Thursday, August 17, 2006

Alchemy

With camp over for the summer, and school out for another month, I have my hands full with my daughter. Getting in writing time will be sporadic. So today I'm going to leave you with 2 new posts and hopefully I'll find time to post in the cracks after that. Thanks for your continued support and readership.
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Yesterday morning Sienna woke up really early and climbed into the middle of the big bed with us. After several minutes of kicking and flailing while we desperately clung to precious moments of sleep, my husband had had enough of us being pins to her bowling ball and told her "Sienna, go back to your bed or you can play quietly until we wake up." She disappeared without much fuss. Ahhh.

Dozing off, drifting back to the nether lands of dreamspace, we both awaken to a CRASH followed by screaming and crying.

"Oh my God!" We both shot out of bed, jarred awake by the screaming, and run towards the kitchen where we find her.

The picture became clearer soon enough. Sienna had dragged a chair over to the hutch, then put a step stool on top of that, and was trying to climb up to the top shelf where I kept a little bowl of the candy left over from a birthday party goodie bag from the past weekend. The stool had toppled and she had apparently fallen against the wooden back of the chair.

Luckily she was all right, a bit shaken perhaps, but what a scare.

That girl would do anything for a piece of candy or a "treat." She's obsessed with them lately. Obsessed.

Reminds me of when I was a little girl. I so loved sweets too. My mother was very strict with our diet...no sweets, no sugar cereals, no sodas, hardly even juice was allowed in our house. Adele Davis recipes ruled. She ran a tight ship supplying us with flax seed whole grain cereal for breakfast, (no Lucky Charms or Capt'n Crunch here), and lecithin and kelp in our homemade vinagrette salad dressing every single night. "Cookies," if you can call them that, were made with dates instead of chocolate chips and soy grits instead of nuts. Yeah. Really stands up to the neighbor kid's sweet version. And this was in the 70s folks, well before this current organic Whole Foods-Wild Oats-ification of family eating habits.

One time, I must have been busted for sneaking some of her stash of secret candy, or maybe I just wanted to eat more of my Halloween candy than the few pieces she allotted us. Either way, I was found out, and after a long tirade of hysterical yelling, she opened up the cupboard, got out a bowl, dumped a mound of sugar in it with some water, handed me a spoon and said, "Here. You want candy? Take this! Take it.That's all it is you know, it's just sugar and water. It's Junk! JUNK!! Now EAT this! Sit here and eat it. And don't you leave until it's all gone!"

Tears running down my face, staring into a bowl of grainy, soupy glop, stirring it with a spoon, I tried to choke some of it down. Gagging on sugar and tears, I wouldn't eat it. I just stirred it around and around and cried. I was trapped.

Wish I knew then what I later learned as a chef. Wish I had figured out the way to transform it into something edible, palatable. Instead, I just suffered through it.

Boil sugar and water long enough, you get caramel. Add a few nuts, you get nut brittle. Add more water and boil it to "the softball stage," you get taffy or chews. Boil to "the hardball stage" add some flavoring and color, you get hard candies and lollipops.

Sugar and water transformed.

Learning the ways of alchemy…

I'm just so grateful to be here. To be alive.

3 comments:

Suzy said...

"Wish I knew then what I later learned as a chef. Wish I had figured out the way to transform it into something edible, palatable. Instead, I just suffered through it."
Great lines....applies to a lot of things huh my friend???
Glad Sienna was ok.
Keep digging at those memories.....
please.

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Love how you went from Sienna now, to you then, to you now. Lovely full circle.

Karuna said...

Hey Go Mama...this is an absolutely lovely post. I should be working but something made me think I needed to read your blog today, and now I can go back to work with better focus. Love the connections between the former and current You's.