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9:51 a.m. - 2011-07-31
Covered in cheese.

Today is MIL's birthday. Still unable to get around well with her broken foot we are bringing the party to her. She is allowed to use the foot a little bit finally, but the cast weighs a ton and she is very nervous about using the crutches. MIL was so flustered trying to get up the outside stairs Mick just swooped her up and carried her to the car to go to the doctor's on Wednesday. That's when the doc gave her the okay to put some weight on it, but she's anxious to be done with the cast entirely so is trying to do everything exactly right. And the crutches are scary because she fears falling down and breaking something else. For a woman as busy and active as MIL the last couple weeks of being stuck on her butt in the house have been horrible. She's trying to make sure nothing like this ever happens again.

An impossible task to be sure, she has osteoporosis and this is her third broken foot bone in as many years. This one was a bad'un though. The earlier breaks were stress fractures and she only had to wear an air cast, this one is a greenstick fracture. Big time cast, big time incapacity.

And as it had when we were trying to deal with Gram being unable to get around on her own MIL had to admit her house is NOT a good place for someone with mobility issues. The house itself is a cheese box. Tiny. Narrow doorways. Skinny bathroom. Very scant storage on the main floor so it's up and down a set of twisty nasty cellar stairs a dozen times a day. Like this place, MIL's house is set on a slope. Her property slopes from front to back and mine the opposite, but in both cases access to the house involves stairs. Lots and lots of stairs. Not easy.

Fortunately MIL's favorite meal is quite portable so bringing the party to her is no biggie. I'm making eggplant parm. At the farmers market on Friday I was unable to resist THESE beauties. So pretty. Seems almost a shame to bury them in crust and tomato sauce. But I have the first round of slices pressing as we speak. THE most useful cooking tip I learned from Alton Brown- to press the eggplant before trying to bread and fry it. Squeeze out enough of the moisture and the crumb coat doesn't float away in the oil. Stays wrapped around the eggplant. My set-up is to layer the eggplant slices between paper towels in my big colander, put a flat bottomed bowl on top and then weight the whole thing down with the dutch oven. Presses the juice out quite nicely without smashing down the edges of the slices. Read a tip once that suggested using kosher salt to draw out even more moisture during the pressing, but it's dumb. Leaves the eggplant waaaay too salty. Can't wipe off enough of the salt and rinsing would defeat the purpose of the pressing. Dur.

(Now before I move on, let me just say that I cannot pin a 'Kick Me' sign to my back and then cry if someone takes me up on it. We're all good here, okay? 'Kay. Thanks.)

Last night I watched 'Mary Poppins'. First time I'd ever seen it in its entirety. I swear! I was familiar with most of the music, sang enough of those songs in chorus, but had never seen the whole movie in one viewing before. I had to wonder if the choreography was built around Dick Van Dyke's lanky bod and his amazing moves. Also thought about what a fantastic Scarecrow he'd have made in WoZ if he'd been around to have the role instead of Ray Bolger. Not that I don't adore Ray Bolger, I do. But Dick Van Dyke pulled off the most graceful 'clumsiness' I'd ever seen.

Guess I'll finally have to watch 'Bye Bye Birdie' now. I know Ms Steph loves it but that's another movie I've avoided. For a long time I detested musicals. All that leaping around and bursting into song seemed foolish to me. So I'm just now catching up with a lot of beloved classic musicals. No idea why I could love WoZ so much and still believe I loathed musicals all those years. Weird. Still not ever going to watch 'Sound of Music' though. If the songs from Mary Poppins were a chorus staple, the score of SoM was a million times worse. Every single stinkin' concert kindergarten through 7th grade had at least two songs from SoM. There's only so many times you can sing 'Edelweiss' before you acquire a lifelong aversion to anything related to 'Sound of Music'. Didn't even visit the Trapp Family Lodge during a weekend in Stowe.

Time for me to press another bunch of eggplant slices and set up the frying station. Eggplant parm takes a lot of prep but it's worth it to see the blissed out look on MIL's face when she takes that first bite.

Yours about to sauté and sauce. ~LA

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