Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Ruthanne Hatch Blair

My mother was pretty and resembled Lauren Bacall. She was also very smart and witty. I'm not sure she knew that and probably no one ever told her. Too bad.

I criticized the very ordinary foods she cooked while I was growing up. I now understand why the food was so plain. She fed us three meals a day every day; we almost never went out to eat, no one else helped, and the last thing she wanted to hear was a complaint from any of the five of her kids. So, she attempted the impossible -- she tried to please everyone. She always served dessert. Here's one of her typical recipes:
Lazy Daisy Cake


  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons half and half
  • 1 cup shredded coconut


  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, sugar and vanilla until thick and lemon-colored, about 4 minutes. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; add to egg mixture. Beat on low just until combined. Heat milk and butter in a small saucepan until butter melts. Add to batter; beat thoroughly (the batter will be thin). Pour into a greased 9-in. square baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool slightly. For frosting, blend all ingredients well; spread over warm cake. Broil about 4 in. from the heat for 3-4 minutes or until the top is lightly browned.

She had a beautiful singing voice and I have wonderful memories of her singing to us. She sang Irish songs and the popular music of the '30's and '40's. She also had a nearly hidden creative streak. I think of her life as a sad waste of wonderful potential.

Alcoholism destroyed her personality, her relationship with her children, her marriage, her creative talent, and her health. All she ever wanted to be was a mother, too bad she wasn't better at it. I pray that I learned something from her. Tomorrow I will celebrate the beautiful aspects of her.

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