Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Last night it was 100 degrees and I was at my mother's drinking red wine. I am with red wine the way I am with coffee. It is never too hot to drink it!
It could be 150 degrees and I would still be sitting there drinking a glass of my Tisdale Cabernet. I am sorry, I would be.
I made beef souvlaki for my mom. It was a hit!
Which was lucky, I will tell you that. I got there and I am cheerily unpacking everything: Look, here is lettuce from the farm, here is cucumber from Gary's garden, here is Greek dressing I made, here is this beef I marinated ...
And all of a sudden I see my mom looking at me.
And I realize: Oh, no!
She does not like souvlaki!
Well, the case was actually that she did not have much idea what souvlaki was but she was pretty sure she did not like it. I had thought she had eaten it. My mom and I like to go to the Wehrle Restaurant and my mom likes the spanokopita there. That is what we were eating, remember, when she told me what "schuft" meant.
However. Just because my mother likes spanokopita does not mean she likes Greek food. I think it is generational. Leonard Pennario was like that too about some foreign foods. You could tease him about that.
But I forged ahead yesterday with my beef souvlaki. And I lucked out because my mom loved what I made and ate it hungrily. It was this salad with cucumbers and this beef I had marinated in olive oil and lemon juice and oregano and -- shhhhh -- garlic powder and then done up in a skillet. I say the "shhhh" because do not tell my mother about the garlic powder. She is a German woman who was raised in Holy Name on Bailey and grew up on sausage and cabbage and if you throw garlic into stuff you do not tell her.
She ate her lot with feta cheese and my homemade Greek dressing and she loved it.
But wait, next time I want to make something like that, amnesia will set in and she will say, "Oh, no, I do not like Greek food."
My mother unlike Leonard Pennario is like that about Wagner too. Wagner, the composer, I am talking about.
Not Robert Wagner, the actor, who I might add has yet to get in touch with me for my book.
There was one conversation my mom and I had about Wagner I will never forget.
My mother said, "I don't like Wagner."
I said, "Mom, you don't?"
She said, "I just don't care for him."
I said, "Mom, what about 'Meistersinger'? I thought you loved 'Meistersinger.'"
"Oh, well, 'Meistersinger,' yes, 'Meistersinger' I love," my mother said. "But that is different."
"But what about 'The Flying Dutchman'?" I asked. "You like that."
"Oh, yes, I love 'The Flying Dutchman,'" my mom said.
"I thought you liked 'Lohengrin,'" I said. Because how could anyone not like "Lohengrin"?
"Well, of course I like 'Lohengrin,'" she said, looking at me as if I were crazy.
"But Mom, what about 'Tristan'?" I prodded her.
"Oh, I am crazy about 'Tristan!'" she said.
On and on we went through all the Wagner operas and it ended up the only Wagner my mom did not like was the "Ring." I love the "Ring" but that is because I walk the Delaware Park Ring all the time. Just ask Howard.
So I said, "Well, Mom, you like Wagner. Admit it."
And she admitted it.
But ask her now and she will still say: "No, I do not like Wagner."
Just like next time I go over there it will be: "I do not like Greek food."
Ha, ha! This is probably the only time Wagner and Greek food are mentioned side by side in the same context.
Leave it to my mom!