88 years later

Today would have been my mother’s 88th birthday.

In her honour, I made a batch of her oatmeal squares, which I rediscovered in England under the name of flapjacks. These ones are not as sticky as flapjacks, which use golden (or corn) syrup as a bonding agent instead of a glue of brown sugar and butter. Rather they are, at their best, crispy with a slightly raised border and a subtle chew in the middle. And they are wheat and dairy free. Melt half a cup of butter or margarine; add three-quarters of a cup of dark brown sugar and then two cups of quick oats and half a teaspoon baking soda. Press lightly into a square (8×8) cake pan and bake 10-20 minutes at 350f. Cut while warm and remove to a plate or baking rack.

I have been reading a bit of Heather McHugh, who read in Vancouver last year. A poet of terrifying intellect, she is a very funny reader – I think I was responding to some essence of irony that we must surely attribute to her Canadian parentage. It is comforting to know she is just across the water in Seattle.

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