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Pickle Me This

June 25, 2014

Better Homes and Gardens


It’s all fine and good to want to give your kids a ’70s summer, but I’m most excited about a date I’ve got scheduled tomorrow that’s more 1950s’ housewife—a martini madness afternoon to celebrate school’s out at the home of the incomparable Nathalie Foy. (“Is this a drop-off party?” asked Harriet, who has anxiety about such things. “No,” I told her. “It’s a grown-ups party. But the kids are allowed to stay.”) Seemed like a good occasion to finally use my 1960 Better Homes and Gardens Dessert Cook Book (which I found on on a curb on Major Street). It’s the most incredible cook book, and with the kind of recipes that alienated 1950s’ housewives from their labour, but provided her with ample time to smoke in and conjure Betty Friedan. These are the recipes the grocery store baked, and there is something to it. I had a busy day today, and wouldn’t have had time to make anything that took more than 10 minutes. I selected the ABC Dessert Salad (they actually called it a salad!) whose ingredients are displayed above. It’s extraordinary! I thought I’d fouled the whole thing up when the whip cream melted all over the rainbow mini marshmallows (because the just-made jello was still hot) but I think it was part of the process. The jello has since set (and before you point it out, it’s FRESH pineapple that won’t set in jello. Canned seems to do just fine) and I had a taste of my salad, and it tasted just like something a Great Aunt would have made. Harriet thinks it sounds delicious.

So we’re being eased into the end of school. Harriet’s playschool finished yesterday, and she’s in morning kindergarten until the end of the week. We had our playschool picnic today, which brought back memories of last year’s, Iris just 3 weeks old and the effort it took for me to sit on the ground. This year, she crawled through dirt and became more filthy than she’s ever been, so the children had a bath as soon as they got home. I think they’re going to be getting up to a lot of that this summer.

On the other end of the food spectrum, we hit the Farmer’s Market this evening. I do so love Harriet at age 5, who is so pleasant to go places with, and Iris is still too little to be completely annoying. And so we go to the market and Harriet says, “Oh, oh, Mommy! The wine seller is here!” and she’s happy because she knows I’m happy (and I’m even happier because this week’s wine seller has a delicious bottle of white wine for $13). And then we get cheese from Monforte Dairy, and strawberries, and raspberries, and garlic scapes, and fresh mint, and turkey sausage, and spinach, and golden beets. The market is beginning to explode with delicious things, and it’s so exciting, the season’s bounty marking its trajectory on our dinner plates. The idea of being home with 2 kids all summer is mildly terrifying, but when I think of it all in terms of tomatoes, corn, and peaches to come, I start to salivate. We will probably be okay.

There will be day camps here and there, and lots of TV. There will be ROM visits, shady trees in the playground, trips to the art gallery, filling up the pool in the backyard, scooter-riding, ice cream drips, library visits, lazy mornings, and lots of freezies. Iris’s naps make our days less wide-open than is ideal, but it also means we all get to siesta, and think that’s a fine thing. (It’s also going to be how I manage to combine my work with childcare. Fingers crossed for this.) There will be the hours of 3:30 to 5:30 to pass, which have been scientifically proven to be the longest 120 minutes in the universe (and I had spent them this spring in the park hanging out with my co-workers. I am going to miss this.) But I am going to enjoy the privilege of a summer with my kids.

We are going to get new freckles. We are going to have fun

One thought on “Better Homes and Gardens”

  1. Delightful, in every way!

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