The New Year is off to a fine start in my neck of the woods. JoePa (and Penn State football players) have their wins back and our dear friend Joyce Turley published “Brownie Points: Bite-Size Life Lessons,” available on Amazon.com
Now, I must confess, the book is dedicated to “the women who have always supported my wild dreams” and my mother, Marie Fedon, is one of seven women named. I’m hardly an unbiased reader…but, OK, I’ll say it, you’ve got to read this book.
“Trig,” as my mom knows her from their days at Penn State, has filled her 86 years with adventure, networking, and going for the gusto. And oh, what a storyteller she is.
Just settle into the sofa and read her vignettes that circle the globe, from a tiny town in Pennsylvania to the oil fields of Texas to professional tennis matches in Oklahoma and escapades in San Francisco. Off she goes to England, Hong Kong, Nepal, Cuba, and both Poles. Her lessons and crumbs of wisdom follow her everywhere, and they’ll make your journey through life all the better. When you are done reading, bake a batch of her brownies and share the wealth.
Belgian Babe: The highlight of our holidays was spending them with my granddaughter Lais, and her parents Sabine and Richard. There is no better gift than a smile from a 6-month-old cutie pie. Unless it is watching her blow raspberries, roll over for the first time, or scrunch up her face like a demented pug. Or perhaps holding her on my lap so she can shake her arms and legs, imitating her singing and dancing great-grandmother.
I gave the family a gift of lessons in infant massage. Since Richard and Sabine couldn’t attend the series of five group classes, a young woman certified by Infant Massage USA came to the house and gave them private instruction. Sabine learned with Lais, while Richard and Nancy, the instructor, had demonstration dolls to practice a variety of massages—Swedish milking and Indian milking techniques for the arms and legs, and Richard’s favorite, the I Love You massage for the torso. An added bonus, Nancy went to McGill University and spoke to Sabine in French when she didn’t understand an English phrase.
Frittata Rave: In the year since I saw Richard, he’s become quite the accomplished cook. He and Sabine made Mahi-Mahi, pork roast, and steak dinners, treating Nonna and me like queens at a royal banquet. Breakfasts were even more amazing.
Richard can make a mean frittata. One morning his eggs were spiked with saffron and chopped mushrooms. Another morning, it was sautéed onions, red and orange peppers, and goat cheese. Heck, the way he was going through eggs, I needed a hen house. I guess that’s what happens when kids grown up with Easter peeps.
The piece d’resistance was created on their last morning in State College before driving to Philadelphia International for a flight to Brussels. Richard started sautéing red onions, and then added takeout Asian vegetables and rice noodles, and leftover asparagus. He poured over whisked eggs, topped the goo with alternating wedges of blue and cheddar cheese, and a sprinkling of Romano. Richard cooked the whole shebang in a giant pan on the stove and then broiled it in the oven. The result was a fantabulous frittata.
The frittata was so good I said, “We have to name it.”
So, we played name-that-frittata.
“Samurai,” Richard suggested, in honor of the Asian vegetables. “Stinky Pee Samurai,” he continued.
What is it with men and asparagus? They’re the only ones I’ve ever heard mention the distinctive fragrance that urine takes on after asparagus consumption. When eaten, asparagusic acid (only found in asparagus) is converted to sulfur-containing chemicals. Those chemicals, to put it bluntly, stink—or are aromatic—depending on your perspective. Marcel Proust is said to have written that asparagus “transforms my chamber pot into a flask of perfume.” Enough.
Well, Mom-the-Editor got the last word. I decided the frittata would officially be called “Stinky Samurai (minus the P-word).”
Nonna took a long, sweet swallow of Richard’s frittata accompaniment—a smoothie (Greek yogurt, orange juice, frozen tropical fruits, and fresh and frozen bananas.)
“Maybe we should play name-that-smoothie,” I said.
“Name that movie?” my mother asked. “Are we going to a movie?” Ah, life goes on. Laurie Lynch
The Eyes Have It: I’m now reading “Beautiful Ruins” by Jess Walter. It’s the 2015 selection for Centre County Reads, part of the One Community Reading One Book program. As I was reading one night, all I could think of was that somehow Walter had peered into my granddaughter’s eyes.
“He had never been able to read her lovely brown eyes, beneath their black brows. They were so fluid, so naturally teary that even when she was angry—which was often—her eyes always seemed ready to forgive.” –Jess Walter