Monday, June 23, 2008

How I Entered Tasha Tudor's Private World

I had a rush of memories after reading about Tasha Tudor's death last week, and I headed to the bookshelf to pull out my well-worn copy of this book to reminisce. It was the ONLY book that engaged my daughter Joy when she was a toddler. Her older siblings sat in my lap by the hour as we read book after book. Not Joy. She displayed an independent spirit from the first and would grab the book out of my hand while announcing, "I read it MYSELF!" Then she would run to a quiet corner somewhere and jabber while turning the pages.

I was concerned. Reading is what I do and I wanted to do it together. Perhaps I wanted it too much, because nothing could entice her to sit on my lap for a book.

Enter Tasha Tudor. My Mom gave me a copy of Tasha Tudor's Private Word, a glossy coffee table type of book with gorgeous photographs. Joy was mesmerized. We bleated with the goat, used our fingers to stir Tasha Tudor's soup pot, petted the kitty, and said rhymes about the full moon pictured in the book. We did this SO MANY TIMES that even today when I turn the pages I walk my fingers up Tasha Tudor's snow-covered steps and count as I go. It is an ingrained response.

I asked Joy if she remembered this book? Yes, she remembered. This said with a coy little smile. She still is and always will be "Miss Independence", but I am thankful that this one book is a shared memory for the two of us.

Thanks, Mom!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

June Joys

  • On my evening walk I spotted the first fireflies of the season. Always a thrill!
  • The heavy, sweet smell of linden tree blossoms is pervasive this evening.
  • A purple finch showed off his colors to me today.
  • Children in the driveway with paintbrushes in hand, happily creating art work.
  • Pork chops wafting their tantalizing aroma as they cook on the grill.
  • Fresh strawberries.
  • Reading The Sign of the Beaver late at night in our jammies.
  • A big bowl of popcorn and a good movie: I Am David

Most of these summer joys are perennial; enjoyed year after year. Yet the newness of the season makes it feel as though I am experiencing it all for the first time. The mercies of the Lord are truly new every morning. Great is HIS faithfulness!

Thursday, June 12, 2008


I've been contemplating some significant changes that have transpired the past six months:

*Melody got a debit card and a driver's permit on the same day last January
*Followed by a cell phone
*And has started a little part time job for the summer
*Will get her braces off next month!!!

My son has changed, too.
*Most notably, he is now officially taller than his Dad.
*His voice has changed into a rich baritone
*He LIKES to practice his guitar and does so 1 to 3 hours a day

Joy has racked up several "firsts" for our family:
*Has participated in a community league for both basketball and softball
*Will be entering a private Christian school this fall for Junior High

Last but not least, Artiste has
*Met new friends in the neighborhood
*Kept her Dad moving. They like to shoot hoops and take rides on the bike trail together.

Speaking of moving, I have upgraded my exercise routine to include a trip to the gym 2 or 3 times a week in addition to my daily walking. The Leslie Sansone videos have served me well the past 5 years, but I needed to bump up the routine. The nearby Lutheran campus offers the use of their gym to the community for a very low price. I like the fact that I have a punch card and don't have to pay for visits that I don't make; each visit is just an affordable $2.00 plus I have the benefit of meeting new friends, mostly elderly ladies!! Much less intimidating than those co-ed gyms that have scantily clad patrons....

Finally, a really major change that involves the whole family has to do with our television habits. We have had Sky Angel for several years and the satellite was retired in March. The result: we have broken our addiction to watching the news and time wasting re-runs. After having NO TV for several months, we are now getting DVDs a few times a month from Netflix. I like it, because we can choose our viewing intentionally. Although I was the family member who watched TV the least, I still feel a great freedom to be rid of its subtle control.

Kitchen Culture

I'm a firm believer that culture begins in the kitchen. Last evening, I visited with a young man who was enthusiastically detailing his Grandmother's cooking. He said her food is so good, he sometimes CRIES when he eats it! All the while we conversed he was expressing his gratefulness to her. This is love made tangible, and what wonderful memories this Grandmama has created!

My cooking has never elicited such a dramatic response, but then I'm not a Grandma yet! I aspire to develop such talent.

Here's my humble offering for this week. The grocery store where I shop had big bags of tomatoes, slightly over-ripe, on sale for $1.99. No, they were not contaminated. I've been making a lot of BLTs this week, as well as using them sliced with cottage cheese. Tonight I have made my favorite soup recipe, which I share here. Though I usually make it in the winter, it's also appropriate for a light summer supper. Here it is:

Creamy Tomato Herb Soup

1 T. butter
1 med. onion, chopped
1 large clove of garlic, crushed
1/2 t. salt
fresh chopped rosemary, or 1/2 t. dried
fresh chopped basil, or 1/2 t. dried
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
2 c. chopped tomatoes
1 T. honey
4 oz. cream cheese (low fat works fine)
1 c. vegetable stock
finely chopped parsley to taste

In soup pot, cook onions and garlic in butter until onions are soft and translucent. Add the herbs and saute a few minutes more. Your kitchen will have an irresistible fragrance at this point!

Whir the cream cheese with tomato sauce and honey in the blender until smooth. Add this to the soup pot.

Next, add the chopped tomatoes and the vegetable stock.

Heat through.

Serve with chopped parsley and fat croûtons as a garnish.

Makes about 6 servings.

Friday, June 06, 2008

A Sad Story About a Lot of Things

"This is a sad story about a lot of things. One spoon of shuger for 12 days nothing else.
Cut off all the hair of the pepole.
6 years with potatoes nothing else.
They killed all the children.

I choked up when I read these words that my youngest daughter wrote. They were notes that she took at a recent lecture which featured the first hand experiences of two women who survived the holocaust. Wilma survived Nazi Germany. Rachel survived Auschwitz.

I stand with those who honor Israel on this the 6oth anniversary of her statehood.
The Rachels and the Wilmas who remain with us have stories that need to be heard.

Rachel's late husband wrote this book, in case you are interested in more detail.