My youngest daughter turns 20 today and we marked the occasion earlier this week by sharing a couple of pints of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream and a fascinating episode of Chef’s Table.
Maybe we should have met the occasion of a young woman exiting her teens and an old mother marking the official end of her active parenting years with more pomp, but, for us, those casual circumstances felt just right.
Molly actually has about six decades to go before she grows into her very old soul, but she’s as comfortable in her skin as the soft T-shirty dresses she favors. She carries her height like a badge of honor and wears rainbow slicks of purple, blue and green in her hair.
Molly stress-bakes the way other people practice yoga or meditate and, in her unusual combinations of fruits, butter and spices, she also expresses her love.
She enjoys both the chemistry and the creativity of cooking and spent the summer baking pies based on her favorite songs. Elle Winston’s Heavy Now became a rich peanut butter pie with caramelized bananas, a pretzel crust, and fresh banana cream. And, as she wrote in an earlier guest post, J-Council’s Sun to Sun became a gorgeous lemon cream pie topped with honeyed peaches on a poppyseed crust. That pie won first place in the Outagamie County Fair, which was really terrific for all your Wilbur fans. I finally got to taste Outagamie County’s best pie of 2018 last weekend and, let me tell you, it was delicious.
Thanks to Molly’s devotion to him, an Anthony Bourdain quote hangs in our kitchen.
“Food is everything we are. It’s an extension of nationalist feeling, ethnic feeling, your personal history, your province, your region, your tribe, your grandma. It’s inseparable from those from the get-go.”
Molly believes this fervently.
One winter, she collected her great-grandmas recipes and put together a cookbook for Christmas. She communes with them as she bakes and loves to think about the history behind each confection. As soon as apples are in season, she will attempt her great-grandma Mary Biskupic’s strudel recipe and she can’t wait.
This summer Molly worked at a bakery and as an editorial intern for the Wisconsin Historical Society. She is also a writing fellow and the fiction editor for the Madison Review.
Despite all those years I spent whispering into her ear as she slept “be a doctor” “be a scientist” “be an engineer”, Molly is a writer, a deep thinker and an activist. She is a fierce advocate for all genders and proudly votes her conscience.
Molly will graduate this spring with a degree in English and a French certificate. Then she hopes to go to culinary school and, eventually, she has some compelling plans to combine her interests in writing, history, culture and food.
In the meantime, life with Molly continues to be delicious.
Happy birthday Molly B!