5.17.2011

Sandwiches With Roasted Beet Salad

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Last week when I was visiting the parents, they were in a midst of an argument about gift giving. They were going to a dinner at a relatives house, and my dad suggested taking a bottle of vodka, knowing the host would enjoy such a gift. My mom wanted to buy some sort of dish (I'm talking ceramic!). I was asked to weigh in, and as I tend to do, I agreed with dad. Now, I'm not going to lie to you. I almost never see eye-to-eye with my mom on anything. Because she's often just plain wrong. Or has some really strange ideas. In this case, we had a showdown on gift giving. 

My mom quickly declared us "inappropriate" for even suggesting to take booze. I pointed out most "Americans" do this. She huffed and puffed. I also pointed out the husband and I often will take a bottle of wine when invited to dinner. She glared at me and stated, "Don't bring me wine for a present. You can keep your wine." I replied back, "Most of my friends brought over wine for my birthday this year, and it was great." She immediately declared all as "alcoholics!" Me, the husband, the friends. Anyone and everyone who has ever given a bottle of booze as a gift were "evil alcoholics" in my mom's mind. I tried to move on from the booze gift idea, before being sent to AA, and suggested some nice olive oil. In reply, I got laughter. "What, they can't buy their own oil?" I gave another example of receiving a bottle of nice olive oil and fancy vinegar for my birthday, and got this retort, "Your friends must think you can't afford to buy your own food. No way. I will buy a platter. It will last." 

So that's really what it comes down to. Tangible gifts. My mom wants to be remembered. She's terrified of death, and so in a way, this makes total sense. Food and alcohol are enjoyed and gone. The moment, is not my mother's style. 

If you're wondering what this all has to do with this sandwich and beet salad post, I was just getting there. Patience. For my birthday, as I already mentioned, I received some fancy currant balsamic vinegar. I was super excited about this gift. Because, I don't need any more platters, and enjoy the moment, especially a delicious moment. And this balsamic sure made my quick mid-week meal a real treat. The vinegar was thick, syrupy and sweet. It paired perfectly with beets, goat cheese and toasted walnuts. Our black forest ham sandwiches had great dill mustard, muenster cheese and spinach. The meal did not last. But the moment was delicious, and the friends who gifted me the vinegar, fondly remembered.

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