If Mama ain’t happy…

When I was working, I woke up at 5:30 or 6 am, every morning, without fail, without alarm clock. It was my time, my time to read my coffee, drink my email, and open my eyes. The boys would come stumbling down the stairs at 7:15, and I would start yelling for Eddy to wake up at 7:30. Those ninety minutes were what made the difference between a grumpy, insane day, and just an insane day.

Now that I’m on maternity leave, and unable to sleep at night thanks to somebody’s feet in my ribs, I find myself sleeping later and later each morning. Sometimes I’m able to sneak out of bed and down the stairs by myself, but nine times out of ten a certain three year old’s bat like hearing and finely tuned sense of radar means that my tiptoeing down the steps is quickly followed by a galumping and high pitched ‘We awake Mama!’.

I’ve gotten better at serving breakfast with my eyes closed, and the boys have gotten better about respecting the idea that Mama needs to drink her coffee and read her email before any negotiations start. Now if only I could get Eddy to be better about getting out of bed by himself, my mornings would be complete.

The French + Jello Mousse = ???

My friend Mickey believes that all families have a recipe which gets trotted out at holidays rain or shine and without which the holiday would not be a holiday, no matter how white trash the recipe. (Apparently the Clintons like Coca-Cola Jello…)

I’ve been thinking long and hard about my family’s traditional white trash recipes, and have been hard pressed to find any. Maybe Jews don’t do white trash so well? Although my father and stepmother’s side of the family could come up with something if they ever had the time to cook… My fail safe recipe from my mother’s side is her chocolate Matzoh Passover layer cake which involves an obscene amount of chocolate and white wine. My stepmother’s Thanksgiving dressing (not stuffing) is another important tradition, so beloved that KDT would make two every year: one for me and one for everyone else. But I digress…

Mickey’s family recipe is for Jello mousse something or other, which when described sounds quite unpalatable, but which when tasted… well, let’s just say that my kids are going to be making this for their spouses at many Thanksgiving meals to come.

We all know that the French have, umm, discriminating tastes when it comes to food. Frogs legs and runny cheese anyone? A little blood sausage to tempt your taste buds? And they don’t appreciate the finer things in life, like ginger ale, peanut butter, or jello fluff. Sigh.

Our neighbors, Jerome and Celine, have decided to leave us and return south to Toulouse. We’ve been friends ever since we moved next door to them, and our kids are quite similar in age. They’ve also been rather tolerant of us and our loud noises, which is an excellent quality to have in a neighbor, I think. To celebrate their last night in Grenoble, they had dinner with us, and I decided to send them off properly. After all, who knows when they’ll live next to an American again?