Monday, June 12, 2006

Chicken soup for the eye II

Another episode of Chicken Soup for the Eye.

Dad was over yesterday. He is a former systems analyst who lost his career when Y2K came and went like a kitten instead of the lion the fearmongers predicted. So he is currently in the process of changing careers, which means a couple of years of technical school. I have mentioned before how he is the eternal batchelor. Sometimes he stops by briefly to hang out, especially now that it is summer break. He happened to stop over right after I returned for the grocery store, so I think that, putting the billions of thises and thats necessary to keep our huge family in operation away, he grew terribly bored. I don't blame him. So was I. He wanted to leave, but I used the age old motivater to get him to stay. I lured him with the promise of a home cooked meal.

The Fellers were still napping, Eighty-Eight Fingers was clanking and clattering away in the living room, possibly knocking down walls, wouldn't surprise me. It was the perfect time to begin cooking, especially a meal this elaborate.

I had German Lasagna planned, modified of course to be a little lower fat and red meat free (we have picky health nuts here, what can I say?). He had had leftovers of this once and was seriously motivated to consume this masterpiece fresh. So he not only stayed; he and I made dinner together. I miss that, now that I am an adult woman with a house filled to bursting. I miss spending time with my friend, my dad. We talked of the economy. I boiled the noodles. He bashed the administration, explained the latest scandals while he browned the turkey sausage. I prepared the sauce and cheese filling. In and out of the kitchen I went, as the conversation ebbed and flowed. The Fellers awoke, needed pants changed and directed to their potty chairs. As the masterpiece progressed, clouds of hearty sausage and sourkraut scent filled the air. The kitchen, somewhat cool in the mild weather we'd been experienceing, heated up, became cozy, comfortable, like our companionship.

As the layers of the lasagna were laid down, sauce and noodles and cheese, I realized that knowing dad as I do, the fact that he is a know-it-all (Hi Dad, love you!), instructing me in proper sausage browning and cutting, directing me on child rearing, doesn't bother me like it should. In fact it is on ene of the things I love about him. To this day whenever I have a problem, questions or doubts, he is the first person after my husband I go to for advice or just a sympathetic ear. I approach his advice like a recipe. I add the esential ingredients, the best advise and eliminate what doesn't work for me. His advice never bothered me, his telling me what to do. I take it with a grain of salt. Like a recipe, it is an essential ingredient in my life and the flavor would just not be right without it. Something important would be missing. Like using garlic powder in place of garlic cloves.


Blogger gingajoy said...

i need to take that approach more (the one to parental advice). even across the atlantic it can make be bristle (mind you, my mother *is* a little unrelenting.

german lasagne? intrigued. does this just mean sausage instead of meat? if so, then we're eating kraut lasagna too;-)

12 June, 2006 16:04  
Blogger macboudica said...

German lasagna is made with a special white sauce, the cheese mixture is mixed with a can of saur kraut. It sounds kind of icky, but it is so good! Let me know if you want the recipe.

12 June, 2006 17:12  
Anonymous Susan said...

Your relationship with your Dad sounds really great. I love my Dad, and I've learned he mostly knows what he is talking about, but we don't have the easiness about us that you describe. I am a little jealous.

Oh, and my husband will probably hate it cause he is not the adventurous type when it comes to food---Lasagna should be red, I can hear him saying---but I totally want that recipe.

12 June, 2006 18:55  
Blogger macboudica said...

German Lasagna

¾ C butter or margarine
¾ C all purpose flour
1 tbs beef (or chicken) bouillon granules
2 tsp onion salt (or 1 med onion chopped, sautéed with sausages)
2 tsp pepper, divided
½ tsp white pepper, optional
2-1/4 C milk
1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth (I use low sodium)
1 lb. smoked kielbasa or polish sausage (or turkey brats) chopped
2 eggs
1 carton (12 oz) small curd cottage cheese 9 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
1 jar (16 oz) sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack, divided

Cooked sausages with onion. Set meat aside. In saucepan, melt butter (I have used a mix of margarine and plain lowfat yogurt that gives the sauce a real tang). Stir in flour, bouillon, onion salt (or sautéed onions), 1 tsp pepper and white pepper if desired until smooth. Gradually stir in milk and broth. Bring to a boil, cook and stir for two minutes or until thickened. Add cut up sausage. Heat through. Combine eggs, cottage cheese and remaining pepper and sauerkraut. Spread 1 cup sausage mixture in greased 13x9x2” baking dish. Layer with three noodles, third of sausage mixture, half cottage cheese mixture, ¾ Cup MJ cheese. Repeat layers. Top with remaining noodles and sausage mixture (dish will be full). Cover and bake at 350degrees for 50-60 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with remaining MJ cheese. Bake 5 min longer or until cheese is melted. Let stand 15 minutes before serving. Yield 12 servings (not if you eat like we do in my family!).

12 June, 2006 20:14  
Blogger Karen said...

I envy you. My dad and I had an easy and reliable relationship. He died in 2004, and I continue to search for his guidance. What's wonderful is your ability to appreciate while you have it - so many of us don't realize what we have until it's gone.

12 June, 2006 22:13  
Blogger Sharpie said...

Boy, THAT is a very healthy attitude towards life. I must TRY to remember that!!

13 June, 2006 12:02  
Anonymous brother said...

hey sis. I'm glad I found your bog, dad mentioned it when i called him a few weeks ago. I'm very impressed with the work you put into yu blog, on top of the work of raising an army over there. keep it up! PS we made blogs for my comm class, and yours would get an A. very sticky

13 June, 2006 13:47  
Blogger Michele said...

I love this post. I share a great relationship with my Dad too and I will make him some German lasagne this weekend because he will love it.

13 June, 2006 15:56  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

This was just. so. nice.

And I was going to ask about German Lasagne, but you so rock and already posted the recipe! Thanks!

13 June, 2006 19:40  
Blogger Michele said...

I am posting to this older post because I noticed that you took down the postings that I was reading via my bloglines about what is happening with your sister. I cant find an email address for you so here I am, hiding in the comments :)

I just want to say that I am so sorry for what your are going through. I am very close to my sisters and my mother is to hers. But about ten years ago my aunt "broke up" with my mom and their other sister. It was a somewhat long time in coming but no less of a shock when she actually did it. My aunt was going through a very bad time that had nothing to do with her family and her sisters were trying to be supportive but rational for her. Auntie went and found a counselor who "sided" with her and the counselor told her that her family was the problem. Aunt, in her fragile state, cut off her entire extended family. Once the shock wore off, it was actually a relief in many ways for my mother. Her sister was sucking her dry and they were seeing less and less clearly on things. It was hard, and weird, because we are a very close, large, loud ethnic family and we dont "break-up".
It lasted about 7 years and then one day someone ran into my aunt somewhere and she extended an olive branch, inviting us to a tea party at her house and then we all went right back where we left off. With some very important improvements. Aunt apologized for putting the counselors ideas infront of her own reality. My mom and her sisters also had their first talk ever about personal boundaries and needs and got to make some new rules about their relationship going forward.

Dont get me wrong, they still drive each other crazy. But some time apart gave them all a little perspective and some breathing room.

I am still so sorry for what you are going through because nothing about family crap is easy. But I do hope you find some peace soon.

I love your blog and the way you write.

27 June, 2006 12:50  

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