Today’s blog is to address some emails that I am receiving regarding the following questions (1) Where did I gather so much knowledge about my mother’s past/youth for my book? (2) Do I have another quick and easy recipe? (3) Do I have a story strictly about mother and son.
I hope this answers those questions adequately…
One of the secrets that I have always shared with my mother is that out of all six of her children, I was the only one who was allowed to come home from school for lunch.
Each weekday at 12:00 noon as I was released from school, I would run with the speed of a cheetah, down the block-long hill, through the ally and across the street to our garden apartment, ready for whatever surprise lunch my mom had waiting for me. My two younger sisters, who were not of school age yet, played nicely in the yard or in their room until I returned to school and their lunch was then served.
I always loved this special time of the day. It was an hour of freedom that very few other kids in the neighborhood seemed to have. It was also my very own one-on-one quality time with my mother. Each day as I sat down at our country-style kitchen table, I would devour my mid-day meal as my mother regaled me with stories from her own childhood. I would listen in amazement to endless tales from the price of a depression-day candy bar (five cents) to her favorite movie (Miracle of Morgan’s Creek Staring Betty Hutton as Gertrude AKA “Trudy” Kockenlocker). I was encouraged to ask questions about pretty much anything that I wanted to know. It was through these personal moments that I learned many of the stories that now fill my novel “Unforgettable (Trudy’s Story).”
I asked my mom how she had met my biological father Mario and of course, it was an exceptional story befitting a Harlequin Romance paperback! I learned the birth stories of all of my siblings and loved the story of my birth the most! Perhaps I was a tad bias, but it truly was a fun tale about an obnoxious doctor with a happy little victorious moment for my mom. (It’s all in the book. Hahaha!)
Each year as the seasons would change and the weather started to grow cold, mom would try to dissuade me from making the trip home for lunch. In spite of her efforts, I would always nag until she gave in. I was like am Olympic Sprinter as a kid, so it quite literally took me no more than three minutes to get home from Cloverdale School # 213.
I’d arrive home quickly but chilled and mom would have some wonderful hot lunch waiting to be served to me. It may have consisted of anything from the previous night’s leftovers to hotdogs, grilled cheese and tomato soup, hamburgers or my all-time favorite, Welsh rarebit.
I adored the buttery, open-faced, grilled cheese on thick crusty bread. It was a welcome treat on a wintery afternoon. However because I claimed to “hate the smell of beer,” (I was a very dramatic child) my mom replaced the beer with either milk or broth in the thick, velvety, cheddar sauce.
Trudy’s Welsh Rarebit for a Growing Boy:
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
A pinch each of salt, Coleman’s dry mustard and white pepper
2 cups milk or chicken stock
A dash of Worcestershire sauce
2 cups shredded extra sharp Cheddar cheese
In a saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Stir in the flour to create a roux. Slowly add in the milk or stock while continuingly stirring. Add salt, mustard, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Continue stirring the mixture for about 10 minutes, until thickened. Remove from heat and add cheese, stirring to melt into the mixture.
Serve immediately over thick slices of buttered toasted bread.
How I long to return to the simple days of food without fear. These days I have treats like this very rarely, as I like my arteries to remain open. But when I do have them, I can still see my beautiful mother smiling across the table from me, laughing, singing and telling me a wealth of wonderful life stories.
Until next time,