When I married Real Gil, it was the happiest day of my life. Of course. Duh. Not only was he the love of my life, but the running joke in his family was that the newest newlyweds received this as their wedding gift:
What? I'm shocked, you can't see clearly what this is? Is my photography lacking? Hmm. Well, to be honest, if you saw it in person, it wouldn't be much better. This is a really old picture that is worth a million dollars. Maybe more. Just because the woman looks like a man in drag and there is no meadow for said picture "The Meadow" does not mean it lacks value. No, not sentimental value. I could care less about the lady or her pooping animals. Nor could the family I married into. They gave it to me as a white elephant gift and I've proudly hung it in every home we've ever lived in. Because it is worth a million dollars. For sure. And I don't care who gets married next, they are not getting The Meadow. It could be my own child for all I care, and I'll happily pack them a hope chest full of goodies. But not my lady/man meadow print. She/he stays with Gil and I. Her sepia tones grace our wall, love in artform from my dear in-laws.
But that's not all they gave me! I tell you, I hit the mother lode in that family. And it all boils down to one word: [imagine me leaning in close and stretching out the 's' in this word so it tickles your ear.] RECIPES.
Oh yeah, baby, you want it, I got it. What are you looking for? Pork chops, whole wheat waffles, danish pastries, homemade hamburger buns, chicken tortilla soup, ham crepes, chicken apricot pasta...the list goes on and on. And although The Meadow isn't going anywhere in the near (or distant) future, her man-hands just might be out the door if I had to choose between them or the RECIPES-s-s-s-s.
Just thinking about my mother-in-law's kitchen makes me gain weight, it's that delightful of a place. An innocent peek into the refrigerator is a very quick gauge on whether I'm walking in the Spirit or lacking all self-control. Yes, Sugs, you want some milk...hm-hmm...I'm getting it. It's just right here behind the chocolate mousse cake...snarfle, snarfle (What is that? "Snarfle"?!!)
How, then, do they look like this?
Obviously, I married into the family, those genes didn't come anywhere near my vicinity. But it's cool. I can take the heat. Especially if it means I get to eat this.
We have no routine in this house other than naptime and bedtime. And kettle corn time.
When Real Gil's sporadic schedule lands him at home in the evening, we stir and pop with the best of them. (By the way, bad guy, if you think this house is empty of a big, hulking man at nighttime, the key word is sporadic. But I have a history with any bat (I prefer a Louisville Slugger), my children can scream loud enough to wake the entire neighborhood, and all you're going to find is a lot of children's toys and hand-me-down furniture. But let me tell you about my loaded neighbor, that guy is r-i-c-h...)
We all pile into the TV room and we watch America's Funniest Home Videos with a big bowl of homemade crunchiness. The recipe below is sure to be a hit at your house, and a guarantee to vacuum the next day.
Heat about 1/3 cup of oil in the bottom of your largest pot on about medium heat. To test the heat, add two kernels of corn and put the lid back on. When they have popped, pour in about 1 and 1/2 cups of unpopped popcorn. Return the lid (KEY!!!), shake periodically until completely popped. Then, pour into the biggest bowl you own, and salt to taste.
In a small saucepan, mix the following ingredients:
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup karo syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup sugar
Stir this on medium heat for about 8-9 minutes, or until it changes colors from creamy white to light brown.
Pour over the popcorn and toss to spread evenly. Be careful - it's hot. And doggone good. Especially if you one-and-a-half the topping (yes, didn't you know one-and-a-half is a verb?). Yes, mother-in-love, I do that. [shrug.] And no, you can't have The Meadow back. Even if I did share your recipe on my blog. But you can come over for popcorn any time you want.
May your weekend be full of family recipes, laughter, and Rest.