Every evening, since the last couple days, on her way back home from school, big-J would tell me “Mumma, please don’t open my bag pack or look into my folder. There’s something in there that’s a surprise and I don’t want you to see. Actually you are not supposed to see it now.” With the (in)efficient secret keeping skills I know she has, big-J was actually doing a great job in the week before Mother’s day. I could tell from her eyes how eager she was to articulate to me all about what she had made for me. And yet, it was amazing how my little 7 year old controlled self to not let go of any details. I did my best to pretend being a no-spoiler.
There’s been a lot of mumbling, whispering, giggling and discussions of late, when Mr. Dad is home from work. Yesterday, I overheard an unceremonious Daddy-girl conversation in the other room, which got a little rather loud in excitement. The sound waves thus dancingly travelled into my ears, or should they not have?
“Papa, I have a plan. We’ll make Mumma breakfast at bed and surprise her. Then, I got some lovely gifts I made for her. I made something that lil-J can gift her too. In the afternoon, how about taking her out for lunch at her favorite restaurant? Then we’ll have some ice cream, visit a park or watch a movie. Eat dinner somewhere and then get back home and sleep? And Mumma will be super happy!”
“You want me to wake up that early on a Sunday?”, Came back the answer from Mr. Dad.
“Come on, Papa!”, J tried her best to convince.
“But she isn’t my mom, you see.” Said the mean Dad…and that was followed by a good Hahaha for a few minutes.
Then in the evening, I saw Daddy dearest sneak in a white envelope and stroll around my project-supplies shelf looking for a scotch tape. I saw him slip the sealed envelope into J’s school folder. Whatever that was for, (and though it got me curious) I pretended yet again to be a no-spoiler.
Two days back, big-J hugged me, and hung her arms around my neck, as I curled on the couch. “Mumma, what do you love to eat for breakfast?” I grinned ear to ear. She’d asked me the same question exactly a year back too. With my baby wrapped around me, her cozy babyish smell, the warmth, her affectionate query, the snug hug……there was nothing more in the world I ever need. “I only want to know Mumma. I am not going to do anything!”, said she. I knew well, my girl meant the contrary. “French toasts with a mug of creamy coffee”, I said unpretentiously, to make it simple and fun for her.
Over a few days, I’ve been craving for a good moist, juice soaked cake, that’s most generously daubed with fresh cream and pineapple frosting…one that a local boutique cake shop makes. Birthdays and special occasion at ours begin July onwards and last till end of year. So we hadn’t had a full-fledged cake-y day at home so far since 2 months now. Does it harm moms to get opportunistic when? To seek what they like and express it right away? I didn’t think much and gladly got a little materialistic! I called J back and told her that the best food I’d love would be that cake. She smiled and marched back in her room to make plans with Daddy. To make sure S doesn’t forget the cake shop, I call him to remind that they’ll need to take the order ahead of time to deliver for an occasion. Point was taken. Moi was glad she did her bit to underline her greed.
Who doesn’t love sweet gestures from their child? But do I believe in celebrating a fundamental relation one day in a year? Not quite. I know J is planning something wonderful this weekend for Mother’s day. They’ve been taught to believe in them at school. However, I love and cherish every single little thing my child tries to do and finds joy in. Like every other mom, I like to celebrate life’s tiny little moments with my baby. Mother’s day or not. J does give me sweet handmade notes and cards and crafts she makes for me each year this day…and I’ve been preserving them along with all her art works.
Growing up, I never knew anything Mother’s day. My school did not assist us with crafts and prints for an entire week before Mother’s day. But I’ve always loved Ma. I loved her like no one else did. Not celebrating Mother’s day didn’t make me less of a daughter. I’ve sent her many cards. Many times. Haven’t missed thanking her for being there. However, when I feel very dearly for her, I write no cards. I call her and speak with her. I tell her all I want to. And I think that means much more to her than my Hallmark-y ways. Coincidentally, I’ve never gifted her on Mother’s day. But I send her too many things whenever I get a chance otherwise. Ma and I are no fancy people. We aren’t fan of labels and brands. So I gift her whatever she needs that I can provide. Though I wish I could do more for Ma and Baba, than I am able to now. Being remotely based in another country doesn’t allow me all luxuries. How I wish I could be part of their day to day lives, as much as they were part of me during my childhood.
So whilst the media, internet and stores go frenzy promoting Mother’s day merchandize and enlisting you all the nice to-do’s, here’s my humble sweet acclaim to being a Mom, a daughter and a believer in this being forever…
What this delicious spiced Mango Peach Applesauce ties together, is that it’s got Ma, J and I love it to bits. This one’s a fairly easy and simple recipe that makes an extraordinary condiment with a great texture and rich consistency. Relish it with your breakfast or snacks, as a topping, dip or as an off-beat healthy fruity dessert! It has got that smooth festive touch to it too…enjoy it every day or on a special occasion…what’s not to fall in love with it?
Makes about 4 US cups (32 oz or 1 Lt)
- 3 sweet red apples
- 2 peaches
- 2 sweet and ripe mangoes
- 5 tsp ground cloves or cinnamon (I almost always use cloves!)
- 1/4 cup raw sugar
- Preparation: Peel, core and chop the apples. Peel, de-stone and chop the peaches. Slice the mangoes, scoop out the pulp and roughly chop.
- Throw in the fruits together in a pan and cover cook for about 30 minutes. Adjust heat and stir 2 to 3 times mid-way to avoid sauce sticking to the bottom or scorching.
- When done and the fruit pulps all get mushy together, take off from heat. Stir in the ground spice and sugar. Test taste, and adjust spice and sugar accordingly. Raw sugar also enhances the color of sauce.
- If you like a smooth sauce, transfer the cooked fruit mix into a blender and puree them.
- Store in an air tight container and refrigerate. Consume in about 7 to 10 days. Unopened canned applesauce has a great and prolonged shelf life in room temperature.
TIPS, TRICKS & VARIATIONS:
- You may use frozen chunks of mangoes and peaches in this recipe too. Use 2 full US cups of each fruit (16 oz or 500 gm).
- For a slight tangy punch, add a dash of lemon or orange juice
- For chunky applesauce, stab and press down the cooked fruit pieces and skip blending.
- If the applesauce has a lot of moisture, open cook for a couple minutes, till the excess water evaporates. Alternatively, use a little water if you want to thin it down.
- If using regular granulated sugar, you may need less the amount mentioned (since they’re sweeter than raw sugar).
- Skip sugar for a sugar-free version, or use sugar substitutes
- I used the Mexican mangoes available here. Indian mangoes are naturally a lot sweeter, so you’d need less sugar for it.
- How I made the applesauce, the way it looks: Slice one peeled and cored apple into thick wedges. Chop all other fruits and follow the recipe steps. Before blending, carefully fish out the cooked apple wedges. Blend the rest to a puree, and return back the wedges to the sauce for a more wholesome treat!