who's in the kitchen

Cheers to the mother of all worriers


It started out as a normal Monday morning. I came down to the kitchen, made myself a cup of coffee and began to read the newspaper. Just then, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed my daughter’s pocketbook. “Oh my goodness,” I thought. “She left it here yesterday and didn’t realize.” I tried to call her; it went to voicemail. Well, she would figure it out as soon as she got ready to leave. Her purse had her wallet in it. Can’t go very far without it.

I went upstairs to shower and was sure I’d see a text from her when I got out, but I didn’t. It was now after 9 am, she had to have noticed. She would be at work already. I thought it odd. I texted her and got no response.

OK, I thought, she’s busy at work, she’ll text me later. But wouldn’t she want to confirm that she had left it at my house?

I called her husband just to check that everything was OK. He didn’t answer either. I texted him and asked him to call me. He didn’t.

Now I was really nervous. The last I’d spoken to her the night before, she had been in an Uber with her husband and dog. Could it have gotten into an accident? Her ID was in her pocketbook, and often her husband doesn’t carry his. Maybe there was a gas leak in their apartment overnight!

I’m not sure why I was so panicky. I am not one of those overprotective moms. When my firstborn was a baby and the pacifier fell, I would wipe it off and give it back (memo to my son and daughter-in-law: I would never dare do that with my granddaughter; no worries). It just made no sense that she hadn’t called to check if she’d left her bag.

I tried to calm myself down. But another hour went by, and I still hadn’t heard from my daughter. I texted a friend of hers who works in the same school and asked if she was in today. No response.

Then I got a call from her husband. I breathed a sigh of relief. He explained that she had taken a vacation day because she had an appointment, and that she was probably sleeping or in the shower and had missed the calls and texts.

I was embarrassed at how ridiculous I was. I tried to explain how I’d come to the conclusion that they had either gotten into a horrible Uber car accident or overcome by gas fumes. Although it had sounded plausible when it played out in my mind, it now sounded ridiculous. My son-in-law, being very laid-back and easygoing, chuckled and assured me all was OK. My daughter might be another story. I told her she would understand when, G-d willing, she becomes a mother.

Which reminded me of my mom, and how nervous she used to be when my friends and I went out. Mind you, this was a group of 10 to 12 people, and we were probably 17 at the time, but no matter where we went, if it was at night she was always nervous, always waiting up until I returned and always wanting to know our exact plans. If we were going ice skating in Coney Island, I would have to tell a little white lie that one of the parents was coming with us. I told her I was 17 and she didn’t have to worry. She responded that every day in the newspaper there was another picture of a young woman murdered somewhere and that I had to be really careful. Trying to make light of her nervousness, I would find a flattering picture of myself and tell her that if G-d forbid something happened, could she please make sure that this was the photo that ended up in the newspaper. She didn’t think it was funny.

I wish she was still here with us today. I would apologize, because she was right all along. It doesn’t matter how old you are — your child is always your child, and you always worry about them!

A great recipe came to my mind as I was writing this article — a bit time consuming, but worth the effort.

Flambéed Pear “Purses” with Caramel Sauce and Ganache

By Charles from Five Euro Food

For the purses:

2 pears (ripe)

3 sheets filo pastry

1-1/2 Tbsp. sugar

1-1/2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter (for brushing)

3 Tbsp. brandy

For the caramel sauce:

3/4 cup sugar

3-1/3 oz. heavy (whipping) cream

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter

For the ganache:

3-1/2 Tbsp. dark Chocolate

3-1/2 oz. heavy (whipping) cream

Start by peeling, coring and finely chopping the pears. Next, melt the butter in a large frying pan and add in the chopped pears and 1-1/2 Tbsp. of sugar. Cook through for a couple of minutes until the pear juice starts to form a syrup with the sugar. At this point, pour in the brandy and allow to sizzle vigorously for a couple of seconds before setting it alight with a lighter or match. Allow to burn out, shaking the pan every few seconds.

Melt the remaining butter for the purses, either in a pan or by placing in the microwave on high power for a few seconds. Cut the filo pastry sheets in half widthwise so you get 6 pieces. Layer them on top of each other, brushing the top of each bottom sheet with butter before placing a new sheet on top. Once all three sheets are in place, brush the top again with butter.

Preheat your oven to 425F. Meanwhile place half of the cooked pear mixture into the center of the pastry sheets. Bring the corners together and press gently at the top to form a small pouch or bag shape. Brush liberally again with butter and place onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Repeat the process again for the second purse and then place into the preheated oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until a rich golden brown.

While the purses are baking, place the sugar for the caramel sauce into a pan and melt over a medium heat, stirring all the time. When the sugar has completely melted down to a rich brown sauce, add in the cream. At this point the sauce will froth up a lot, so watch and stir well. When the bubbling has subsided, add the butter and stir until melted. Set aside and allow to cool.

Next, melt the chocolate in another pan over a medium heat, stirring all the time until completely melted. When ready, pour in the cream and stir well to blend. Place the purses onto serving dishes and serve the sauces with them. Sprinkle with a little powdered sugar if desired.