Today is Mother’s Day! Most certainly something worth cheers-ing for. For this here little post, I’d like to cheers to one mom in particular. My very own. Christine Linnea Davis Happel aka Mommy aka Pom aka Ming. (Us Happels have never been shy with nicknames.)
It is on this day that Pom hereby gets her very own beverage. It is my favorite mocktail of all time. It resembles Pom not only in name, but in its effervescence, and sweetness with a touch a tart. And, just like Pom, it’s delightful anytime.
When I think of Pom, she is singing. Or smiling. Probably both. When I was a rebellious, angst-y teenager, she would often say to me, “You’re never fully dressed without a smile.” I’d roll my eyes and walk away. But, like most things, she was right. Pom has taught me more than I’ll ever know. Among so many things, it is her cooking and love of food that has shaped who I am. Sister Hazel and I were Pom’s sidekicks on weekly trips to the Pike Place Market, where we’d stock up on produce from Frankie’s and then, sometimes, we’d snack on crumpets topped with ricotta cheese and strawberry jam from the Crumpet Shop upstairs. At home, we ate homemade sauces, soups, pizza, ice cream, pie and birthday cake. Almost never anything from the box, carton or can. I had no idea how lucky (spoiled?!) I was. I mean, I could probably recognize Maida Heatter’s face before I could identify Abraham Lincoln’s. (Her face graced the cover of many a dessert cookbook in our kitchen bookshelf…and I loved dessert cookbooks.)
Before I was born, Pom hand wrote and published her first cookbook as a holiday gift for family and friends. Throughout the years, she continued to test, tinker with and compile recipes. And this past December, Pom wrote the 17th edition of The Blue Dress Cookbook. 17th! These are the recipes I grew up with. I love them. And I’m not the only one. I have friends who text me their photos of Pasta Happelini in late summertime or ask me to ask Pom for her favorite salad dressing recipe. Someday soon, I’d love to pay homage to The Blue Dress treasure trove by carving out a chunk of time and cooking only from the cookbooks’ archives and writing all about it, in true Julie and Julia fashion. Stay tuned.
In years past, Hazel and I would take turns drawing the cover and illustrating the title page. Above are just a few. Now that we’re all grown up, Pom draws the cover again. The latest (bottom row, far right) features a polar bear in a dress made of tiny blue hearts. The quote on the title page reads:
How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single minute before starting to improve the world. – Anne Frank
Pom, thank you for improving the world with your love, unfailing optimism, fully-dressed smile and, of course, your food. I love you with all my heart and even more. This Pom Spritz is for you.
Pom Spritz with Lime
Pure pomegranate juice (I like this kind.)
Slice of lime
Pour Pom juice into your favorite glass about 1/3 of the way to the top, then fill to the top with cold sparkling water. Add a generous squeeze of lime. Stir. Cheers!