Flower and sugar
Sunday August 08th 2010, 10:21 pm
Filed under: Family,Food

I forgot to add on yesterday’s post: at one point we were in an area of Foothill Park where there was a wide expanse of grass. They decided it might be a good place to let the baby out to run off some energy. I stayed in the car, out of the sun, reading the newspaper, Richard staying too to keep me company; not ideal but it worked. I did mention to them before they got out the rattlesnake we’d seen once over there by the trees, which had a creek hidden behind; umm, might not want to go that far.  Mountain lion country too.  Open is better.

Oh, okay, good to know!

Rachel, however, plunked right down in that grass where they put her and sat playing in great delight with the tiny flowers she found growing there.

Well, hey, that works, they decided.

My niece the flower child. I love it.

In the meantime…

Michelle, who is always looking for a good dairy-free recipe, made rice krispies treats today to take to some friends, leaving some for us.  It brought back memories that I don’t think I’d told her before: my little sister and my dad and I went on a visit to his widowed mother’s in Walnut Creek, California, the summer I was 16 and Anne turned 15. In happy anticipation of our arrival, Grandmother had made a big pan of those for us.

This was the grandmother who lived across the continent from us in an age when both planes and long-distance phone calls were monopoly-owned and hideously expensive. We didn’t get to see or talk to her often, and though I loved her, I didn’t know her well.

I hadn’t had those in ages. To me, it seemed like a little kid’s treat from way back in my childhood: so sugary. So sticky.  So not-Adelle Davis-healthy.  (Davis began the health food movement in the ’50’s and ’60’s; running and checking, my copy of her Let’s Eat Right says 1947.)

I’d been baking a lot of cookies and bread in my mom’s kitchen for awhile by then, often grinding my own wheat for the bread especially, and like a lot of teenagers, thought rather highly of my own skills–and I’d been raised by a mom who thought desserts should be a last chance to get good nutrition into her kids: she would make fruit pies, blueberry cakes, (that was a collective swoon you just heard from all my siblings) Davis’s wheat germ and powdered milk “Butterscotch Brownies” with, ahem, not the slightest hint of chocolate… (I still love them. My friends thought they were the weirdest ever, and probably still would, and they were, and I still do.) Mom’s pear-and-lime pie creation won an award once.

At least with popcorn you get a little fiber, and one year for a birthday cake I got, at my request, a great big tube-pan-shaped popcorn ball for slicing onto your plate. Dyed in green food coloring. I wanted different and I wanted green and by golly I got it and the sense of triumph that my mom had actually created that for me is one of the delights of my childhood.

If it was rice krispies and not popcorn, set me straight, Mom, but my memory is it was popcorn and that the popcorn came out tough, but oh well–it was green! And unique!

Can you say contemporary-art-dealer’s daughter?

Empty-puffs cereal, butter, and melted marshmallows. And yet. Grandmother had made those treats just for us, and I had enough sense to be touched by that and enough of a kid’s craving for sugar to enjoy them.  And so I let myself rediscover rice krispies treats. It wasn’t till writing this just now that I realized how much of an effort it must have been for her to stand and stir that sticky mixture on the stove–Grandmother had rheumatoid arthritis! I don’t make them, so I just never saw clearly before the effort it must have taken her.  (Man, am I slow.)  She was trying so hard to create good memories for us. And she did. Oh, she did.

I did not know it was the last time I would ever see my Grandmother Jeppson.

I told Michelle she’d made my grandmother’s treat and that it had brought back all these memories. She was delighted.

And I ate some of Michelle’s, too. Because I love her, too. (Adding chocolate chips–‘Shelle, you are SO my daughter!)

6 Comments so far
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That brings back memories for me too. Sometimes someone would melt chocolate chips on top.MMMMMMM that was a treat.

Comment by pat flores 08.09.10 @ 3:22 am

Hmm, did yours have peanut butter in them? We had peanut butter krispie treats when I was young- there may have been some marshmallow, too. We liked them, but my favorite cookie still has to be my own grandmother’s chocolate molasses cookies with homemade butter frosting. I make them nearly every year at Christmastime.

Comment by RobinH 08.09.10 @ 8:39 am

rice krispie treats were a go to treat when we needed to whip up something quickly — my daughter still loves them — and they came to be known as “soup” at our house — a remnant of my having made them with a crafting friend at a “midnight madness” craft session and not wanting to wait for them to set up, we ate them with a spoon right out of the bowl — soup!

we used to stir in a package of M&M miniature dark chocolate candies — can’t beat that touch of chocolate!

(ok, now I’m going to have to go get the stuff to make a batch!)

Comment by Bev 08.09.10 @ 8:48 am

Now I think that is distinctly unfair! All this talk of yummy desserts, and you’ve got me drooling into my keyboard!

Comment by Don Meyer 08.09.10 @ 9:27 am

Hmm..yes…hubs favorite treat, but his nasty wife hardly ever makes them! All that sugar, and what to balance it? Oh yes…chocolate! One of the essential food groups. 🙂

Comment by Ruth 08.09.10 @ 4:12 pm

I just want to apologize right here and in front of everyone that I have not been reading every day and commenting.
Thank you for sharing your memories with us!

Comment by karin maag-tanchak 08.09.10 @ 8:39 pm

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