Embracing the New
“Do you know what a badonkadonk* is?” my mother asked me one day over the phone. I burst into a fit. “Yes. Why?” She told me about a class she’d taken to expand her already robust vocabulary. She had a slew of new words she was just itching to use.
My mother is a hobbyist. A master baker, gardener and scrapbooker, she regularly engages in tedious activities for which I have no skill or patience. God bless her. Mom’s fine motor skills have diminished over the last few years, so she’s shifted her energy to keeping her mind active and sharp. Andy challenges her in Scrabble marathons (though the two of them as a team are the worst! They are competitive and they cheat, though neither will admit to it). She and my brother are embroiled in a never-ending Words with Friends battle. Perhaps the class was her attempt at gaining an edge.
“Um yeah, that’s more than a decade old.” I didn’t realize “bootylicious” had made it into the Oxford English Dictionary. The OED?! Too many letters for Scrabble, but entertaining nevertheless.
“Do you ever use the phrase ‘balls to the wall’?” she prattled on. This was too much. I couldn’t imagine my mother using such a phrase in conversation over coffee and donuts at church.
But it got me thinking about the invigorating feeling of newness. We are programmed to be energized by the novel, whether its a phrase or pair of shoes (me) or toy (my kids). And I realized our breakfast routine had become stale. We needed an infusion of freshness to break us out of a cereal-and-milk rut. It’s fast, it’s easy…and we’re sick of it.
My mother grew rhubarb when I was little. She and my dad still maintain an expansive garden, but they don’t grow rhubarb anymore. It’s in season for a short time, which makes rhubarb cherished and rare. I’d say it qualifies for “new” since we get so little of it for such a brief window. (It’s timing is also highly predictable. I dedicated a week to rhubarb exactly two years ago…check out my post and the corresponding recipes here).
I roasted this seasons’s allotment – a hulking four pounds of thick, sturdy stalks – with sugar, red wine and a couple vanilla beans split down the middle (get the recipe here). We lapped up its sweet-tart puckery goodness from a bowl warm out of the oven. We mixed it into plain yogurt. We savored it over a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The remaining rhubarb became the integral component to our breakfast makeover.
To make the strawberry rhubarb breakfast parfait pictured at the top, line the bottom of a wide-mouthed drinking glass or small Mason jar with about 1/4 cup of roasted rhubarb. Add a layer of sliced strawberries, then top with plain yogurt (my boys like a splash of pure vanilla extract and a little drizzle of maple syrup mixed into 2% Greek yogurt). Add 1/4 cup of your favorite granola (try this recipe or pick up a bag of Hippie Crack from Baked & Wired – they ship!) then finish with a few more sliced berries. I added a sprig of mint for color, fragrance and of course, to make this photo look pretty.
It’s sort of a mess to eat since you have to plunge the spoon way down (sending the granola spilling all over the place) to get to the rhubarb, but I like it this way because the granola doesn’t get too wet and mushy. Don’t say I didn’t warn you, neat freaks.
I’ll sign off by introducing you to my favorite new vocabulary word: ridonculous. Mom, add this one to your list. It’ll be easier to casually throw into your grocery store conversations than, say, hooptie.
ridonculous (adjective) – something that is so extremely ridiculous that one can’t comprehend the full ridiculousness of it; also used to describe something incomprehensibly amazing; extremely unbelievable (see also, ridonkulous)
Source: Urban Dictionary
Example: “When the hot baking sheet inadvertently flipped over, I had a ridonculous amount of steaming, sticky roasted rhubarb to clean off the counter and the floor.”
*I considered linking definitions to these words here, but the images accompanying them weren’t up to my exacting standards. Ahem. If you don’t know the meaning of these colorful phrases, a simple Google search is all you need.