Sunday, January 04, 2009

You Can't Beat Mom's Recipe

One of the innumerable reasons why I married Mrs. Woody is that she reminds me a lot of my own Mom. She has many of the same wonderful qualities that Mom possesses, along with not a few of her own. This combination of qualities means that Woody is a happy man indeed.

Take, for instance, food. I'm big (har!) on comfort foods. There are certain foods that always work for me, no matter what my mood. Lasagna is one such. Mrs. Woody discovered a crock-pot version that we enjoy tremendously. Six hours on "Low" and we have a comfort food dinner.

One of my favorite holiday memories involves the seemingly gigantic pot of clam chowder that Mom would make every year. She would make it early in the day, then leave it on the stove for anyone who got a little peckish for shellfish throughout the day. No schedule; just good tasting food.

Mrs. Woody discovered this tradition during one of our early Christmases together. Mom was still living in the old house in Simi Valley and we were living just down the highway a few miles. Mrs. Woody thoroughly enjoyed the chowder and naturally asked Mom about the recipe. When she discovered just how easy it was, a new (old) comfort food was introduced at Hacienda Woody.

So Friday night (a tad late, but we've been sick) we put together Mom's Clam Chowder™. Got a couple of meals out of it, except for Jelly who is more than a little suspicious of rubbery foods. For Woody it was a chance to zoom back in time to Mom's kitchen which was always more than just a food preparation area. Mom's kitchen was the nerve center of the family. It was the Gathering Place where we could hang out and (because the statute of limitations had long since run out) tell embarrassing stories about each other so Mom could pretend to be horrified about what awful children we were.

Mrs. Woody also picked up on Mom's pumpkin pie recipe. No big secret there, I'm afraid, because it's the same recipe that comes straight off the can of pumpkin. But it holds that one secret ingredient that instantly identifies it as Mom's (or Mrs. Woody's) recipe: lots of love. It's another one of those tastes that instantly transports me to other times and places, always with terrific memories attached. A few funny ones, too, but Woody is far too galant to share them with his bloggy audience.

As Mrs. Woody said, "You can't beat Mom's recipe!" It just works.

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