Wednesday, November 20, 2013

You never miss the water ...

Marlene Terry

Time to tell you about the pickled beets. ... You know, one of those favorite dishes that for one reason or another became a family tradition.

The recipe belonged to my mother. And for years and years, we (her three daughters) never had to worry about not having them readily available, because all we had to do was grab a bottle from off the shelf in the fruit room in the basement, and enjoy.

However, after we left home, married, and started our own families we began yearning for the old favorite.
It was then that the old saying Mom would always quote to us became truer than ever.
"You never miss the water 'til the well runs dry," she'd say in an effort to teach us something we for sure would learn later in life.

There was just something indescribably delicious about Mom's pickled beets. ... They were perfect and just right as far as taste, tartness and texture.
I especially loved them with the roasted turkey and dressing on Thanksgiving. They were a wonderful addition to the meal, but they always made me remember those times I spent in the kitchen with Mom, as she produced one miracle after another.
...  And when our Thanksgiving feast was without those beets ... well suffice it to say, the meal just wasn't the same.

For whatever reason we my sisters and I) all had trouble keeping that recipe. And so it became a yearly ritual that one of us would call Mom and ask her for it and then share it with the other two.

I honestly don't know how that happened, I'd write the recipe down every year, and even make copies which I'd then place somewhere they could be found easily.
But when the time for canning arrived the next year, the recipe was nowhere to be found!

Just a few years before Mom passed away she jokingly but firmly told us that she wouldn't be sharing that recipe with us again.
"You guys need to hang on to it," she told me, "because this is the last time I'm going to give it to you."

... True to her word, she never did.

That is she never did until the day that I finally got around to going through some of the things she'd specified were mine when she died.
Among those prize possessions was her filled to overflowing recipe box ... complete with her handwritten copy of the pickled beet recipe.

On it she'd added a sticky note:
"Put this recipe back in it's place when you're finished with it," she'd instructed. "That way you won't have to wonder where it is. ... Mom OX"

... Oh Mom. You were so right. ... "You really DO never miss the water 'til ... "

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