Mouse-a-one-i

I was surrounded by cut up eggplant, onions, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, and garlic when my son asked “What are you making,?” yesterday. I answered “mouse-a-one-i.” He looked a little aghast and fled outside. Hadn’t he been at Mom and Dad’s when we cooked that?

Of course it wasn’t just Mouse-a-one-i. A great sauce for putting on poached eggs and spinach and ham and English muffins is Belgian Night Sauce. You use an egg yolk or 2 and lemon juice, salt and a quarter of a pound of butter. Melt the butter. Mix the lemon juice with some salt in a mixing jar with your immersion blender. Slowly add the melted butter and you have the sauce.

We went to church every week in the early days to the Republican Church. Dad said he voted Presbyterian. And we loved berries. By the house the old rows of razzelberries and black razzelberries and goozelberries still gave lovely sweet fruit in the warm July mornings. But we werent going to church, though we were dressed up. We certainly weren’t picking berries though the mist was still rising in the early morning. We were going to New York City! We were going to stay in a hotel! We were going to stay at the Algonquin!

A long day’s travel got us to the hotel and the doorman and the bellman and the front desk and the dark wood-lined lounge. The bellman helped us up to the adjoining rooms, one for Mom and Dad, one for me and my little sisters. Mom and Dad were pretty happy. Forestville didn’t have a lot of people who got magazines. Mom and Dad got a lot of magazines. 44 magazine subscriptions. I thought the ‘New Yorker’ was pretty lame with its ‘Talk of the Town.’ Which said nothing at all about Forestville. Nothing. But they read that magazine anyway.

My sisters and I were ready for breakfast early the first morning. In the summer we got our own breakfasts, which meant we were very mature and trusted and admired by our parents for our independence and they were confident that we had excellent table manners. But Dad got up with us that morning to take us to breakfast. Dad’s breakfast was a half a piece of bread with butter and razzelberry jam. And a glass of milk and a glass of V-8. We were suspicious that the restaurant would not have what he liked for breakfast. When we got to the breakfast room the hostess refused to seat him! My Father! With the big voice! “You need a coat and tie sir!” “For breakfast?” he boomed. She was immovable. She was in control. The hotel had rules. That was the rule. We were seated. Dad came back soon in his coat and tie. He was not happy. The coffee was not good. He did not want that much toast. He did not want toast. They only had strawberrry jelly. “Strawberry jelly,” he sneered. No one eats strawberry jelly.

The next morning we were up early, my sisters and I. New York was a wonderful and exciting place! Mom and Dad said we could go downstairs for breakfast by ourselves. We dressed properly. We took the elevator maturely and sedately. We were trusted by our parents and we were independent and we were proud that they were confident in our behavior and table manners.

The hostess was happy to seat us without our father. I opened the menu and read the choices to my sisters. I was a little homesick by then, for our berry patch at home in our town. I was excited to see goozelberries on the menu! I was proud to order “Goozelberries for me please” in a mature and self-confident voice. “Goozelberries!” Cawed the waitress. “We don’t have Goozelberries!” I was shocked. Such an establishment! I assuredly pointed at the menu. I maturely and sedately pointed at the line listing the berry. “GOOSEBERRY!” She crowed. The whole breakfast room looked at us. No, they looked at me. In that moment I realized I had been lied to by my parents, betrayed by my parents, set up in a long conspiracy of a joke by my parents. And I had gone the color of a razzelberry.

They are raspberries to me now. And they are ripe! Right around the pond! Everyone loved the Mouse-a-one-i. It will be a fine day with the family!