The Sweet Smell of Racism, Sorry About Your Fulbright!

Many of you cool kids who come hang with me are in North America. Have you heard these two lovely news tidbits from your neck of the woods?

Feeling hungry? How about a little Anti-Arab and Anti-Muslim sentiment from one of the largest food chains in the United States? I have no food to showcase here kids, as this has me reeling and feeling a bit nauseated. I’m so angry and bitter about this it’s probably best I don’t go on too much, but I would encourage you, if you feel concerned by large-scale racism and discrimination, to read more here about this ridiculousness, and sign the boycott Dunkin’ Dounuts petition if you should feel inclined.

When I was completing my Master’s Degree in the U.S. I applied for a Fulbright Scholarship to do field work for my Doctorate in North Africa. I wanted to study the voice of feminism in the oral tradition of the Maghreb, specifically in Morocco and Algeria. Those Fulbright folks thought my idea was a little to risquée at the time because, you know, the U.S. was invading Iraq and all that…but hey, I had other options, and found myself in Paris. Boo hoo for me.

But I’m one incredibly lucky Fish- I had a back-up plan. This is not the case for many, and it is most definitely not the case for scholars in Palestine who endure things I could not even pretend to describe here. For many of them, Fulbright is the opportunity they need to to their research, field work, etc. Well, sorry about your luck kids, but since Israel won’t let you leave, we’re pulling your funds! Ha! This brief afticle in the International Hearld Tribune (It’s the Global Edition of the New York Times) explains it well. Seems a bit like punishing a whole lot of people for things they haven’t done. Maybe it’s just me

“C” is for Cookie & “C” is for Céline!

There seems to be a bit of a cookie frenzy in the air, or at least on the vegan blogosphere, thanks in large part to the lovely, cookie-wielding Céline of Have Cake, Will Tavel. I’m all about cookies. Who isn’t? (No, seriously, who isn’t, I want to know as they should perhaps not be trusted…).

One of my faves is the Snickerdoodle. See, I haven’t had one in, uh, I don’t know…a million years, because usually they are full of butter or hydrogenated shortening and well, that’s just, you know, gross. I received a new cookbook over the holidays and I was all excited about a Snickerdoodle recipe in said book because I thought that after long last the Snickerdoodle and the Shellyfish would be reunited.

I tried the recipe. Twice. It was, well, nasty-gross.

I was oh-so-disappointed, as was the entire Fish household, because I had maybe gone on just a little bit too much about how scrumptious the Snickerdoodles are. Then super-chef-extraordinaire Céline posted her becoming-more-famous-by-the-minute Snickerdoodle recipe, and I knew it was time to recreate the doodle-magic.

Me: Hey Guppy, do you want another Snickerdoodle?

Guppy: (laughing) They’re not sticky-noodles, Mumma, they’re cookies!

What is great about Ms. C’s Vegetarian Times recipe-redoux is that she created the perfect sized recipe for a small little school of fish like ours- there are only 3 of us, and so either we a) pig out on cookies as they are cooling because they are so difficult to resist and swear off cookies for a few weeks… or b) see “a”. So it’s OK to eat them all! Really, you can, don’t worry. I got about 8 cookies the first time I made them, and the second time I doubled the batch, which still only made about 14ish cookies. Perfect!

Why are you still reading? Click on the above link to Céline’s recipe already! Go, go, go!

I used to love the opéra… Daring Baker’s May Challenge

NB: The following is the désastre of a very new baker (vegan or otherwise!)…but please go visit some of the other Alternative Daring Bakers & traditional bakers, my misery is the result of my inexperience, but there are some great success stories out there in Veganland!

Riding my (sugar) high from last month’s challenge, I was really looking forward to this month’s Daring Baker’s Challenge which was an opéra, a lovely French patisserie usually composed of three thin layers of almond sponge cake-ish cake, with a coffee flavoured syrup poured over each layer (or often soaked in the syrup), between the cake layers is a buttercream or mousse generally coffee or orange flavoured, then it’s topped with a chocolate ganache and often dusted with cocao powder. It is a very rich and decadent treat that is oft sold here in France as a whole cake, or as individual servings in the boulangeries or patisseries. I’ve had them (it’s been a while, but the memory was clear). They’re crazy rich, but good. Part of the challenge was that we couldn’t use the traditional choco-café flavourings… all the better!

The day the challenge was posted I went out in search of all I’d need to make my vegan version for the challenge. I managed to get my hands on some vegan white chocolate, which was my main concern, and a back up bottle of Lemoncello just to be sure (since I couldn’t remember how full our bottle at home was!). I knew right away what I wanted for my flavours : almond & rose water for the cake (I’ve been on a bit of an eau de rose thing lately), lemon & coconut for the buttercream, lemon for the syrup, and coconut & lime for the white chocolate ganache. It seemed the perfect idea (that’s usually a warning sign, when things just seem a little, you know, too, perfect).

I’m having a rather hard time being a good sport about my échec or failure here, so I won’t go into detail about all the horrible things that could-and-did-go-wrong. Some real basic issues should have set off warning signals in my head, but I was really naive (I’m so new to baking, and have had really good luck, so thought this would be no problem!), and I did learn some valuable lessons from this recipe (like not not having a jellyroll pan is problematic for some recipes & vegan white chocolate doesn’t harden up, at all, unless refrigerated for 24 hours…)

I’m mostly disappointed because of the huge amount of waste I managed to create. I love buttercream & sweets in general, but this cake is just horrible. I have forced down two pieces and they have each made me feel nauseated. Even the Guppy, who loves loves loves anything remotely too sugary only managed a few bites and was done. Being a neophyte baker, I opted for my favourite – but not cheap – flavourings, and that was my biggest mistake of all. I guess it would be like using your fave material for your first attempt at sewing yourself a pair of pants – better get the muslin out first baby before you regret it!

So I did indeed learn a lot from this challenge, and if I’m angry/frustrated/disappointed/a bit ashamed, well, it’s with myself for my silly mistakes, and I humbly thank the ever talented hosts of this month’s event : Fran of Apples Peaches Pumpkin Pie, Shea from Whiskful, and Ivonne of Creampuffs in Venise and Lis from La Mia Cucina. It’s thanks to lovely ladies like this that I am pushing the envelope of culinary catastrophes and learning & trying new things. And hey, it’s the Daring Bakers – I’ll get a new chance next month to kick some buttercream!

Scones à l’eau de rose & aux amandes – Rose & Almond Scones – It’s Bread Baking Day N° 10

It is time once again for Bread Baking Day! This month’s theme, breakfast breads, was chosen by the lovely Melissa at Baking A Sweet Life – merci, Melissa! She’ll be putting the round-up of all our entries on June 5th, so go take a peek and be inspired!

I feel as though baking scones is a bit of a rite of passage in vegan culinaria. The vast majority of vegan blogs I love to visit have showcased at one time or another beautifully baked scones, with flavours ranging from peanut butter to pumpkin, even scony breakfast sandwiches – and admittedly they looked rather tempting. It also seems that no vegan cookbook would be complete without at least one (or multiple) scone recipes.

While the photos on the vegan blogosphere seemed enticing, I had scone issues. I’d only ever had scones on two occasions, and they left rather tasteless impressions on me. The first time was in a rather trendy tea room in London about 16 years ago. Everyone had hyped this amazing place with its brilliant scones and the clotted cream is bloody phenomenal! I sat uncomfortably, surrounded by 4 very hip and trendy and (seeming to 17-year-old me) sophisticated 25-year-old Londoners. I wanted to be cool, suave, and as cosmopolitan as they were, and when I bit into what I thought was a mixture of sawdust and cardboard I forced a smile and raising my eyebrows I declared,”It’s like nothing I’ve ever had before!”, which was true. I managed to avoid the clotted cream (because it sounded like something that should be thrown out because it had gone bad), and got about half of the thing they called “scone” into my handbag to be discreetly thrown out later without anyone noticing.

Scone session numéro dos was about 5 years later, with a much older and wiser Shellyfish (irony) surrounded by terribly cool people on a fashionably hip terrace at an over-priced trendy café in the desert Southwest in the U.S. My fellow brunchers were, in my eyes, what I wanted to be when I grew up : young 30-somethings, so for me, grown ups – there was the witty newspaper editor, the bohemian graphic designer, the sullen musician, the dreamy poet, and me, the dancer/student who dabbled a bit in freelance journalism and poetry, but who felt like an insignificant speck of wanna-be talent next to my friends. I came back from the washroom to find scones & coffee on our table, and sullen musician smiled with shocks of hair falling in his eyes and said, “you lived in Europe right, so I thought you would like these. I think they’re European or something.” Trying not to swoon because sullen musician knew something important about me, I forced down what felt like a hockey puck made of baking powder, but smiled through the entire ordeal.

I’m the young 30-something now, and have thankfully re-adjusted my focus a bit (and my friendship criteria). I wanted to move on in the scone department, and thought this BBD was the kick in the pants I needed to make the scones. Hundreds of snappy vegans couldn’t be wrong after all!

I based the following on the Orange Glazed Scone recipe in VWAV, because I am all about eau de rose lately (new and unusual). I wanted to use pistachios rather than almonds, but Mr. Fish depleted our stocks while watching a “Zombie sharks attack the vampire monkeys of New York” type movie the other night. The almonds were great, though. I’m also happy to say that the scones were, too. They were light and flaky and delicate as the rose itself!

  • 350g plain flour
  • 50g ground almonds (almond meal)
  • 115ml plain soy milk
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinagar
  • 50g sugar
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • pinch or two salt
  • 5 tablespoons veg. oil
  • 3 tablespoons rosewater
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract

Heat oven to about 200c/400f. Add the vinagar to the milk and set aside. Sift together the flour, meal, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add the vinagar mixture and the rosewater & almond extract and stir until just mixed. I needed to add a little flour here because things were still rather wet. Dump out the dough and divide in two, knead a little and form into a bit of a disc and cut into pie-like wedges. Place on baking sheet and in the oven it goes for about 15 minutes or until slightly browned.

For the glaze add about 120g icing sugar, 2 tablespoons of melted non-hydrogenated margerine and 3 tablespoons eau de rose in a bowl and stir until well combined. You can get festive and add some food coloring if you wish (I did). Drizzle over scones and sprinkle with slivered almonds.

I’d also like to thank Ms. Zorra, the founder of this great event. Helping me to try new things, one bread at a time!

Cobblers & “Picniks”

The philanthropist & all-around-cutie Katie (or Special K) aka the Chocolate Covered Vegan posted her Little Vegan Crumble recently and it spurred daydreaming about summertime picknicks and BBQs with friends, light breezes and kite flying…you get the picture. The Guppy has been a bit slammed with a late-season cold, and was feeling a wee bit down about being stuck in the house with the sun beaming outside, so, I thought the moment for Katie’s Crumble had arrived, only, unbeliveably, I found myself oatless in the kitchen! I’d already promised a baking project to the eager Guppy who was already sitting on her knees on one of the kitchen chairs, playing the drums with a spoon and some mixing bowls, so my mental-roll-a-dex was spinning- what to make?

We’d already set the apples on the table, and I thought, hey, cobbler is yummy, too! And voila! Afternoon project and yummy snack rolled into one!

This recipe is adapted from The New Farm Vegetarian Cookbook, which as I’ve said before, is such a great Vegan resource. It’s not as sexy or hip as some of the newer books on the market (first edition published in 1975), but that’s what I love – you don’t need any fancy ingredients to make any of the recipes (and the pictures are so darn hippy-retro-cool!).

Fruit Cobbler

for the fruit filling :

  • 6 large apples (cored & sliced or chopped)
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • a little water

Sauté your apples in a skillet over low heat for 5 minutes, adding a few soup spoons of water from time to time to keep from sticking (the original recipe calls for 3 Tbsp margarine, which you could use rather than H2O). Add the sugar and cinnamon, and cook apples until they are pretty tender, about 5-10 minutes more.

for the batter :

  • 3/4 cups whole wheat flour (I don’t even use WW pastry flour & it turns out fine)
  • 3/4 AP flour (the original recipe calls for 1.5 cups AP flour if you don’t want to use WW, but it’s good!)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup oil (I don’t use that much, I don’t fill it all the way…)
  • 1 cup “milk”
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Sift together the dry ingredients, then slowly add the wet until just mixed. Put in enough batter to cover the bottom of your pan (recipe suggests 8×8 square, I used a round, I’m a rebel), then add the apples. You’ll have very little batter left, it’s normal, just scoop it onto the apple layer in little splotches – it will seem like there isn’t enough, so don’t stress. Bake for about 25 minutes at 350F. You could top it with anything, obviously, but we like to add a little cashew-vanilla crème sauce on top:

And now for the “Picnik” – you may have noticed my playing around with the pics in this entry. Being one of the only bloggers on the planet to not have any photo editing software, I try to do what I can with light, etc., when taking my pictures, but could never crop or correct anything…until now!

Going through some bookmarked blogs I revisited Full Circle, which is a great blog (there are so many fabulous ones out there!) that has a huge amount of universal appeal though it is a self-described homeschooling blog. Seriously, go check it out! I may be one of the last to hear the news, but thanks to Full Circle I’m in the loop because she introduced me to Picnik, an amazing – and free – photo editing tool! I haven’t had too much time to play around with it, but it is just fabulous!

Sew Proud Of Myself & My Bad Pun!

I’m one of those people who gets bored rather easily. Let me clarify : I have a tendency to become rather bored if I’m not constantly re-inventing myself, trying new things, moving outside of the little comfort zone I am forever building and tearing down, like the tides on the sands of humanity, the reflection of the impermanence of all that is around us…

Woah…sorry kids…

Anyway, around the holidays I got all crafty-sewish-curious, and began to try to do things with needle and thread, very new waters for the Shellyfish. I even found myself ogling sewing machines on-line. Yeah, because that’s something cool people do, you just didn’t know it (neither did I, I must confess…).

My monster Mother-In-Law gave me her old machine in March. She told me straight up it wasn’t capable of much anymore, but would be a great way to see what that sewing thing was all about. I loved it, like a 16 year-old loves their first car, despite the lack of power-steering or breaks, or radio, or working heat, and the rusted-out holes which give it a cute Flintsones-esque feel…

My super-cute mom watched me try to parallel-park without a rear-view mirror so to speak with the old machine whilst visiting last month, and in a moment of pure benevolence and motherly-love, bought me the most amazing gift EVER (except for that Fender Avalon Acoustic when I was 14 which was frankly just freaking cool as hell).

With this here little “beginner” machine (it’s the most basic machine Singer has, and I’ll probably never need anything else), I have been (in my copious free time) having a blast! While I may not be able to completely escape the Capitalist Machine (shiver), if I can do it myself, I will.

I have managed to hem some pants (rather than paying 15E at the tailor’s down the street), and some other not very sexy things, but look at all this:

No, I didn’t sew the couch, but I did make some new throw-pillow covers all by myself! I rule! Okay, most seasoned stitchers could tell you it’s probably pretty easy, even without a pattern, but for me, damn, it was like cutting my first tooth! I just set the fabrics next to one another and did what I thought looked good.

And this little pencil-or-whatever-you-want case is for my good friend’s birthday. The Guppy calls her Tata Frog, and it is so decorated! If you recall, the Easter Bunny brought lots of these little cute felt critters, which came from one of the best little books ever, aptly named The Cute Book by Aranzi Aronzo. Holy freaking cute, Batman. I love this book which has got that whole tiny-Japanese-cute thing going on, and has really easy patterns to make little felt critters. I got the idea of adding the little froggie here from that book. Tata Frog is, like me, a teacher of languages, so she of course needs 1) little bags for pencils & red pens; 2) comic relief on the job. I’ve made some other things, but I don’t want to blow you all away with my amazing skills (note irony) , so I’ll reserve further show-and-telling for another day…

Quinoa aux champignons! Mushroom & Fennel Quinoa!

Up until about 4 years ago I’d never cooked quinoa. Ok, up until about 4 years ago I’d never really cooked much of anything. My most common culinary feats came in to-go containers, and my version of a homemade dinner was my famous “safsouf au frigo”, a tabouleh you make in the morning with raw couscous, leave it in your fridge all day, and when you come home you stir & eat it. Whew! Slaving over a hot stove…what a drag!

Those days are gone and when I decided to cook, I realized I lacked the skills and basic know-how to do much other than boil water and chop veggies- and that’s really all you need to know how to do for this delicious dish!

Oh, right, back to my little 4-years-ago flashback. Because I am the academic-nerd type, I thought to myself “get ye a book of cookingness oh Shellyfish sans skills of the culinary variety” and that’s what I did. Recettes au Quinoa by Claudine Demay et Didier Perreol is a cute little book (literally, it’s not much bigger than my hand), but has 60 quinoa-based recipes. Not all the recipes are vegan, or even vegetarian, but the majority are, and those that aren’t are pretty easy to veganize. This book was great for me as a neophyte in the kitchen, because it has recipes spanning from breakfast-lunch-dinner, plus breads & muffins and more. I slightly adapted the following recipe, which is one of my family’s favorites (yes, even Mr. Fish likes it! go figure!). It’s also one of the only recipes I use with fennel – thanks to this recipe I cooked with it for the first time!

Quinoa aux champignons adapted from Quinoa aux pleurotes from Recettes au Quinoa

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • a pound of mushrooms
  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced in lovely diagonals
  • cloves of garlic (minced) to taste- I used about 4 or 5
  • sesame oil
  • the equivalent of 2 plain soy yogurts or soy cream
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro or parsley

Clean & slice your mushrooms, and sauté them in a heavy-bottomed pan in about a half a cup of water for about 10 minutes, stirring from time to time, and adding water if it gets too dry. Drain off any water that may be left-over after 10 minutes, and add two tablespoons of sesame seed oil, the fennel, garlic, salt & pepper to taste, and cook covered, over low heat, for about 15 minutes, or until the fennel is nice & tender.

Remove the pan from heat and gently stir in the soy yogurt or cream and your herb of choice. Yum! Here is a really horrible picture of what it looks like, but you are all imaginative fish, so pretend it’s just beautiful!

Make Your Own Vegan Beauty Products : Magical Make-Up Remover ou Sérum démaquillant biphasé

My DIY Vegan Beauty Products experimenting continues with this newest concoction which I slightly adapted from a new book I scored : 90 recettes de beauté bio à faire soi-même (90 Organic Do-it-Yourself Beauty Recipes) by Sophie Macheteau and Vania Guet. This is my first attempt at something from their gorgeous book, which is really written for the débutante that I am.

90 recettes is some terribly delicious eye-candy : beautifully photographed and edited, I found myself feeling rather soothed just leafing through the recipes. As I glanced at the various possibilities, I found myself wanting to try everything, but the majority of the cosmetics, lotions & potions require ingredients other than what one would find in the common kitchen. I had the vitamin E capsules, as well as the essential oils, but had no jojoba oil or grapefruit seed extract on hand. Maybe you do.

Taking note of what I needed cosmetically-speaking, and what I could make without dropping 40E at the health food store, I decided on the Sérum démaquillant biphasé jojoba-camomille (Double-phase make-up removing serum with chamomile and jojoba). Nearly out of make-up remover, this very easy recipe was worth trying. I adapted it a bit (because I can’t leave good enough alone) by adding geranium and chamomile essential oils.

Double-Phase Make-up Removing Serum with Chamomille and jojoba adapted from Sérum démaquillant biphasé jojoba-camomille de 90 recettes de beauté bio à faire soi-même par Sophie Macheteau & Vanina Guet. This recipe is for a 100ml container (about 3.4oz). I made it in a 50ml container since this was just a test-run. Don’t forget to sterilize your containers & be super-careful about washing hands & such since this is homemade, kids!

  • What you need: Jojoba oil, Chamomile Water, Grapefruit Seed Extract, Vitamin E Oil (I used a capsule, pierced with a sterilized needle), optional essential oils with good-for-your-skin properties
  • Using your container to measure the doses, pour it 2/3s full of the Jojoba Oil, then top off the remaining 1/3 with the Chamomile Water.
  • Add 20 drops of Grapefruit Seed Extract
  • Add 7 drops of Vitamin E oil
  • I added 4 drops each of Essential Oils of Geranium & Chamomile
  • Close your container & shake like crazy (you’ll need to shake like crazy before using).

I loved it! It smells great, and it works wonderfully. I just dabbed some on a cotton circle and used it not just for the eye make-up, but for my entire face. I don’t wear terribly heavy make-up (they days I do wear it), and it’s water-based so easier to remove than the water-proof sort. This make-up remover would not have worked for me about 10 years ago when my skin was just out of the teens and still more on the moist side. I don’t have dry skin, but now that I’ve hit the 30s, I do notice I am using more moisturizer than I did back then. After using I just sprayed on a little toner and put on some moisturizer and was good to go. It took me about a week and a half to go through my 50ml bottle, and I’ll be making more tonight!

RAW : Flourless Chocolate Cake & Vanilla Crème Sauce & Frozen Feet

My feet are in a 5-gallon tub of ice water (okay, my right foot up to the metatarsal arch, my left foot is trying its best, but the toes are but kissing the surface of the water). I just got back from some intense speedwork and have been really dealing with some ouchies, and so, it’s time to get tough with the pain (wasn’t that from a pain-reliever ad way back? could just be hallucinating from agony, R foot is now numb past arch, L foot has all toes in…). Rather than suffer alone, I thought I may be able to help divert my attention from the cold and hang out with my fellow Vegan friends. Thank you for being here for me!

Now, I could snap a picture of my incredibly scary-looking (purple) feet, but why would I do that when you can look at that delicious raw cake up there? I guess I should say *was* delicious, because it dissappeared like the sensation in my R foot just did! Ha!

I thought that disguising my attempts at nudging Mr. Fish gently towards better appreciating the delicious goodness of raw foods would be helpful. What better disguise than cake? My efforts, however, were in vein, because after looking at me rather sceptically and barely trying a nibble, he smiled apologetically and said, “I’m sorry, but it’s just too weird.” He also says that about me when he sees me doing things like icing my feet… hey, maybe I am just too weird?

The Guppy ate all the cashew cream and strawberries on her piece, but wouldn’t even taste the cake, and this surprised me because it smelled of vanilla and carob. Sigh. What I was able to do, however, was to whiz a banana with some of the cream and she devoured that.

What this all means my dear V friends is that the Shellyfish ate the entire 4-serving raw cake. Not in one sitting though- in about 24-hours. It was a great pre-run snack, and I also had it for lunch with a green salad, had a slice with some banana with the Guppy for our snack (again, she did the banana-crème thing)… So perhaps not a winner in my family’s book, but I thought this little gem of a raw cake ruled! Thick and moist, reminded me a bit of a sort of vegan-walnut fudge.

Flourless Chocolate Cake from Raw Food Made Easy by Jennifer Cornbleet:

  • 1 1/2 cups raw walnuts, unsoaked
  • Dash salt
  • 10 pitted dates, unsoaked
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocao or carob powder (I used carob)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used 1 teaspoon & 1 teaspoon almond extract, too)
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • raw fruit for garnish

Put the walnuts & salt in your food processor and whirl until finely ground. Add the dates, carob powder, and extracts and process until it begins to get sticky, add the water and process briefly. Dump it out onto a plate and form it into your shape of choice, then off to the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Foot update- left foot no longer in wreched pain & in up to arch- hourrah!

Now for the Vanilla Crème Sauce, I’m guessing every vegan out there has one recipe or another for their own sauce like this. I don’t really measure mine anymore, but it goes something like this:

  • About two good handfuls of soaked cashews (I soak them over night)
  • 3 tablespoons (or more or less to taste) of rice, maple or agave syrup
  • about 1/3 cup of water
  • 1 or 2 teaspoons of vanilla or almond extract

It all goes into the blender and stays there until smooth. Yum!

Oh thank you my blogosphere buddies. My feet have been iced. I will now shower as to not look quite so scary and smell not so stinky when the Guppy wakes up.


NB: I know that yesterday was Mother’s Day in North America, not today (don’t worry, Mum got her card on the right day!).

The idea of Mother’s Day is a rather complex one for me to actually write about, because it brings up many feelings and emotions rather difficult to articulate in the short space of a blog entry. I also couldn’t even contemplate the holiday without having zillions of images of my grams whizzing about my head and through my heart. This made me rather melancholy and waxing nostalgic, because, well, she’s gone and I miss her so, so much. Thus, I decided I would not blog about M day, having wished my mumma a happy day via telephone. Curiously, however, as day turned to evening, I found myself rummaging around for pictures of my mum, and specifically trying to find pictures of my grams with my mum, and becoming increasingly frustrated because the pictures I was looking for were not to be found.

Forgoing sadness, I opted to share a little mumma-love on the blogosphere, because I love my mumma to pieces, and really, moms rule, and IMum on left, Grams on Right, moi in the middle don’t think that I understood just how intense and complicated the job description was, until I myself became a mom. The above picture is of ma maman with Grams (her mom), on her right, and our Auntie Lorraine on her left. I’m fairly sure that the baby with all that hair is my sister Tam, latter half of the groovy 70s.

Here on the right is my still slim & sassy mum after her third kiddo (3 more to follow…). My Grams is on the far right with my Uncle who would kill me if he saw this but doesn’t read my blog, my sis Tam on Mum’s lap, and yours truly in the middle trying not to open my present until Dad has snapped the pic.

I love this picture, taken during my mum’s recent visit. The Guppy is blurry because she was cracking up laughing, not because she was being tickled, I think we were being silly, a hobby around here. I value the picture’s eloquence, so telling with the juxtaposition of the wild frenzy of love from the Guppy and the calm, loving smile of her Pamma.

The mother/daughter relationship is such an interesting one, often mirroring each other from one generation to the next. My contemplating a blog entry gave me pause to reflect on the similarities between Grams and Mum, and it didn’t take me long to find my answer : unconditional love and support. I announced I was becoming vegetarian at 16, mum bought more fresh fruit and veggies. When I got my nose pierced way back when I knew everything in 1990, my mom was less-than-thrilled, though she held her tongue. In tiny-town rural-ville, I blended about as well as Ziggy Stardust at a Rotary Club luncheon. A visiting Grams said without hesitation she’d pierce her nose, too, if it would help calm down the parents- and she was serious. When the first tattoo followed a month later, she swore she would also get a tattoo to show her solidarity if need be. Now that I see the dynamic between my own daughter and my mom, I can see the same sort of complicity between them, and while piercings and tattoos are rather passé, I am sure that whatever challenges the Guppy brings my way, her Pamma will be there to help balance things out.

Now that I’m the Mumma around here, I frequently find myself filled with doubt concerning my parenting: am I a good mom? Could I be doing this better? What would Xena do in this situation? (kidding). The crushing feelings of self-doubt are often harder than the actual mom-duty, and I know that both my mother, and hers, delt with it. To all you ladies out there (because biological mother or not, we women are the mothers to our students, neighbors, sisters, brothers, etc.) I hope you had a great day. My Mother’s Day is in 2 weeks…