Nature Is A Mother, Too

Mothers’ day gets a little easier each year, though I still don’t enjoy being reminded so overtly that I don’t have one any more. But my wife is a Mother, and her Mom has been in town visiting, and we’ve been having some high spring glory in the weather department, so today was pretty nice.

For brunch, I made crêpes: savory, then sweet as is my wont. The savory were filled with a schmear of velvety sweet potato purée left over from a roast chicken several nights ago and a big dollop of decadent duxelles. I minced shiitake and maitake pretty fine and caramelized them nicely before adding chopped ramp greens, Calvados, beef demi-glace, local goat fromage blanc, and some heavy cream and letting it all cook very gently down into a splendidly redolent loveliness. I added a dribble of truffle oil to the mixture just before serving. Once folded up, I added a spoonful of turnip home fries (little cubes, caramelized and then tossed with salt and a drop of good vanilla extract) and a just-picked baby radish on the side. I didn’t have my act together to shoot a picture of these, but they tasted extremely good. The time and steps I took to make the mushroom mixture just so really paid off.

The sweet crêpes were also pretty well received. I ran outside and cut a couple of stalks of rhubarb, and cut and cooked them down to a jam with some very un-local strawberries and maple syrup. I made a ganache with heavy cream, Calvados, dark (85%) chocolate, and more maple, and whipped some cream with a splash of the brandy and a drip of maple. I sent Milo out to pick some mint, and we plated them all up, adding blackberries as well. As good as this was (and it was) it made me impatient for our berries to come in; strawberries and currants are flowering now, and the other shrubs will be soon. I got to spend about three hours in the garden this afternoon planting, trellising, and such, and it did wonders for my mood. In the coming weeks of intense studio labor, I’m going to make a point of spending an hour outside working every day the weather permits. I can still hear my Mother saying “it’s a beautiful day, go outside.” It’s as true now as it was then.

4 comments to Nature Is A Mother, Too

  • I spent a few hours outside in the garden yesterday, too. It always feels good. And the strawberry flowers are turning into fruit. Can’t. wait. Good luck on all the work ahead of you–your plan to spend at least an hour outside every day is a smart one.

  • Mothers are so wise – playing outside gives you sunshine vitamins and fresh air – and gives her a respite from the kid! :-) My Mom was the same.

  • Mo

    I have loads of green strawberries growing heavy on my plants, I can’t wait!

    The mother’s day meal you made sounds amazing. I got waffles with fresh whipped cream and strawberries. And then I spent the morning scrubbing toilets, doing laundry and other incredibly fun activities to ready our house for my family coming over in the afternoon. We smoked loads of ribs, pork shoulders, chicken, etc and everyone brought something, so the afternoon was painless and relaxing. My nephews and the bean adventured in the creek and brought back a turtle (had no idea we had turtles in the creek) and a newt.

    My mom passed away less than 2 weeks before mother’s day 4 years ago. I was planning on making her a DVD of our ultrasound when we found out what the bean’s sex was. Obviously he’s a boy, my mom was sure he was going to be a girl. Instead of giving my mom the DVD on mother’s day, we spread her ashes in the ocean.

    This year has been particularly hard on me in terms of missing my mom. I could have seriously used some parenting advice the last few weeks.

  • Peter

    Julia: I got a good hour of schlepping and weeding in today. Oh, man this weather makes it hard to be inside.

    Zoomie: I gave him the machete and told him not to come in until dark.

    Mo: That sucks. There’s nothing good about it. Coping does seem to get easier. And I’m always happy to share parenting advice (see above).

Yours Truly



I'm a painter who happens to also spend a lot of time growing, making, and writing about food. I'm particularly interested in the intersection of frugal peasant cooking techniques and haute improvisation. And I have a really great personality.

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