Saturday, July 16, 2011

Don't Eat the Hummus (DANGEROUS)


I just wanted to tell you, because I could never say this to you without hurting your feelings, your hummus is no good. When I became a vegetarian as a teenager (which I still am today) you freaked out. I was very active and you insisted, rightfully so, that I needed protein. In the mornings before school you'd make me smoothies filled with fruit, milk, and tofu (sounds gross but they were good) and you filled the freezer with my favorite bean burritos. On the weekends you'd make massive amounts of hummus and divide them into little plastic take-out containers. You were never able to make anything "just for two." It was enough for an army, no less.

After I went away to college I had hummus at a dining hall, over at a friend's party, or maybe dipped into a roommate's stash, and I realized that it was a mild, creamy dip and unbelievably delicious. It was easily spreadable on crackers and it fit perfectly into the groove of a celery stick. I compared it to the bricks of flavorless garbanzo beans you'd insist I take with me. Crammed into those little plastic containers, they'd get lost in my freezer and a pang of guilt would hit my gut everytime I shuffled things around enough to find one. Sometimes they'd fall out and the containers would shatter and I'd think to myself, "Well, I can't eat that now! When I thaw it out it will have shards of plastic pieces in it! Surely mom wouldn't want me eating that." When I raved about the hummus I had at college you questioned me. What was so good about it? Did it have a special seasoning? What was the texture like? I was caught off-guard and realized I'd inadvertently admitted that someone else's hummus was better than yours. I stammered but couldn't come up with an answer, focusing more on your feelings than the actual hummus itself.

You made hummus up until you became sick, although by that time there was plenty stocked away in both my freezer and yours. I had been eating your hummus for almost a decade and I was in too far to tell you the truth. Instead, I encouraged you to make Roasted Red Pepper Dip or Aunt's Sue's Marinated Cheese, both of which are divine.

Despite this bad news (I know, I should have told you the truth about your hummus years ago), I am writing you to share good news: I am becoming more like you! In short, I've begun sewing, I have your bad taste in music, I have weird sleep hours, and I've inherited your cooking skills. I bought a sewing machine second hand and made a bag (but only to house my new hobby of knitting). I dashed around the house in my pajamas all last weekend with little pieces of fabric in my hands, destined to be flattened by the iron. My hair was wild and I'd shout at every victory and frustration. Next I'm going to make a skirt and an apron. I also have horrible taste in music. You once admitted that while everyone was jamming to the Beetles, you were singing your heart out to show tunes. I make a hodgepodge mix of songs that I listen to until I become sick of it. I forget about it for two years and when it is rediscovered I overindulge in the same way. Additionally, because of my different work schedule, my eyes insisted on staying open at 3:30 am.  I had dreamt you made a smorgasbord of mouthwatering vegetarian food for me, my friends, and the family just to celebrate me. You were not present in the dream (although you haven't been lingering in my dreams for a last few months). This is disappointing to me because in the months following your death, I would be so grateful every time I'd dream about you, positive or not. It was a way to know that you still existed, even if only in my hallucinations. You could say in the dream I had last night it was as if I were seeing you indirectly, as I was enjoying the food you made. Mostly I remember the gazpacho.

When you reached a certain age, your body decided when and how long you were allowed to sleep. You'd get up and by 10 am have accomplished more than I would all day. You'd stitch a little, work a little, and eat a little. By the time I meander into the living room, you'd be resting in front of your needlepoint and offer to make me some tea and a little breakfast. We'd have an early morning chat, which, admittedly, sometimes ended in a fight. I long for these conversations now. It was often a time to talk about something we loved and enjoy each other's company, even though they weren't always pretty. Now without you here, I am awake at an unusual hour and using the wee hours of the morning to cook for those that I love, just as you had. I'm making gazpacho, your recipe for which I cannot find but I'm going to do this from Cook's Illustrated.

I ALSO CAN'T MAKE HUMMUS. But these days I just buy the stuff.

I love you, Mom, and I miss you madly.


1 comment:

  1. pure love. Your mom always had a little snack and drink for all of us. It was so much fun sitting around the table and talking. Admittedly more listening than talking but I learned so much.