First the sickening sound of the impact, then the jolt as our heads snapped forward and back. Then Mom’s hysterical wailing. It took me a few seconds to realize that Daddy’s car had been hit from behind. My immediate assessment from the back seat was that we were all ok, shocked, shaken, but all in one piece. We moved to the side of the road, the offending car following us to gauge the damage. As Daddy stepped out of the car, Mom’s wail became more insistent.
“Where is he going?” she cried, still terrified. “I can’t live without him. Don’t let him go! I love him!”
This was her worst nightmare: Mom panics every time we walk near cars regardless of whether they are moving or parked. Crossing the street engenders in her an uncontrollable fright, and even when I hold her arm tightly in mine, I sometimes have to drag her across, despite the traffic having come to a halt.
While Daddy talked to the other driver, I tried to calm her and show her that we could see him out the back window. I took her face in my hands and made her look at me but she squirmed out of my grasp. All the while, I stroked her shoulders, her back, her cheeks. Only when my dad got back inside the car did Mom start to relax.
The impact had actually been quite mild. We were on the way to drop me off at the bus station and had already slowed down to stop on the side of the road. The car behind us was also driving slowly. There was virtually no damage, just a tell-tale dent on the bumper where the other car had hit us.
By the time I reached my own home and called to see how they were, Mom had forgotten all about our misadventure. She also couldn’t recall our morning outing to the hair salon where she joyfully agreed to have her hair shampooed and cut but turned extremely nasty when it came time for the pedicure.
And she didn’t remember our festive lunch at a restaurant overlooking the Mediterranean Sea with my aunt and uncle who are visiting from England.
She had also forgotten all the songs we sang together, the hugs and kisses and sweet smiles she gave me, the fun we had window shopping.
Hopefully, our positive emotional interactions echo through her mind and drown out any residual stress of a painful pedicure or a frightening fender-bender.
When I’m stressed, I head for the kitchen. I had in mind a recipe I wanted to try that my accomplished daughter-in-law Hadas had introduced me to—tarte aux oignons. Hadas is French Moroccan, and while she’s never actually lived in France, she’s inherited a kind of cooking je ne sais quoi from her mom. That’s all the French I know (except for the naughty bits in Monty Python).
The longer onions are cooked, the sweeter they become. This is a satisfying quiche-like dish that is both savory and sweet. It might be my new favorite.
6 large onions, sliced and quartered
50 grams butter
¼ cup white wine
250 grams cooking cream (can substitute 1 cup soy milk or rice cream)
2 Tbsp flour
Salt and pepper to taste
1½ cups flour
1/3 to ½ cup oil
5 Tbsp water
Salt to taste
Slice and quarter onions either by hand or in a food processor (I chose the easier way—food processor.) When butter is melted, fry onions for up to 40 minutes until they begin to brown, stirring frequently. Add wine, simmer for a few more minutes then let cool. Mix crust ingredients and pat into pie pan with hands. In a large bowl, beat eggs, cream, flour and spices. Fold in onions. Pour onion mixture into pie pan. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes.