Friday, September 14, 2007

See you again Grandma...

See you again Grandma!

Say cheese!

We said goodbye to Grandma this week when her visit with us came to an end. After two weeks of blissful peace and quiet, she was packed and ready to go back home.

She left two solid weeks of grandchildren biting her ankles (wink), playing scrabble, and yahtzee for many hours each day, driving balls in our back property, and loving her trips to our famous dollar store. Yes, there were many bargains there for her again this year, quality bargains too!

My hubby’s goal was to assure everyone his mother would eat plenty and gain a few pounds during her visit. He teased her by taking photos of her eating her lunch, soup bowl empty.

Being teased by her son with this photo.

Together they took over the kitchen on two occasions, concocting beloved Indonesian foods he’d grown up with since birth; "Bahmi Goreng" with "Kroepoek", and "Nasi Goreng" with "pork tenderloin satay on skewers" with the side peanut butter sauce for dipping. As I have been somewhat remiss on taking proper photos these days, I was saddened when realizing I had not snapped photos of the kitchen wonders, the food display or the cooks at work. I have literally been in a relaxed late summer mode, allowing myself to take in the final week before school begins yet again.

Bahmi Goreng is better known as an Indonesian noodle dish, and Nasi Goreng is otherwise known as a rice dish. Several side dishes compliment the main course, usually thinly sliced cucumbers, long strips of crepe-thin fried eggs, applesauce, coconut, mango chutney, and other sordid condiments. The kroepoek is a shrimp chip. I am so thankful you can now purchase these in a package ready made, as we used to have to deep fry them to grow into their crispy, light and delicious chews.

Like my husband’s grandmother used to, so too does my mother in law make these meals from scratch, a satisfying meal so much tastier than the packaged base mixes we have purchased at local Dutch food stores or specialty food sections in local grocery stores when we have a craving to resolve. Slices of fresh limes or lemons are a real treat to cool off a hot mouth during the meal, and traditionally a nicely scooped out half of papaya is a treat for dessert, or a bit of ice cream.

Mother and Son.

Now, if only my husband would write all he has learned over the years down for us to have on file!

Chicken Satay and Peanut Butter sauce for dipping

For these dishes, she prefers to grate fresh ginger, use fresh shredded cabbage, chopped onions, use fresh shrimp, fresh beef for the bahmi goreng, fresh pork tenderloin for the nasi goreng, along with special spices imported from Holland. Everything is fresh, nothing packaged or frozen, not her. Oh no! And the sambal oelek is a lovely HOT red spice added to the food, just a mild version, and those who are brave enough add more to their dish as necessary.

HOT Sambal - Yummy yum!

I must announce here, this family heritage traditional food fare on my hubby’s side has been one incredible love of mine, our children have grown up with it on their palette, and my whole extended family is just as hooked as we are. Yes, our children have been raised to appreciate foods from many lands and these are just but a few.

Grandma was a great sport, enjoying her chosen wing backed chair in the family room each day, sitting to read a few books from our family library, or knitting up a storm, and she became hooked on the family’s yahtzee hand held games trying to beat other’s scores. The competition was friendly, usually a few players each day trying to accumulate many of the yahtzees before sitting at the dining room table for a real live game with dice! Great math was my thought, very great math for the young ones at that.

Knitting is still in progress over here!

When we needed to avoid any thought of cabin fever, she came with us to town more than a few times, if only to sit by the water’s edge and watch the many vessels sailing by, and enjoying the sunshine at the same time. A horrid toothache threatened to ruin the visit, but with my handy dandy pure cloves, the visit was spared an emergency trip to the dentist.

The weather was fabulous during her visit; summer was indeed at our doorstep! Whether we went shopping, taking hubby to his physio appointments, to hockey tryouts, for a meal somewhere, or just sat enjoying a good view, it was a laid back atmosphere we created as a family for all to unwind from a hectic pace of summer. Who says there are lazy days of summer anyway? We needed to just sit and relax a while.

They don't make these booths big enough!

Like a blink of an eye, time flew and it was time to drive her to the airport in the early wee hours of the morning this past Tuesday. Traveling in the dark, the appointed time to begin the journey was not as pleasant when rising to complete darkness. The roads were quiet, the serenity of the drive allowed for passengers to nod off a bit along the way, but we made good time arriving to the airport.

Waiting in line at the airport.

Goodbyes are just not for us. We take it in our strides to hug, offer heartfelt thoughts but goodbye... NOT! See you soon is much better for us all to say instead…

So, Grandma, rest up from the trip and see you again.