I had a complicated relationship with my mother. She was a complex woman with many secrets. When she died two years ago my sister and I tried to walk the line between private and secret. Its a difficult balance.
I hope my Mother knew how much I loved her and how much I was shaped by her. I miss her.
Mom's Birthday Apple Tart
At the center of my mother's life has always been food. From a grandmother who died of malnutrition in the Depression to a beloved aunt who taught her how to love with food, to mothering five children.......... in her adult life she worked in a brownie factory and managed a restaurant........... my mother was a foodie before foodie was a word. On September 12th she turned 79. These days her food obsession runs mostly to the Food Network and food websites. I swear in her heyday she could have originated and run the Food Network. She was a tireless and inspired task master!
Mom didn't ask for much on her birthday but she wanted an apple tart and she loves the one Jacques Pepin's mother used to make. He gives the recipe in his autobiography, The Apprentice. I think its not so much the tart, though it is good, as the fact that its Jacques's mother's recipe and my mother loves Jacques and his story and his devotion to his mother.
We woke up early the morning of mom's birthday because we were hot. The air conditioner stopped working in the night and it was stuffy and stale in the house. There would be no repairman out until after 2. Mom said the tart would have to wait until the afternoon because if we turned on the oven the house would get even more uncomfortable, not that it was that bad but we didn't know how long we'd be without AC or how hot it might get.
The short of it is the air conditioner couldn't be repaired that day and my mom didn't get Madame Pepin's Apple Tart for her 79th birthday. Hardee's apple tarts served as our substitute treat and we sang Happy Birthday to MiMi while she alternately glowed and hid her eyes. Tears come easily to Mom, especially happy tears.
We've all gone back to our homes and lives and Mom is alone again in her home in the country; but thanks to the Food Network and the internet she can carry on with her passion for food!
Thank you Hardee's for being there when we needed you. Your tart's aren't bad I'll admit but they are not Madame Pepin's Apple Tart so I owe you one Mom!