I take pride in being a single, working mom. Well, “single” in the fictitious sense. I’m in the process of getting divorced, as well as tethered to a boyfriend. Well, “boyfriend” in the fictitious sense. Russell’s just that thing we keep in the attic. He’s like the opposite of of fine china, we put him away when guests come over. Did I digress? Motherhood. Rereading three months of entries, I realize I’ve only referenced the wee ones (and my superb parenting skills) without really exploiting them for profit. I thought I was doing them a favor—preserving their anonymity, not airing their dirty laundry out to potential sex perverts and whatnot. I guess I was entirely wrong, as all three of them have chastised me for not giving a proper shout-out on the blog. Be careful what you wish for, children. By the time this post is done, the world will know your hopes, your dreams, your fears, class schedules and the lies guaranteed to lure you into a van.
Meet the family:
Katie is my youngest, my only daughter and my shadow. Pretty as a princess and can be just as insistent. She’s the most honest of the three, if only because nine-year-olds don’t understand the value of discretion. There are only two notches on her enjoyment gauge, and momma’s cooking is either deemed “disgusting” or becomes her “favorite” thing ever. She’s an adamant supporter of snacks as food. For example, when I asked which of my blog recipes was her favorite thus far, she immediately chose my chipotle dip (“that nacho-y thing with the chips”). As you can imagine, this makes it tough to get a balanced meal in her come dinnertime. I know I should be pushing more regimented nutrition (hard as that can be with latchkey kids), but she’s just so damn cute when she’s happy. Love you, Boo!
Middle child syndrome at full tilt.
Chris will be your guild leader of choice during the zombie invasion. Loves knives, guns and starting fires. He sends himself to bed just after sunset and rouses himself up way before sunrise—he gets more done by five in the morning than most turtles get done by five in the morning. Always my brave little angel, he’ll eat anything momma puts in front of him. Whereas his siblings cried over that most excellent rabbit I made earlier this week, he dove headfirst into the leftovers (and was genuinely sad I wouldn’t let him take a baggie of it to school). When we went to a French restaurant for a family function last year, he demanded to have frog legs. So, yeah, even as twelve-year-olds go, he’s pretty weird… and neither he nor I could be prouder. Love you, Steve Steve!
Sean is on the cusp of eighteen and, therefore, can’t let himself enjoy anything ever. He’s my eldest, my gentle giant and, most importantly, my psychically-linked brain twin. You never want to play against us as a team, doesn’t matter the board game. Probably the most natural musician I could’ve made, he went from Guitar Hero to headlining local acts in less than four years (entirely self-taught). He used to be my sushi buddy, but his newish girlfriend seems to have taken over feeding-his-ass duty. He’s going to start college soon, so hopefully he remembers momma when a steady diet of cheap Asian noodles turns his Irish innards into Scottish haggis. Love you, Jimmy the Enemy!
My other, more motherly tattoo.
You might notice that I’ve described my brood almost entirely in the context of their palates. This is because I believe food is one of the sincerest windows into a person’s character. It’s a synecdoche—a part that defines the whole. If this were not true, most first dates wouldn’t happen over dinner. I never wanted to break up with a former boyfriend more than when he kept sending his omelette back for being too cold (boohoo!) then called our server an asshole in so many words. Conversely, I knew Russell was worth knowing the first time we went out for sushi and he taught me chopstick etiquette. It was important to him that we not only respect our hosts, but the values of their culture as well. It’s almost like I enjoy it when my fellow man is treated with dignity. Go figure.
Going back to the spirit of family, today’s recipe might not be special in a universal sense, but it means everything to my little posse. It’s a simple syrup named after my brother Matt (for very arbitrary reasons), and nary a pancake or waffle in this house gets eaten without copious amounts of it.
Matt’s Favorite Syrup
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp corn starch
- 1 tsp vanilla
Bring water and sugar to a boil in a saucepan. To prevent lumps, dissolve corn syrup in a bit of water and add to syrup. Boil until thickened. Add vanilla, stir and enjoy. This is probably one of the easiest and most versatile things I make. In place of vanilla you can add any extract that suits you (maple, coconut, almond, etc.), or lemon juice (a couple tablespoons), or berries (fresh or frozen). I’ve even added strawberries, coconut and pineapple on an especially experimental day.
Even though it’s probably the best you’ve ever had, I decided not to include a picture of my family’s syrup. Know why? Because it’s freaking syrup. It’s brown. It’s translucent. It’s viscous. Use your imagination a little and… oh look! You guessed exactly right. Russell suggested I model with it by slathering the stuff all over myself. After all, food is one of the sincerest windows into a person’s character…
TWTG says, “It’s good for you—it makes you poop!”