Chicken Marsala for Mom’s 70th

Weirdest thing in the world… I actually got a text from my stepsister the other day. Our parents got together around 15 years ago, and while I really enjoy her when I get a chance to see her, those chances are rare and when they do occur they are brief. She’s kind of like a wily, green grasshopper that doesn’t stay in one spot for long before hopping off to another place. And wily has a far-more negative connotation than I mean, but the point is, she’s hard to catch. So this made her recent contact quite a surprise.

She wanted to plan a 70th birthday party for her mom. Nothing huge, at all, just us kids (who will or can come) and dinner. That’s the basic part. But then (and I’m going to take a diversion, here) she realized she’s having surgery two days prior and will not be able to get around to prepare said dinner. So can my other sister and I do it? Which means, I’m preparing dinner. But, seriously, I’m absolutely happy to do it.

The next issue is, what would Mom really like? I can never remember who dislikes pasta–my dad or her. And I couldn’t remember who dislikes seafood, either. But I know she’s a pretty meat-and-potatoes person, so I settled on Chicken Marsala.

I first had Chicken Marsala, surprisingly, when I had the opportunity to hire a caterer for a huge party. Seriously, no shortcuts. It was decadent for a middle-class American like me. We plebs need to stick together.  So its smooth, rich creaminess came to mind when I thought of what my mom would like for her birthday. Along with smashed red potatoes, of course. Always my smashed potatoes with butter and cream and yumminess.

And now a cake. So it currently is 7:30 p.m. the night before I need to head south for the weekend and my mom’s birthday. The chocolate cake is out of the oven, my own dinner is finished, but next to make is the apple pie which my dad says she must have. In fact he suggested we buy razzle raspberry pie, but I’ve decided that she would love homemade so much more. As we get older, we don’t need to bake the way we did when kids were home, right? That means we rarely enjoy the home-baked goodness  of pies and cakes and cookies because 1) who is going to eat it and 2) probably us, and the waistline can’t afford it.

So here’s what we think about when we celebrate other people:  their love. What they love to eat, to think about, to discuss, to celebrate. We don’t do enough to celebrate the people we love in our lives. And we need to do more.

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