Archive | October, 2011

“Aunt” Susan’s Noodle Pudding

16 Oct

I ‘d like to thank my sister-in-law, Alyssa,  for this guest post.  I am glad I had the chance to know her mom, Susan (and enjoy her famously delicious noodle pudding).  I know for sure that she would have been a most beloved “other mother.”

My mother passed away when I was 18 and after many years I almost gave up the hope of finding her famous recipe for noodle pudding. 23 years  later, I was at my cousin’s wedding and somehow noodle pudding came up. My cousin told me she has a recipe that’s entitled *Aunt Susans’ Noodle Pudding and maybe it’s hers. Really?? After 23 years you’re telling me someone in the family had the recipe!?!!?!!?

 So, after all these years and many noodle pudding attempts, I had the
coveted recipe. I told my girls, now 6 and 7, how excited I was to make my
mother’s recipe for Yom Kippur! They pretended to be excited too. Now that I’m 41 (I know hard to believe) and I have this recipe, I’m wondering who can eat this other than kids.. sugar, noodles and other ingredients (that will remain secret)? what a combo.
It came out great and is delicious! My children wouldn’t even try it.
Slightly disappointing but did i eat it at that age? Is it as good as I
remember? Probably not, but how could it be better than one that my mom made herself?
What was great is that I now have the recipe and got to make it for my
family. I will continue to make it each year. Will they like it?  Maybe, maybe not. Or maybe noodle pudding isn’t their thing, its mine and my mothers and my children and i will have other things…

College Road Trip –a long and winding road.

9 Oct

As I and my family become immersed in the frenzy of my daughter’s college application process, I wish I could talk to my mom about my senior year, her coping mechanisms and just get that re-assurance that it will all work out.

My friends (my colleagues in Parenting, Inc.) and I discuss how much this whole college search and application process has changed over the last 25 – 30 years. We all agree it seems much more grueling. Like so many other things in our lives, it is more complicated and competitive. We can’t really blame this change completely on technology, but the fact that a tremendous amount of the planning and applying takes place on-line, makes this another task we can obsess about 24 hours a day!

There are some important similarities I recall about my own experience. We think that our teens go overboard with tutors and counselors, but even I had a few appointments with a college counselor to help me figure out what I might study and where. College visits/ road trips were all exciting. I enjoyed visiting Tufts with my parents and actually recall walking around the campus with dreams of a 4 year stay. I also remember the Reuben sandwich I enjoyed when we took a break in Boston’s Faneuil Hall. My mother and I enjoyed a long car ride to Cornell and then survived a scary ride home in a white-out snowstorm. I remember being thankful for my mom’s willingness to stay in a hotel while I camped out in a dorm room there.

My most  vivid memory is actually a regret.  My final decision to attend Rutgers College makes me proud, but I never shared the exact reason with my parents. After Tufts and Cornell rejected my application (easy to say now, a horrible feeling then), I had to choose between Brandeis and Rutgers. Even after meeting with my lovely counselor, I was still unsure of my career path. I thought I should follow my sister’s grand footsteps and consider law or a similar, highly respected career. At the time, teaching was not the popular choice. Salaries were still low as  was the esteem, or so I thought. Yet, somehow I knew that I might choose to be a teacher. And, so I privately decided to opt for the less expensive education, I started out majoring in economics and taking courses that were not right for me. Fortunately, Rutgers was the perfect place to alter my path and follow my true calling to become an English teacher.

I wish I could tell my mom and dad about my secret decision, but I also think they might have known. Most importantly, I still get chills as I recall their show of approval and support of my decisions. I know I made them proud!

So, now back to my current journey as the mom of a college-seeker. And, since I do not recall my mom nagging me to edit college essays and finish applications (most likely a selective memory loss), I aspire to be the supportive and understanding mom.

How about your experience, then and now? I would love to know your story—it might just help this current journey.

Visiting a Childhood/Family Favorite Haunt

2 Oct

A romantic evening trip to the rural and quaint tourist town, Lambertville, NJ, quickly became nostalgic. The “kicked-in-the-stomach” feeling I experienced about 36 years ago emerged as my husband and I gazed beyond the Lambertville-New Hope Bridge.

1975ish:  Before we embarked on one of our family’s favorite day trips, I imagined the perfect accessory to my outfit. My Aunt Joan had recently given her gold hoop earrings and a heart necklace for her Bat Mitzvah. I worked up the nerve to ask my sister if I could borrow them for our trip. She said yes and I put them on. I was eager to walk through New Hope, shop and eat adorned with such beautiful jewelry! While there, we walked and window shopped. I must have had a fixation with earrings that night, because I picked some out in each store we visited. Finally, I found a pair of earrings there that my parents agreed to buy for me. The price was right for these “royal” jewels I had found.

After a long day, we returned home and then, the shock struck. I discovered I had lost one of my sister’s earrings. We immediately checked my clothes and our bags. Nothing. We combed the car. Nothing. We called the New Hope jewelry store and restaurant. Nothing. After a day or two of searching, we gave up the hunt. We assumed the earrings lost forever. I cried and shouted  regret for borrowing the earrings. I did not think I could recover from my mistake, but time helped us forget this mishap. And, then, about one year later, my mom found the missing earring. She was cleaning my room, her annual eradication of each minute piece of hidden dust. While scouring the molding behind my bed, she saw it—the tiny gold earring. I recall my pre-teen-appropriate irrational reaction when I became angry that she had not found the earring sooner.. Shouldn’t she have vacuumed that thoroughly each time? I had to quickly end any undue criticism of my mom.  Fortunately, my sister was just thrilled she had its mate and could finally wear the special gift again. Case closed.

Despite this unfortunate experience or perhaps because there was a happy ending, I still have great memories of the Lambertville, NJ and New Hope, PA towns. The towns have not changed very much and provide me with an adult glimpse of why mom was enamored with that rural area.  If there is a moral to my story, it is to never borrow expensive things. –just kidding (I think).

Did your family have any traditional day trips? Did you ever borrow and (seemingly) ruin a sibling’s important possession? What town or place would bring warm, nostalgic feelings to you? Sticking to the often irrational wishes I have, I do wish I could go back to New Hope with mom without any mishap at all. She would be happy we enjoy one of her favorite spots.