Gushing About Family and Brunch

May 8, 2011 § 2 Comments

Sunday morning. The neighbors were burning wood chips again. The air smelled like a lazy campfire. The temperatures were comfortable when I stepped out on the porch with a cup of coffee, so I put on a skirt for a change. Buds on the trees, electric with chlorophyll. Sun dodging clouds. I packed groceries for Mother’s Day brunch in Chuck’s backseat and drove over to my folks’ place to start bakin’ and cookin’. My sister, Rachel, and I had been swapping recipes all week trying to figure out what to make to properly celebrate and honor Mom. We settled on individual egg bakes (in ramekins with applewood smoked bacon and spinach), roasted savory sweet potatoes (served with a dijon mustard dipping sauce), fresh fruit, Vietnamese-cinnamon blueberry muffins (my absolute favorite cinnamon), and mimosas (of course). I arrived with my recipes in hand and set to work. Everyone was still waking up as I washed my berries and whisked the melted butter and brown sugar. The coffee pot started sputtering, the paper was retrieved, and soon everyone filtered into the kitchen. Trading stories about the weekend, cutting fruit, frying bacon, and peeling potatoes. I love this.

And—I love this: The last few times I’ve gone into Penzeys I’ve beelined-it straight to the cinnamon section. This is my favorite one: Vietnamese. It’s incredibly sweet. And strong! It’s almost as if someone made a dry reduction of the cinnamon and dusted the powder into this little container. I was so excited to bake with it. Up until this morning, I’d been sprinkling it in my soy milk and coffee. Today, it met some very plump blueberries—and was transformed into these: Being in the kitchen with my family is like enjoying a warm loaf of bread, or being tucked into a duck-feather comforter. Warm, cozy, comfortable. Rachel: on the floor with Frannie, the dog, calling her “Silverback” and asking her questions about how she feels to be a dog; and does she know she’s a beautiful dog? Britney: snapping photos of Rachel and the dogs, sipping her coffee and cream. Mom: cuddling Willow, the other family dog, then helping slice pineapple and melon. Dad: reading the mail, drinking black coffee, and laughing along with the rest of the females he shares this house with.

At one point, I saw my parents hug and set back to watch their daughters in the kitchen. Cooking. Getting along. They seemed happy and proud.

It’s not always this way with our family, and us girls weren’t always so helpful in the kitchen, but this morning—it was just one of those mornings. My family and I, we built this: these jokes, this closeness—and even this meal: Mother’s Day brunches have gotten increasingly sophisticated over the years. No more store-bought rolls. No more sloppy pancakes. Now, it’s the best silverware and plates. Recipes from Bon Appetit and sparking wine. It’s like our bonds as a family: between mom and dad, parents and daughters, and between sisters. It’s only become more and more rich over the years.

My pride and joy this Mother’s Day brunch was the egg bake: Hey—it came from the oven, just like those fancy cinnamon muffins.

What’s not to love?


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