in family life, be completely present." In today's busy schedules, the actual waking hours families spend with each other can be reduced to few. By the time work, school, sports, music and/or dance classes get their share of a calendar day, there may not be much left. Meals grabbed to be eaten in the car on the way to another activity and family members each on their own cell phone or electronic device are common sights.
Is it possible to make choices that claim actually being present in family life? I think so.
Preparing food together and then sitting down around a table at home is an important, and certainly a great boost for the budget. If we turn off the television, give the same attention to each other that we seem to give to phone calls and texts, I believe family time can not only be something to look forward to, but a time we can learn to enjoy being together, completely present.
When our children and grandchildren gather here, we make an effort to have sit-down meals together. Many times, this is around the old oak dining table which belonged to my grandmother. I believe her smile joins ours as we have our table blessing and pass the potatoes, present to each other.
Saturday, December 31, 2011
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Monday, September 5, 2011
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
As I picked up my spoon, I recognized a piece of vintage silverplate. Not a fancy pattern, but simple, beautiful, and achingly familiar. We didn't have a lot of fancy kitchenware when I was growing up – no matching pots and pans, no crystal, mostly mismatched plates and bowls and glasses,stainless flatware, miscellaneous plastic and wood handled spoons and serving items. The knives and forks and spoons we used for every day meals were in a shallow drawer on one side of the short kitchen counter. But the spoon I held in my hand was kept with a matched set. This was my mother's silverplate, the pieces she kept in a box she had painted light green to match her kitchen at one point. She had a set of butter yellow china that she kept on a high cabinet shelf. The silverware box sat by itself at the end of the counter. This flatware she pulled out for use for special or holiday meals, or when we had company.
When my mother sold her small house to move into a still smaller apartment, she gave many things to my sister and me, and to her grandchildren, who call her Nana.
She gave Ben the green box. In the years to come he kept the box and its contents on his own kitchen counter. He made Sunday after-church dinners and a Mothers' Day lunch to which Nana was invited. She noticed his use of her silverware, and bragged on his cooking. Now, he and Kristen have given the delicately traced knives and forks and spoons a place of honor in a drawer of their beautiful china cabinet. I felt Nana nodding and saw her smile last night as we began to fork bites of Ben's delicious pastry. I know she approved. Her spirit and her spoons continue to bless the gathering of family.
Monday, July 4, 2011
1/3 cup butter
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
Begin heating oven to 425 degrees. Put butter into an 8 inch round iron skillet and place in oven. While butter is melting, put eggs, milk, and flour into blender jar and mix throughly. Take hot skillet out of oven and pour batter directly into melted butter. Do not stir. Place back into oven for about 20 minutes, or until puffed and browned. I cut it into fourths and top with fresh berries or peaches and sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar. If you wish, add a dollop if whipped cream. Garnish with a sprig of mint.
Optional: Add vanilla or a dash of nutmeg for flavor. We like it plain.