Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Channeling my Mother

My mother knew how to do summer when I was little. She is from the HOT state of North Carolina and grew up without air conditioning. The heat can't knock her down. It doesn't even try. The heat and my mom stare at each other face to face each summer and the heat immediately backs down. It knows her summer strength.

I grew up just South of DC in Fairfax, Virginia, and although I know it gets hot there, my memories are not hot ones. Every summer day was the same. We woke up and went right to the pool. We had swim lessons at the time of day when the water hasn't had a chance to warm up. Each summer day started with a shock of cold. Then we lingered at the pool for hours. My brother, sister and I swam while my mom read her magazines and fed us snacks. We were home before noon.

I remember surprising my friend next door by telling her we had not only been up for hours, but we'd also been to the pool and back.

The afternoons I would play outside on my bike or I would invite over a friend to play in our large, cool basement. In the evenings I would run around the yard in my nightgown catching lightning bugs and I would be in bed before the sun set.

That is what every summer day looked like. In my memory there is never rain, there is never that groggy "I'm too hot!" feeling and there is always an ample supply of flavored ice.

So, yesterday I decided to channel my mother and make the most of summer. I was up early and the boys and I were out the door just after breakfast. We went to a local park that has lots of sprinklers set up. The kids played in the water for a while, then we came home for lunch. We rested and played inside during the heat of the day. I had no cool basement to offer my kids, and I can't let them run around on our street looking for lightning bugs that are not there, but I feel like I got pretty close to a good summer day.

I made this Coconut Bread yesterday morning.

Here's the recipe:
1/4 c butter, softened
1 c sugar
1 egg
1/2 t vanilla
1/2 t almond extract
2 c flour
3 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1 c milk
3/4 c flaked coconut

Combine butter and sugar. Add egg and extracts. Add salt, baking powder and flour. Mix in milk and coconut. Bake at 350 for about an hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean.


Mama V said...

That coconut bread looks and sounds amazing! Wow! I'm having a deep urge to taste it all of a sudden!

Why is it that children don't seem to notice/remember the heat as much as adults? Memories of my childhood in Miami also don't include being bothered by the sweltering heat and humidity (except for the times when we had to get into a leather-lined car before my mom turned on the a/c).

You'll never believe this - we saw lightning bugs just a street over from you a couple of nights ago! The boys and I caught one but then it stopped lighting up, so we released it again. Brooklyn has wildlife (that doesn't include rats and bedbugs and raccoons) and you can continue to channel your amazing mother after all! ;)

Erin Leigh said...

Thanks for the recipe! I'm a quick bread girl ;)

Susan said...

Holy cow! Coconut bread!

You have to admit--you have one heat-producing hobby! Did your mom bake in the summer? I have no really hot memories of the summer, either. We spent most days at the beach and ate a lot of salads for dinner, I think.

Our new place doesn't have AC. We were just over there to decide where to put furniture and we were all snapping at each other within 45 minutes. I'm going to have to call you for moral support soon. And our park has no sprinklers.

Goodyreid said...

Oh. Now I have to make that.

Plume said...

I'm from the tropics and I'm used to the heat also, but not really the humidity, so it kinda gets the best of me. Although, I do love summer! I have been doing the same with my kiddo--out the door early in the morning, then back by lunch time so not to get the heavy heat. He anyways naps at 1:00, so it works great for us.

And I can actually see lightning bugs somewhat often, as they like to roam around the huge tree in the middle of our bulding's courtyard, right outside our window. It's one pretty sight.

Have you been to the new playground over at Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park? Seriously awesome! The water area's pretty cool, great for these hot days.

Robyn said...

Plume! You live in Brooklyn?!? Do we know each other off line?

Ruth said...

My DH loves coconut, so I'll be giving this a go, thanks.

Plume said...

Robyn, I do live in Brooklyn! I guess I just didn't find it necessary to mention it before, ha! And, no, I'm pretty sure we don't know each other offline, sadly. (At least for me!)

Bernie said...

Oh does this recipe ever sound good, I think I'll try it...Hugs