Sixteen years ago my father was killed in a ranching accident at 53 years old. He left my mother with four of eight children still at home. Today,April 9th, is his birthday. We are celebrating his life with a birthday dinner of his favorite foods: chicken with mashed potatoes and creamed milk chicken gravy. He also liked banana cream pie. We will round out the menu with cheesy green beans with almonds and cabbage salad (thank goodness cabbages last long and we can put sugar in the dressing with lots of walnuts and raisins.) Dad's legacy includes 33 grandchildren and more to come.
In the movie Babett's Feast a French cheff comes to live in an isolated little town on the desolate coast of Denmark. Two beautiful daughters of a pious clergyman are keeping the town together by preaching self denial and simple living. They feed the elderly on beer bread and fish. After many years contentions begin to erode the small congregation. The French cook, Babett, soon has copper kettles and herbs hanging in her kitchen. She bargains for the freshest and indulges in the rare produce like onions. In a once in a lifetime splurge Babett prepares a sumptuous feast. As everyone dines on course after course of delectable edibles including turtle soup, stuffed quail, and pastries one dispute after another is resolved. The town grievances melt. Such should be one function of our dinner hour. Everyone should sense that this hour demands ones best behavior, naturally inviting reconciliation and forgiveness as foods soften hurt feelings by making those partaking feel the part of royalty.
Breakfast: Rice Pudding and the potatoes from yesterday mixed with cream of chicken soup to moisten them
Lunch: Peanut Butter Sandwiches
Behind the scenes: The mashed potatoes were all instant tonight. To help give a buttery flavor I used 1 TBS ACT II popcorn salt. It tuned the 3 quarts of water orange! Luckily by the time I added the instant flakes and cream, they tasted good enough that two people, including my husband, thought I had used half real potatoes and half instant.