If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, then the hand that feeds the stomach is the hand that rules the world. Since my mother and grandmother don’t cook, one might conclude that they are powerless parties in the Roberts family superstructure. How wrong you would be.
What my mother and grandmother lack in cooking skill they make up for in the subtle art of mealplanning. Like snowboarding, mealplanning incorproates the challenges of one skill (cooking, skiing) and channels it through another medium (telephone, snowboard). My mother and grandmother plot meals like Tolstoy plots novels; that is, very carefully.
How interesting that our meals play out like novels too.
In today’s paperback bestseller, a favorite character returned to the fold: grandma flew in this morning for my graduation, catching an early flight from West Palm Beach and leaving grandpa behind, still recovering from the repercussions of intensive radiation. Mom and dad picked her up, we met up at the hotel, and made our way over to the Buckhead Diner:
In chapter two, grandma told us of how she asked the man sitting next to her if she could have the aisle seat, of the subsequent conversation in which he explained how his child from a first marriage hates his new wife, of how my grandma only sipped her Cranapple juice because of the excessive sugar and carbohydrates.
Back to our original theme, the process of mealplanning involves two stages: external and internal mealplanning. External mealplanning involves all the externalities: where will we dine? How will we get there? Who will we go there with? When will we go? Will there be parking spots when we get there? What if it rains?
Internal mealplanning involves food selection. For mom and grandma, this is a very intensive process: it requires terrible scrutiny and deeply realized self-awarensss. For example, today, it took several lifetimes for mom and grandma to conclude that a field green salad with bleu cheese, apples and walnuts would provide the spiritual sustinence they needed to get through the day. Of course, they ordered the dressing on the side. Here they are, satisfied with their internal mealplanning:
I do my own mealplanning with you, dear reader, in mind. How brave can I be? What will be most entertaining, most photogenic? Which entree selection will cause a comment flamewar that will leave unsuspecting readers bloody and blind? Today that selection was a smoked salmon tower with potato pancakes and poached eggs and string beans:
This was a nice dish, a brunchy dish. Not my favorite, but not NOT my favorite. Would I get it again? No. Would I get it flowers? No. Would I get a tattoo? No.
What I would get again, what I would buy flowers and what I would get tattooed on my forehead is the Buckhead Diner’s James Beard Award winning Banana Cream Pie:
‘Twas quite delicious.
And to all you mothers out there–whether cookers or mealplanners–Happy Mother’s Day! This banana cream pie’s for you.