Three’s Company (podcast)Jun 8th, 2012 | By Cecilia | Category: Featured Articles, podcast, the show
The art of mothering is to teach the art of living to children. ~ Elaine Heff
Relationships between mothers and daughters can be more complex than the double helix of DNA strands that connect them. Within that seemingly unending furl of emotions, wishes, dreams and expectations is–for the lucky–a deep and unconditional love and desire to share life’s magic.
I felt that bond between mothers and daughters when I visited Kristina Nichols-Wolter at her Southwest Austin home, and met her mother Marlene Nichols and her daughter Johnee Wolter. I was there to record the trio preparing a brunch menu fit for breakfast in bed: tropical fruit cups, Eggs in a Frame, candied bacon, and guava mimosas. (This radio show was originally going to air Mother’s Day weekend, but a big computer fail –and eventual new computer purchase–pushed the show to this weekend.)
I met Kristina through the Austin food blogging community, and liked her right away. On her blog, Girl Gone Grits, you’ll find a luscious parade of recipes and photographs of good food and drink she conjures in her kitchen–usually on her own–but sometimes with help from Marlene and Johnee.
“Being able to all be in the kitchen cooking is probably the number one thing on my list that makes me happy,” she told me as I set up to record the activity. Through a wry smile she added, “But I’m always in charge.”
Kristina credits Marlene with teaching her the basics of food preparation and styling. Marlene, an artist, poet, and pianist, said she always did her best to make whatever was on the plate “look as lovely as possible” no matter how humble. We do, after all, eat with our eyes as well as our taste. This proud momma is quick to point out that her daughter’s gifts in the kitchen exceeded her own at an early age.
And now there’s Johnee.
Kristina’s daughter and Marlene’s granddaughter is a gentle, willowy beam of light with a radiant smile and playful nature. When we met, Johnee was in Middle School and looking forward to playing on the Lacrosse team in the new school year. While respectful of her mother’s domain in the kitchen, I picked up a vibe that Johnee was ready stake a claim of her own.
During our recording session, Kristina gave Johnee great latitude when it came to preparing the tropical fruit cups, making the Eggs in a Frame (at my house we called them Top Hats), and styling the plates. Despite Johnee’s subtle push for independence in the kitchen, she was always quick to check in with Mom with questions and for approval.
The Wolter kitchen was a playful, joyful place that day, complete with good natured teasing, banter, and beautiful food. And I reckon it is most days when three’s company in the kitchen.