Saturday, May 8, 2010

Minibreak on Mother's Day

It is a few days before Mother’s Day and, as I do every year, I’m packing up the dog and driving down to Richland to spend the weekend with my folks. I just watched a TV show last night about a mother who has a bad Mother’s Day. Her kids wake her up at 5am with a sloppy breakfast and spill the food all over her and the bed. When she goes to the bathroom to clean up, her husband rushes off to a drug store, with the kids, to hunt for a last minute gift she will “cherish.” So, she takes off to her mother’s house to seek refuge from her disappointing Mother’s Day. She gets there, plops down on the couch and orders her favorite childhood food, interrupting her own mother’s relaxing day.

I have to admit that I also get quite spoiled when I visit my parents. It is very different from any other vacation. I don’t bother making too many plans, like I would if I were visiting some place new. From the moment I arrive, I can always rely on certain rituals. As mentioned in an earlier post, Mom will always offer me poached eggs and crackers for breakfast (the answer is yes). My dad will always ask me what the road conditions were like on the pass. And mom will make all the meals, preferring to cook alone. Mom likes things her way. One of my favorites is her bean soup. Sometimes it will be on the stove when I walk in the door, and I’ll instantly start salivating. It was one of the first recipes I asked for when I moved out of the house. The beans make for a hearty supper and liquid smoke gives it an earthy flavor.

Sue’s Bean Soup

1 ½ cup dry pinto beans
1 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 quarts water
3 chicken bouillon cubes
3 beef bouillon cubes
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon liquid smoke
2 yellow onions, sliced thin

Put everything in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer for at least 3 hours with the lid on. Or, if you need to leave the house, after it comes to a boil, put it in the oven at 300 degrees for 3 hours.

This little vacation away gives me a chance relax and step out of my life, with its daily interruptions and the endless “to do” list, that awaits my return home, and gives me some time to get inspired and make plans.

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