This is a 2 minute story with a fun jelly omelet recipe at the end.
In 1965 my mother found herself divorced with two girls under the age of eight, living in Westchester County, New York.
She was an experienced interior designer, and there were few professional opportunities for her outside of a train ride into New York City, which would necessitate expensive and complicated childcare. My mom wanted to be close to her girls, and going to the city was out.
So, like zillions of resilient women before her, my mother reinvented herself and opened a shop in the town of Bronxville. Her creativity, eye for design, and excellent taste made the shop, named Cliffhangers, an instant success. Almost sixty years later, people still reach out to share stories about my amazing mother. She had a genuine way of helping shoppers make the perfect selection and feel elevated by the experience. Everyone loved her, and the shop gave her credibility as a professional and made her a well-respected fixture in our village.
Working in town meant my mother could put us in after-care activities or send us home with friends. When I was older, I could walk from school to her shop and hang out in the basement, organizing and arranging the storage shelves when I was supposed to do my homework. One of the signature programs of my coaching practice at The Culinary Cure is The Kitchen Intervention, a way of organizing the kitchen that supports simple healthy cooking and eating. I often think the hours spent unpacking and carefully sorting led to my passion for teaching functional culinary skills and organization.
My mother made it work. I’m sure there were days when she just wanted to come home, pour a big glass of wine, and put her feet up. But instead, she had to park the car three downhill blocks from our apartment, schlep us and the groceries up eight flights of stairs, and then cook dinner.
The jelly omelet was born of long days and few ingredients. A couple of eggs, a pat of butter, and some grape jelly could quickly transform into a tasty and nutritious dinner. I can’t remember the last time I ate grape jelly, but I can still taste the memory of the eggy browned edges of the omelet and the grapey sweetness of the melted jelly. It tastes like love.
I lost my mother in 2010. She was a pioneer, a founder, a reinventionist, and a proage woman before it was a thing. She could make something out of almost nothing, and a jelly omelet is a perfect analogy for doing just that.