cooking with grandma

We started cleaning out our attic yesterday. Backbreaking work. You should have seen the place. And you will, pretty soonish. Before and afters. We have big plans for that room. We cranked the AC, and moved and sorted, and Neel used the shop-vac on the dirtiest bits. There were a lot of those. It was a perfect day to get into a project like that, gray and rainy, and cool in the deep dark of the house. We ordered in for lunch. There's still a lot to do, but when we got to a stopping place and looked around it was already five.

In my infinite wisdom, I decided that I wanted lettuce wraps and hot and sour soup for dinner. Why, oh why did I not just throw something on the grill? Why didn't we order out again? Why didn't we have breakfast for dinner, which I can make blindfolded and standing on my head? No. I wanted Asian and labor intensive. The soup takes a bajillion ingredients and a million steps. The lettuce wraps take 100,000 ingredients and 10,000 steps. All at once. What was I thinking? Boiling soup makes the kitchen hot. Boiling rice makes the kitchen hot. A hot wok makes the kitchen hot.

The funny thing, and I'm not sure why it's funny, is that the whole time I was cooking, I thought about my Grandma Mercedes. My mom's mom. I wrote about her here, a long time ago. As I mentioned then, Grandma was an amazing cook and baker, the kind of intuitive in the kitchen who could taste a dish and list its ingredients for you. She made simple foods, good basic cooking. Corn pudding. Hot chicken salad. Pie crust to die for. Even though she loved Chinese food, she didn't really make it, so it seemed funny to think about her while stirring my hot and sour soup. But when I tasted the special sauce for my lettuce wraps and I wasn't quite right, I thought about her. When I tasted the filling for the lettuce wraps and felt like they needed more...something, well, I thought about her then too. The soup was a surprise. I hadn't made it before, and while it wasn't quite what we'd order at Number Seven down the street, or even PF Changs, it was still hot and sour soup. I think she would have liked it.

We watched A Few Good Men (the clean TV version -  Callum's been in to courtroom drama since he hung out with the judge a few weeks back) while we ate dinner, and I was too tired to go find my camera to take a picture for this post. I just reached behind me for my phone where it sat on the sofa. That's all I could handle. We're all still tired today, but yesterday was good.