This Mother’s Day, we gathered the dog and headed to South Portland to spend the day with our daughter Shannon, her husband, Mike, and Mike’s mother, Gail. Because Mike and Shannon just moved to SoPo a week ago, their apartment still has plenty of unpacked boxes lining the walls. This meant we had to keep everything simple, which was just fine with all of us.
Our day included sandwiches from a shop down the street. We had hoped to get lobster rolls, but there had been a Mother’s Day rush on these delectable sandwiches, and the beleaguered but good-natured owner, who has only had the place for two years, spoke in a bit of daze as he described how last year on Mother’s Day, all he had sold was wine and beer. It seems his lobster rolls have gained a reputation in the neighborhood. No matter! We’ll get some on another visit. For this year we ordered more pedestrian but still tasty fare—roast beef, pastrami, and steak and cheese.
Despite the disarray of the apartment, Shannon wanted to make something special for Mother Day’s, and she came up with apple tarts made with puff pastry. The tarts consisted of thinly sliced Fuji apples—just the right mixture of tart and sweet—apple preserves, a bit of sugar, and some cinnamon sprinkled over the top. These desserts can be made ahead, popped into the freezer, and then baked for about 40 minutes while guests are talking and eating lunch. Warm, perfectly sweet, and flaky, these apple tarts can’t be beat, and the only thing that makes them better is a bit of vanilla ice cream on the side.
There were even little presents—a silver bracelet for Gail and silver swirl earrings for me. Our eldest daughter, Dee, who lives in New York City, sent me a beautiful heart necklace with a design taken from the Renaissance.
After having dessert, Gail unfortunately had to leave so that she could get some sleep before going to work. The rest of us went for a neighborhood walk, and what a lovely one it was. Flowers and trees were abloom, and birds were singing—I especially loved the song of the red-winged black bird in the marsh we passed.
After our walk, we were ready for pizza from Pizza Magnolia, a shop that uses as much local and organic food as it can. While they have traditional pizzas—cheese, tomato sauce, and herbs—they also have funky ones such as bacon, potato, and cheese sauce. We ordered one of each. The shop also sells gelato, and after those wonderful tarts, we should have resisted. But we didn’t. It was, after all, Mother’s Day.
As many places do, Pizza Magnolia sells T-shirts, and they have one that is on my must-buy list for the next time we stop there. The shirt is very simple—black with white letters that read, “Love Your Food.” A wonderful message, especially in a world where so many people go hungry.
The young woman who waited on us was bright, friendly, and had that sparkle that is so often present in employees who work at places where both the food and the philosophy are good. As she handed me the boxes filled with crisp-crusted pizzas, she smiled and said, “Happy Mother’s Day.”
I smiled back and said, “Thank you so much.”
Coming from this luminous young woman, it felt like a benediction, and I hope readers far and near had a happy Mother’s Day.