Her hazel eyes seemed to have experienced all possible tragedy and to have mounted pain and suffering like steps into a high calm and a superhuman understanding. She seemed to know, to accept, to welcome her position, the citadel of the family, the strong place that could not be taken. And since old Tom and the children could not know hurt or fear unless she acknowledged hurt and fear, she had practiced denying them in herself. And since, when a joyful thing happened, they looked to see whether joy was on her, it was her habit to build up laughter out of inadequate materials. But better than joy was calm. Imperturbability could be depended upon. And from her great and humble position in the family she had taken dignity and a clean calm beauty. From her position as healer, her hands had grown sure and cool and quiet; from her position as arbiter she had become as remote and faultless in judgment as a goddess. She seemed to know that if she swayed the family shook, and if she ever really deeply wavered or despaired the family would fall, the family will to function would be gone. ~ John Steinbeck, Grapes of Wrath (description of Ma Joad)
I wanted to write something for Mother’s Day and with my own mother’s passing still too close to write about I picked this fictional mother to represent all mothers of a certain make these living breathing martyrs for the family.
We have all see them if we ourselves have not had them these women who sift every thought or emotion through the sieve of “what’s good for the family.” In the family’s solar system, she is the sun. If a cloud or storm shrouds the sun, it changes the atmosphere for everyone. When she’s happy, they are all happy. When she’s sad, there can be no joy. With this knowledge, she carefully guards her heart. She betrays no fear and becomes the defending wall against anything that rises up against them.
How great and wonderful this power that lies within a mother. Wonderful for everyone except herself, but she’ll never let you know it. Her wounds are her own red badge of courage that bleed internally, known only to her and her maker. She cries her tears alone and is only weak when it is safe. And don’t we love her for it. …
I think we all know the answer to that.
This recipe for chicken and dumplings is my own mother’s recipe. I’ve eaten as far back as I can remember and I can’t make it without thinking of her. After all, I was her taster. It’s as simple and down home as it gets. It’s a humble and unassuming dish that carries within it a great deal of comfort and yes even love … much like my own mother.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
1 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp of cold butter
1/2 cup milk
Bring chicken stock to a simmer and add shredded chicken. Let simmer while preparing the dumplings.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or by hand until mixture resembles large bread crumbs.
Add milk and gently mix until all ingredients come together. This should be a very sticky dough.
Using a tablespoon, scoop up the dough and drop it spoonful by spoonful into the simmering broth.
Let cook for 10 minutes and then cover and let cook for 10 more minutes.
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
- 1 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 tbsp of cold butter
- ½ cup milk
- Bring chicken stock to a simmer and add shredded chicken. Let simmer while preparing the dumplings.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or by hand until mixture resembles large bread crumbs.
- Add milk and gently mix until all ingredients come together. This should be a very sticky dough.
- Using a tablespoon, scoop up the dough and drop it spoonful by spoonful into the simmering broth.
- Let cook for 10 minutes and then cover and let cook for 10 more minutes.