Monday, February 13, 2006

What ever happened to my Grandmom's big box of buttons?

I could start off with some snow storm story but I won’t because I really don’t have one. On Saturday, I picked up my rations and prepared to hunker down Sunday.

Aside from church, Lrudlrick and I spent most of the day indoors enjoying the tranquility that falls upon New York City when a snow storm hits.

Sure there were the occasional walks with the dogs. The poor pooches desperately searched for the curb but finally relented and did their business on the lowest snow bank. P-man, who is approximately 30” tall struggled to see past the giant banks of snow and was happy to settle back into the toasty apartment.

I’ll be honest; I thought about going to the park and taking gorgeous winter landscapes. I thought about fighting the white out to steal some quiet time with me and nature but the appeal of a simmering pot of beef stew was too much. I spent the day making stew.

I’m a huge fan of one pot meals. Stews and soups have always been a big part of my culinary experience. My grandmother was a big soup fan. Every day we had soup. To this day, I try to have a bowl of soup every day, even if I don’t have time to make it from scratch.

At work, my lunch usually consists of soup and some crusty bread. There are a few shops by my job that make homemade soups that I frequent. There selection constantly rotates which ensures I never have the same soup twice in a week. I’ve always wondered what their kitchen must look like with so many varieties of soup in rotation. Lately, it has become so popular to have soup, one of the workers is constantly returning from their kitchen with a fresh pot of soup to replenish the dwindling supply.

I picture stoves with numerous pots of boiling goodness, cooks dicing vegetables and a little old Grandma ordering the towering cooks around.

My grandmother taught me how to make a traditional Chinese dumpling soup once. It was a lot of fun standing on my step stool stirring the pot while Grandma slowly dumped in the dumplings. It was the best tasting dumpling soup I’ve ever had, partly because I felt like I had a hand in making it with her. I remember her telling me that she didn’t like the soup. She said the dumplings stuck to her dentures but Grandpa loved the soup and the least she could do for him was make his favorite soup on occasion. As Grandpa and I slurped our soup, Grandma would sit there with her hot tea and a cigarette and tell us to finish it all because leftovers wouldn’t be as tasty.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my Grandparents lately. Just this morning, I recalled how Grandpa would walk me to school every morning. I couldn’t recall if we kissed before we said goodbye but I remember running to the red steps and turning to wave at him before I went inside.

Sometimes, I wish I could go back to that time. Something about feeling my tiny hand inside my Grandpa’s hand was comforting. Sometimes we’d talk about everything. Sometimes we’d walk in silence.

On Saturday, Grandma and I would walk to the local library. Grandma would wait for me at the desk while I picked out books I wanted to check out. On the way home, we’d stop at the market to pick up bread and milk. That was the day tea tasted the best because the bread was freshly bought. When we’d get home, Grandpa would put away the groceries in his special way.

He would take the ham from the deli and slice it to the exact measurements of our Tupperware which happened to fit perfectly onto a slice of Pullman bread without overlap. He’d sneak me the leftover pieces and when Grandma wasn’t looking he’d have a few slices too. He’d pick the best pieces of bread and set them aside for afternoon lunch and then store the rest in the bread bin.

There is a lot of innocence in my relationship with my Grandparents but I guess that’s what makes that relationship so unique. Even when teen angst terrorized my relationship with my father and mother, my relationship with my Grandparents remained the same. When I was suffering from raging angst, a sit in my Grandma’s couch watching her knit put me at ease.

I wish I had a Grandma couch in my office. It doesn’t have to be a big couch but it should have a shimmery fabric with giant flowers all over it. Heavy plastic covering is optional. When things seem to be spinning out of control, I could take a time out on the couch. On the coffee table there’d be a TV Guide and an old 4 button remote control. There would also be some rock hard coffee candies permanently cemented onto the candy dish and a big box of buttons which I could sort through to pick the prettiest ones. Ten minutes on the Grandma couch would really do me a world of good right now.