Food For Thought:
My mother, also affectionately known as The Split Personality Eater, is angry, which is unusual for her. She’s never mad. At the local community college where she works, she’s a ray of sunshine. I can’t go the bathroom in that place without a student stopping me to tell me about my wonderful mother. A grandchild can break a china cup and a twinkle will come to her eye and she’ll smile, saying, “Don’t worry about it. I’ll find another one at an auction.”
And, she’s full of energy!
At seventy-two, she still works full time in the tutoring center and spends her weekends in her much-loved antique stand, dealing in vintage clothing. At our last Sunday dinner, she asked what we thought about her embarking on a PhD.
And this is a woman who never complains, who won’t send bad food back in a restaurant, who doesn’t know what road rage is, and who has never uttered a curse word. Although, my father insists she’s started to swear at the dog when he pees in the house.
But she’s mad.
Recently on a visit to my dad in the hospital, I used the valet parking. The attendant asked me, as he nodded toward my mother in the passenger’s seat, “Do you need help with her?” The Split Personality popped out of the car with the force of a pole-vaulter and sprinted into the lobby.
“How dare he say that?” she demanded when I caught up to her. She was stunned.
And then there was the grocery clerk who asked her if she wanted the senior citizen discount. My mother, her voice uncharacteristically sharp, corrected the poor woman, asking her, “How do you know I’m a senior?”
These reminders of her mortality, these innocuous questions—piss her off.
That’s why the grandkids call her Sue Sue, short for Suzanne—not Granny, Grandmom, or Nana—no way, those names sound too old!
My mother is not ready to be old or even worse—elderly. There’s just too much more living to do. But once in a while she’ll say that time is running out, that it’s late in the second half of a great soccer game. And quite frankly, I can’t imagine a world without her. It’s incomprehensible that she won’t always be on the other end of the phone when I call. Even my moody teenage son, The Grazer, says, “I hope Sue Sue will be alive to dance at my wedding.”
I hope she is, too.
So, don’t check on the elderly.
Instead—invite those older, wiser, wonderful people for Sunday Dinner.
As a child, I have vivid memories of Sunday afternoons at my grandmother’s house with the inviting aroma of a chicken roasting in the oven. In honor of all grandmothers, we’re having Old-Fashioned Roasted Chicken w/Herb Gravy, Spinach & Mandarin Salad, and Buttery Curried Rice. I’ve updated the recipe with a fresh herb gravy. Enjoy!
Old-Fashioned Roasted Chicken Ingredients:
5-7 lbs whole chicken, innards removed (and if you’re making one, make two and have extra meat for sandwiches throughout the week)
Fresh Rosemary, Thyme, Parsley
2 Tbsp crushed garlic
1 whole onion – quartered
McCormick Perfect Pinch Rotisserie Chicken Spice
Old-Fashioned Roasted Chicken Instructions:
Rinse chicken. Stuff chicken with rosemary, thyme, parsley, onion, and celery.
Drizzle olive oil over chicken and then smear crushed garlic over the chicken. Generously sprinkle McCormick Perfect Pinch Rotisserie Chicken Spice on all side of chicken.
Roast at 365 degrees for two hours.
Herb Gravy Ingredients:
Fresh Rosemary, Thyme, Parsley – approximately 2 Tbsp each
Crushed Garlic – 2 Tbsp
2 cups Chicken Broth
3 Tbsp Flour
Herb Gravy Instructions:
Mince the fresh herbs and garlic together. Remove the chicken(s) from the roasting pan and set aside to rest. Meanwhile, place the roasting pan on the cooktop on medium heat. Stir and scrap the drippings from the bottom of the pan, bringing the liquid to a boil. Then add the herb/garlic mixture and cook until garlic becomes fragrant. Add flour and stir vigorously. Lastly, add the chicken broth and whisk until gravy thickens to a smooth consistency.
Spinach & Mandarin Salad Ingredients:
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 Tbsp sugar
1 bag of baby spinach
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 can mandarin oranges, drained
Spinach & Mandarin Salad Instructions:
In a small saucepan, cook almonds and sugar, stirring constantly. Sugar will melt and the coat almonds, which will turn a beautiful golden brown. You’ll find the flavors of the candied nuts so much more intense when made at home like this than what you’d buy in the grocery store. Remove almonds to cool and then break into bunches. Mix almonds, spinach, onion, and mandarin oranges together and coat generously with the dressing described next.
Spinach & Mandarin Salad Dressing Ingredients:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
1/2 Tsp salt
dash of pepper
dash of red pepper sauce
Mix all ingredients together in a shaker. Refrigerate for at least two hours.
Buttery Curried Rice Ingredients:
4 cups cooked white rice
3 Tbsp curry powder
1 onion chopped
1 stick of butter
handful of olives, chopped
1 cup chicken broth
Buttery Curried Rice Instructions:
Prepare rice. Meanwhile, melt butter and curry, stir in onion and cook until softened. Add olives and cook a few more minutes. Add chicken broth. Stir vigorously. Then add the cooked rice and mix so that the rice is coated with the curry and turns yellow. I usually add more butter before serving. Have a wonderful Sunday dinner!
Thought For The Week:
Do you remember a Sunday dinner with your grandparents?
Share a memory in the comments.