This picture was taken the night before Mia entered the sacred club called Motherhood. She wasn’t called Mia back then, of course. Surely her thoughts never ran wild enough to imagine a day when nine grandchildren would holler for their Mia at a lake house full laughter and love. That’s me in her belly. I’m not sure if my father snapped the photo before or after they went for dinner and the infamous slice of strawberry shortcake at the old Highland Park Cafeteria. I’ll never tire of hearing the story of the night before I was born.
Just a few days later I’m snuggled in my mother’s arms next to my grandmother, Nana. I love this photo. It’s one of the few I have of the three of us–me, my mother, and hers. Three generations of mamas.
Three decades later, my mama with my first born. We gave ourselves a photography session for Mother’s Day in 2002. Although only 1/2 of the Littles had debuted in our lives at that point. I look at this picture the way Mia must look at the ones of me and my younger siblings as a babies. Wondering where the time has gone and how quickly these babies grow. I’d put the proverbial brick on their heads, but the anticipation of adding to our collection of photos with grand babies of my own one day outweighs the desire to stop time right now. Time is a funny thing. The days seem long, but the years are short.
I’ve inherited many good things from my mother and grandmothers. My father’s mother taught me to needlepoint at the age of nine and my earliest cooking memories pour forth from summers spent baking cookies and learning my way around her small but efficient kitchen. From Nana I claim the love of the written word. She was a writer and published poet. Quite extraordinary for a woman from a small Panhandle town. I have needlepoint pillows from Grandma scattered around the house and Nana’s yellow-paged short-stories and poems stored up like treasures of the heart.
From Mia, I am blessed to learn daily. She’s brought me up in faith. Worn out her knees as the most faithful prayer warrior I know. Even at forty-four, I hear every word she says, although like a teenager I don’t always acknowledge listening. But she knows.
When Susie & I decided to pay tribute to our mother’s today, I knew immediately I would share Mia’s Spanish Gazpacho. The recipe pre-dates me and if there is any one dish synonymous with my mother it’s gazpacho.
As a young bride in Caracas, Venezuela far away from home, my mother was lonely with only her new husband for a friend. The man they leased their barrio house from brought over his wife one day and she handed my mother a cookbook ¡Buen Provecho! The cookbook became my mother’s Spanish teacher and Josefina her friend. From this cookbook, Mia and her new friend Pepina made this traditional, cold soup. That was in 1967 and Mia has been making gazpacho ever since.
Mia’s Spanish Gazpacho
- 1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
- ½ cup finely chopped green pepper
- ½ cup finely chopped celery
- ½ cup finely chopped cucumber, seeds removed
- ¼ cup finely chopped onion
- 1 teaspoon snipped parsley
- 1 teaspoon snitpped chives
- 1 small clove garlic, minced
- 2-3 Tablespoons wine vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- ½ teaspoon Worcestershire
- 2 cups tomato juice
- Combine all ingredients in glass or stainless steel bowl. Cover and chill thoroughly, at least 4 hours. Serve in chilled cups. This recipe is one from where we lived in South America. We've never found one better and our guests agree. Recipe only serves 2-4, so I always double.
What recipe reminds you most of your mother? In honor of Mother’s Day, please share her favorite dish on our 52 Sunday Suppers Facebook page.
Happy Mother’s Day!