The Right and Healthful Thing

Archived | May 9, 2014 | By

Listened to the show Saturday, and it was not bad. Made some rhubarb buttermilk muffins, and a batch of potato pancakes that were pretty much the best I’ve made, with caramelized Sweet Vidalia onion thrown in for something new.
I finished putting away some clothes while the kids ate, and I could hear them talking in rather muffled tones. When I went back out into the kitchen, they asked what I want for Mother’s Day. Made me smile. I give them the same list just about every year: candles, flour sack towels, wooden spoons, perfume, rubber spatulas, chocolate, a gift card for a massage with Pam, books, and silver earrings. And a family outing is always good. Usually we go out for dinner, but this year I told them I’d like to see a movie. “Godzilla.” Unfortunately it doesn’t open ’til the weekend after Mother’s Day, but that’s no problem. We’ll go then, in the spirit of Mother’s Day. And because the outing has to wait, Mr. Sundberg announced he’d make dinner. His own concoction: Thai Chicken Pizza. Homemade.
The best Mother’s Day gift depends on the year, and on the mother. Some years, all I wanted was to be alone. For everyone to get the heck away from me for a day. One year I drove two hours to bluffs along the river and climbed to the top and just sat there awhile. I think I even took a nap. There have been years when we all spent the day together at the zoo, or at the mall, or we stayed home and kids climbed on me and we had a big feast and it was pretty ordinary except for the cards they made, and the way they looked at me as they handed me bunches of wildflowers they picked themselves.
One child is away now, and the second will go next fall. Next year will be my last Mother’s Day with a child at home. I think about this. It doesn’t make me sad. It’s a good thing, the right and healthful thing, when children grow up and go out into the world. And kids, you can take a few things for granted: I will always have your back, and love you, no matter what; you’ll always know where to find me; and, when in doubt, refer to the good ol’ Mother’s Day Gift List. Add “Call Mom”, if you wish, but no worries about getting home. Ain’t gonna happen every year, and I’m okay with that. I can see you when I close my eyes, feel you in my heart, and — if I take a long, deep breath — I can smell your skin. It’s true. If you choose to have children down the road (emphasis on “down the road”), you’ll know exactly what I mean.
There’s something about a muffin. Maybe it’s the shape, or how you eat it, or the variety of muffins out there. Or the sound of it, “Muffin.” I don’t know. I do know that a muffin is often just the thing, and this one is a fine example.
Rhubarb Buttermilk Muffins
1½ cups brown sugar
¼ cup oil
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
1½ cups finely diced rhubarb
½ cup pecan pieces
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
⅓ cup sugar
1½ tsp cinnamon
1 T melted butter
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine in large bowl: brown sugar, oil, egg, and vanilla. Beat until well mixed. Stir into mixture buttermilk, rhubarb, and pecans. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and stir until all ingredients are moistened. Do not over mix.
Fill greased muffin pan or muffin cups 3/4 full with batter. Quickly combine topping ingredients and sprinkle on top of batter in each muffin cup.
Bake 15 to 20 minutes. Makes 20-24 muffins.