This past year has upped the ante in a big way for the appliances in my life, and I can’t help but find it thrilling. I’m not a woman who shrinks from a gift of a great tool (for the kitchen, not the tool shed).
Jewelry or perfume have their place of course, but so do pizza ovens and Vitamix blenders. For years I’ve pined after both, with little decorum about my desire (here, here, here, and that’s just on the blog).
I have sung arias to my unrequited Vitamix blender, a pro-tool that makes a smoothie smoother and a hummus hum. In 2014, an auspicious year for dreams-really-do-come-true in the life of Maureen, my Vita-dream was realized.
My brother Tom and his wife Amara, they put that baby in my hands after I took care of their baby, my godson, on their first trip away from him. I think they must have known that I’d cry like a baby myself when I had to leave him after being with that boy all week; here was something special to ease the pain (I’m sure they were just saying thank you, but I was in deep) and replace the tears with a smile (the tears kept coming, but I smiled right through them over the blender).
Maybe my affinity for fine gear is in my blood: when I sat down to one of the most memorable meals of my life in my Aunt Rita’s kitchen years ago, her story poured out like a precious vintage wine. She spoke of her marriage as a teenage girl in Lebanon, to a Lebanese-American who had come back to the village in the old country to find a wife.
It’s not an unfamiliar story, but Rita told me it was going to take some persuading for her to enter into the plot line herself. That’s because her sister (who would eventually become my grandmother) years before had played out the same story, and while the arranged union took my grandmother to the land of opportunity in the U.S., it did not assuage her broken heart for the boy and family she loved back home.
Aunt Rita didn’t want to repeat her sister’s pain. Wisdom at such a young age. When the young man courting her came to call, she gave him advance warning (through an intermediary of course) that he better not come to ask her hand without the Bishop by his side. And he better beware this: he’d have some convincing to do.
Then she told me with no irony whatsoever that as her suitor and the Bishop sat across from her and her mother, their litany of reasons why she should marry him included one very important message: her life in America, if she’d have him and set sail, would include an electric vacuum cleaner. With great ease she would go about her household business each day.
Her response: Okay then. I come.
Where I come from, the power of a good appliance simply can’t be overestimated.
Pomegranate Yogurt Smoothie
Makes 2 8 oz. smoothies
1/2 cup pomegranate juice
1 tablespoon raw honey
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 cup labneh, plain Greek yogurt, or plain yogurt
1 cup ice cubes
Big handful frozen raspberries or strawberries
Heaping scoop protein powder (optional)
Handful pomegranate seeds
In a strong blender, combine all of the ingredients and blast until the smoothie is, well, very smooth. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds on top, and if you have them, pop in a pretty straw.