|With Heather and Michael, Christmas 1968. I'm the one proudly wearing my brand-new Liddle Kiddle locket.|
When we were growing up, I always thought how lucky we were, and how selfless our parents were, to let us spend so many weekends at each others' houses. When I became a parent, I realized that for every weekend we spent with the Ogletrees, my parents had some time to themselves, and vice versa. But that doesn't change the fact of how lucky we were.
Of all our Canadian cousins, Heather and Michael were the only ones who lived in the city. When Gwen and I visited, we got to see what life in a suburb was like. I couldn't imagine walking to my best friend's house, or walking to school. The variety store, the Piccadilly Dell, was right across the street from them. When we were young, we visited Storybook Gardens together, and when we were older I was thrilled by riding the bus downtown to see a movie.
|Not even a cross-eyed Humpty Dumpty could terrify these intrepid cousins|
There were probably times when it was fun being our parents, and times when it was not. In the former category, we cousins put on a play for them every time we got together. Sadly, most of the themes escape me, although I do remember a splendid variation on "Welcome Back Kotter".
On the flip side, one year when they stayed with us, Heather slept in the double bed with Gwen and me, with Michael on the pullout couch in the next room. We decided it would be a great idea to play Cowboys and Indians. Michael was the lone bowman who burst into our room pretending to shoot us, and every time we screamed with terror and delight. This went on until my mother convinced the young native that the pioneers needed some sleep, and he probably did too.
One of my favourite memories is of being on the swings at the local campground. We convinced the other kids that we were all siblings and our last name was "Bakertree". It felt like it was true.
Michael was the superlative good sport, playing in our games and gamely enduring the girl talk. Heather and I went on to be bridesmaids in each other's weddings, and when I was pregnant for the first time, she gave me her crib and baby clothes. Her daughter is expecting her own first child later this month. My wishes for her are many - and include a set of cousins as wonderful as the ones I was blessed with.
Roasted Autumn Vegetables
(adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics)
2 cups peeled, seeded, and 1/2” diced butternut squash
2 cups peeled and 1/2” diced Yukon Gold potatoes (2 medium)
2 cups peeled and 1/2” diced parsnips (1 – 2 medium)
2 cups peeled and 1/2” diced carrots
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp minced garlic (3 cloves)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 1/2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place the squash, potatoes, parsnips and carrots in a bowl and toss with olive oil. Add salt and pepper, and spread in a single layer on a sheet pan. Roast for 30 minutes, turning once. After 30 minutes, toss with garlic and roast for another 10 minutes.
In the meantime, melt the butter over medium heat. Add rosemary sprigs and cook over low heat until the butter begins to brown. Discard the rosemary and stir in the lemon juice.
To serve, drizzle rosemary butter on vegetables and serve hot.