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Friday, 08 May 2015 06:06

It’s a Mother’s Day Life

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I am not a mother. I am, however, a few months past 40, and have been married for 20 of those years. So naturally, speculation about how I arrived at this childless “condition” buzzes around me like the electric field of a bug zapper.

And yet, I’m not prepared to silence the mosquito-whine of questions by answering them, not even for Mother’s Day. All I can do is use cake as a distraction, play my multiple daughter/granddaughter roles, and hope no one will notice that I’m once again not on the receiving end of an honorary pancake-catastrophe-breakfast-in-bed.
Typically though, Mother’s Day goes something like this:
A sleep-starved new mom in the family thrusts her colicy, spitting-up infant in my arms and asks, “You must want to have kids. I mean, you’ll never feel complete until you do, right.”
Um, riiiight.
When a toddler picks his nose, eats what he finds and offers to share, his beaming grandmother says, “Just when are you going to get rid of that cat of yours and get some real babies? A woman isn’t a woman until she has babies, you know.”
 So I’ve heard.
 Or, “Don’t you think it’s selfish not to have a family?”
And, “What about your husband, doesn’t he want babies?”
Followed by, “So you’re not giving your parents any grandchildren?!”
 Then, “Well, I guess it’s better that some people know they wouldn’t be any good at parenting and leave it to those who are.”
And finally, “You’ll be sorry when you’re 40.”
Umm...too late!
All I can say is, it’s a good thing that Mother’s Day comes only once a year, and comes with cake. Lots of cake. And that there’s no bias when it’s time for it to be whip creamed and passed around the room.
Perhaps, however, this has some small thing to do with my having had the time to bake and bring said cake. Or lend my chef for the occasion.
This year, for instance, I find I’m in the mood for angel food and warm berry compote. A dessert that, were I childrened, might (and understandably - you’ll find no judgement here) begin with a supermarket sponge and end with thawed strawberries, sogging in their own vitreous.
Instead, this Mother’s Day’s blueberries will be poached in red wine and their juices reduced, sweetened and thickened. Finally, delicate raspberries will join the saucepot melange, just long enough for the duo of flavours to meld while each of the berries hold their shape.
And while it’s true that I adore all the mom’s and kids in my life, and can only expect litter box presents on the 8th, I like my life the way it is. On Sunday, I look forward to waking up late, griddling a batch of pancakes and, in blessed quiet, serving them to myself with some Mom’s Day berries (I made extra) and cream for breakfast.

Warm Berry Compote
1 1/2 cups red wine (not cooking wine!)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups frozen blueberries or Saskatoon berries
1 1/2 cups frozen raspberries
3 tbs cornstarch
3 tbs cold water
In a medium pot over medium-high heat, bring red wine and sugar to a boil, whisking frequently. Add blueberries and return to a boil.
Meanwhile, combine cornstarch and water together to make a slurry. When berry mixture is boiling, add about half of the cornstarch mixture and bring back to a simmer, which will reveal how much thickening has been accomplished. If needed, add a little more cornstarch mixture.
Add raspberries to pot and heat until they’re warmed through and have released some of their juices into the sauce, being careful not to break them up while stirring. Let cool somewhat before serving over angel food cake, topped with whipped cream.
Note: While this may seem like a lot of wine, it becomes a background flavour, mild and mellow.

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