Wednesday, March 4, 2015

13. GRAMMA CONNORS SALAD

There's a spot in our kitchen where the high chair belongs. It never goes away, the high chair I mean, and it's rare that a week goes by when it sits unused.  It has Cheerios and little dried pieces of fruit and crunchy chunks of pasta hidden in the crevices of its padded seat. Dried milk and juice and syrup down in the joints. I love that high chair. Well, OK, it's not the chair per se.  You know what I mean.



Timothy is my oldest grandchild.  When he was born his mom Sarah was in her first year of medical school.  Fortunately for us the med school was the University of Utah.  Lucky for them I did not have to work a full time job, and so I was able to use that high chair quite a bit.  That was the year I was stricken with Guillain Barre Syndrome, which left me nearly paralyzed for a few months.  I lived my life of recovery in a recliner at home.  And in my arms was that little boy, making me feel useful, the pulse of his heart against mine, healing me.  We called it Timo-therapy.
I have a few nick names for Timothy: Timo, Mosely, Mo, Buddy Bear, Mr. Magoo.  He answers to all of them.  He has this little smile that melts my heart. Gram called it the snowman smile, because he once had a little size 2 shirt with a sweetly smiling snowman on the front. I adore his snowman smile, and his tender heart, and his angelic voice, and his creative mind, his sense of rhythm and his passion for orchestral scores. 
Timo with his Gram.  That's his snowman smile.
When I make this family recipe, originated by my mother-in-law, I always think of Mosely.  I think of his little fingers, their tiny fingertips picking up pieces of Gramma Connors Salad from the tray of that high chair in the corner of my kitchen.  
Same boy.  Same Smile.
(Doesn't need the high chair any more.)
I know I should steam clean that chair.  I should.  But I know that deep down there somewhere is a piece of that little boy, and his sister and brother and cousins, infused into that piece of furniture. It may not be the most hip, most designer friendly look, that Peg Perego high chair poking out in my kitchen.  But it speaks my heart.

Gramma Connors Salad
a simple pasta salad with the yin of spanish olives and the yang of sweet pickles.

1 lb pkg PASTA
small or med shells or short penne pasta, or little chopped off rings I don't know the name of.

One large jar SPANISH OLIVES 
(not the giant jar, not the small jar, said Goldilocks) .  Pre-sliced is good, cuz then you won't have to slice them, but I often buy them and slice myself, about four slices per olive.  Olives should have red pimiento inside.

One small jar SWEET GHERKIN PICKLES.  
Chop into small pieces.  Slice into long quarters and then chop each slice so the size is fairly uniform.  Don't just randomly chop.

somewhere around One cup REAL MAYONNAISE (not Miracle Whip)

One can TUNA (in water) or canned chicken
if you don't like tuna, like Libby doesn't. Or nothing.  It's good that way too, with no fish or meat.


Boil pasta according to package directions.  When done to the tooth (as they say in Italy...al dente') then strain and run cold tap water over it to cool it.  Drain olives and pickles and slice. Mix pasta and greens.  Add Mayo, SALT & PEPPER to taste, and Tuna.  Cover and Chill.  Add more Mayo if pasta is dry or needs more flavor. Chill.


5 comments:

  1. You left out Mighty Mo! Also, I couldn't find a way to post it here in the comments, so I'm sending you a photo of my grandbaby Quinn in your Peg Pérego. One of the hundred ways your home is Goldilocks Just Right.

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  2. I recall being a recipient of that wonderful Timo-therapy too! Such great memories. Gonna go make me some Mother Connors salad right now! When you get a craving, you just got to have some!

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  3. I agree with Marsha - there is no substitute when you crave this salad.

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  4. This is sweet. Adrianne always asks me about grandma connors salad. She loves it!! Ill pass along the recipe.

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  5. Yup - our Timo still loves Grandma Connors Salad! Thank you for loving our Timo. He adores you.

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