I was in the grocery store yesterday. My express objective was to buy the ingredients to make my mother’s broccoli soup. Her recipe makes what I consider to be the best Cream of Broccoli soup in the history of mankind, and I had a hankerin’.
I turned away from my cart to reach for the cream for my soup. When I turned back around, an elderly woman was about to walk off with my grocery cart. She recognized immediately what she was doing and apologized. She smiled and said, “Maybe I would like what you’re buying more than what I’m buying.”
“Well,” I told her, “You actually might at that. I’m making a pot of my mom’s delicious broccoli soup.”
“Ah,” she said, “I understand. In my family, I’m the Chocolate Cake Lady.”
She went on to tell me that she was hunting for some buttermilk for the cake she’s about to make, and she couldn’t find it anywhere. I acknowledged that buttermilk was one of those things that is often hard to spot, and helped her look for a bit, to no avail.
I suggested that she could make a substitute by pouring vinegar or lemon juice into regular milk. She looked at me like I had suggested adding sourkraut to her cake. I know what she was thinking. Did you hear what I said Miss Julia Child Wannabe? Do you think I became the Chocolate Cake Lady in my family by using substitutes? Do you recommend that I use Egg Beaters instead of real eggs? Away with you and your high-falutin’ ideas.
The funny thing is, I totally know how she feels. I think that it’s funny that people within families get to be known as the Such and Such Person. For example, in my family, I am the Fried Chicken Lady. No one is fooling me. I know my fried chicken is no better than chicken fried by any other member of my family. The thing is, I am the only one stupid enough to make fried chicken given the ensuing mess. My siblings are smart enough to disguise their unwillingness to clean up the grease that has splattered in a six-foot circumference around the spot of the chicken frying pan as a commendation of my fried chicken.
I learned to fry chicken by watching my mother. There was no recipe. I have many of her recipes, however, and use quite a few. My brother maintains that if you change one or more of the ingredients in one of Mom’s recipes, you may no longer call it Mom’s recipe. To be honest, if I follow his rule, most of the recipes of hers that I use wouldn’t be — couldn’t be, by his rule — attributed to her. In her broccoli soup recipe, for example, I use cream and butter instead of half and half and margarine, thereby making a relatively healthy soup into something that could stop a heart in mid-beat.
By the way, Bec is the Brownie-and-Bundt-Cake Lady and Jen is the Beef Tenderloin Lady.
If you are interested, here is a link to the original blog post which featured her broccoli soup recipe.