Thursday, February 14, 2013

Just a little more from the shrill schoolmarm

Doesn't that look heavenly.
I'm an early riser by nature and Mark is an early riser because he has a job. Isabel gets herself up and out the door without any help or encouragement and has done so since she was, I don't know, 6 weeks old? But Owen burrows under the covers and waits until we've gone from gentle nudging to hoarse shouting. I realize this is not unusual behavior in a 12-year-old American boy and, yes, that does make it easier.

Once Owen is up and dressed, after he's dawdled over breakfast, he will announce he can't do his morning animal chores (feeding chickens and goats, 7 minutes total) because it will make him late for school. Then we argue and I tell him, no, it won't make him late for school, he has plenty of time, he settles down in a chair and counters with some long-winded rationale that takes longer than the chores themselves, etc. etc. etc.

Day before yesterday Owen was spectacularly late getting up and I had arrived at the end of my rope. I told him that he has to do his animal chores and I don't CARE if it makes him late for school, I don't CARE if he has to do detention, and going forward this is the rule so he can stay in bed or he can get up when we wake him up, his choice. I think the neighbors might have heard me "say" this.

He did the animal chores, ran all the way to school, wasn't late. It's too early to declare victory, but yesterday he popped out of bed and we had a great morning. I made Smitten Kitchen's big latkes with fried eggs.  I didn't have any; breakfasts aren't my thing. Mark loved the whole dish. Isabel ate only the latke and liked it. Owen ate the egg, took a single bite of the latke, and declared it "not the best." He took the uneaten latke out to the chickens, didn't have to be told.

Analyzing the differing reports and knowing the sources, I feel confident saying that the big latkes from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook are sensational. Recipe is here.

The verdict on her broccoli rabe panini with mozzarella was also mixed. I loved it and Owen exulted that this was the first dinner he's liked in a long time. Isabel opened her sandwich and picked out every tendril of broccoli rabe. Mark would have done the same, but tried to put on a good face.

Poor guy. I love broccoli rabe, but even I can see how hard it could be to love.

More soon. It's 5:37 a.m. Pacific Time and as of 5 minutes ago they STILL hadn't posted the day's Tournament of Cookbooks results.  


  1. Hooray for small and fleeting victories! What would we do without them? I have never been successful making latke's. Is there a secret?

  2. Thank you for posting about your son tribulations. I have a two year old and the longer it goes on the more I think 2 year olds and 12 year olds are kin.

  3. So disappointed in the review today! Can't find sumac or dried shrimp in Manhattan? Realizes you should recipes all the way through prior to cooking? A professional chef? Terrible!

  4. This is totally off topic, but when I saw this, I thought of your chicken problem. Wondering if this might help keep them "walking free" without the fear of getting munched.

  5. Stephanie, that is so cute. I love the picture of them running down the chunnel.

    Anonymous -- I know, it was strange how helpless he seemed. Those are pretty easy ingredients to find anywhere.

  6. I have twin boys and one of them was just like Owen, but for homework. He would spend HOURS arguing about doing the work, soooo much longer than his twin spent just doing the damn work. (So much for the question of nature over nuture). They are 15 how and high school seemed to have turned the corner for my procrastinator. He now has too much else going on to sit around not doing his work.

  7. While i enjoyed your post today I have an off topic question. I just made the marshmallow creme from mtbbtb and i turned out to be marshmallow gelatin after two hours. it tastes good but i can#T STANd gelatin and wonder if I've done something wrong. It's not spreadablebut a fluffy wiggly-jiggly thing. thanks for any help, love your book and writing. greetings, susanne

  8. ROFL! Your comments are being invaded by "fake" people wanting you to look at their websites! Can you delete the spammers? (I especially like how they sound as if they are actually reading your blog by telling you how awesome it is - which is plausible, because, hello! Great writing!) Anyway, congratulations on hitting the magic "Owen is in charge of Owen's time" stage of life. You are a great mom, he is a great kid on his way to being a great man. And I hope you take this the way I mean it - I *especially* love reading the stories about your life intermixed with the stories about the cooking/your family's reactions. Even though we've never met, it makes me think of you as "a friend I'd like to meet someday" - and I mean that in a complimentary, non-stalker way! Lol! Best, Ida in Michigan (dutiful reader for a couple of years now!)

  9. Susanne -- Can you explain in greater detail what happened? You made the creme and it was ok at first but then flattened and toughened, became unspreadable? My email: