Friday, April 23, 2010

When June Comes to Dinner

Have I mentioned yet that I married Beaver Cleaver? Well, I did. Oh, I briefly considered comparing the husband to Wally, the cool big brother of the Cleaver clan. But in full honesty, and because I have seen the freckles and heard the stories, I know that I married The Beav.

And I know that this is true because his mother… my mother-in–law… is June Cleaver. Yes, she is.

Actually, that other June has nothing on my mother-in-law. She raised two boys. My mother-in-law raised FIVE… count ‘em FIVE rough and tumble boys. And yet, when I first met The Beav, the carpet in her common area was white.

And it was clean.

Lest you assume that June is one of those clean freak “remove your shoes at my front door” types, she isn’t. She’s just June Cleaver, which means that she lives in a tidy little sitcom set where invisible stage hands remove dirt and clutter during the station breaks.

At least that’s the view from my side of the screen.

June whips up culinary masterpieces from her incredible self-cleaning kitchen. Never, in 25 years of marriage, have I seen that woman make a cooking mess. I, on the other hand, can’t make a bowl of pasta without turning my kitchen into a crime scene. I inherited the messy cook gene from The Duchess.  It’s frustrating. I try so hard … only to turn around and discover some smirking pot or bowl and think, “Where in the world did YOU come from?”

In that 25 years of marriage, June has assigned me one task in her kitchen, and that would be the task of preparing the relish tray. That's because my culinary gifts are limited to the arrangement of pickles and olives on a pre-divided platter.

So you can imagine how June’s visits to this neck of the woods are accompanied by weeks of anxiety. Over the years, I have discovered a method that works for us. I’m glad to share… just in case you married a Cleaver too.

We grill.  He grills.

Not only does that keep the mess out of my kitchen, but there is an ulterior motive. You see… if the grilling is being done by the husband... her son... the one that she raised.... a true June is always a cheerleader and never a critic. A true June can retire well off her  Mommy Point Pension.

OK, not very Proverbs 31ish, I admit. But it works for us.

And that would be the inspiration for this post this morning.

Because we had a salad the other day which I like to call Mother-in-law Salad. I call it this because once, about a decade ago, June came for a visit.

And along with the grilled vegetables and grilled pork tenderloin and baked potatoes for dummies, I served this salad.

And June asked for seconds.
And the recipe.
And I think that any dish which passes the June Test must be worth sharing.

So I am.

Mother-in-law Salad

           Green leaf lettuce
              (the purpley green leafy stuff from my garden)
           One pear, diced
           About ½ cup of walnuts
           About ½ cup of bleu cheese
               (The Beav prefers feta)
           One small red onion thinly sliced 
              (or chopped if you prefer)
           And raspberry walnut vinaigrette.

That’s it.

I know... I know... couldn't she just post the recipe without all that yakking? No.

And per suggestion from the comment box below, I'm going to peek in the door at Foodie Friday. What do you think they'll do when Lucy shows up?


Anonymous said...

Candace said:

Five boys - WOW! This was a wonderful tribute to your MIL. Because of her, you have him and because of him you have your two wonderful, brilliant and gorgeous girls. You have been blessed.

Debbie said...


And June did a WONDERFUL job of raising her boys.

Why do you think The Beav is also Mr. Clean?

Gayle said...

This sounds and looks delicious, and the yakking was nice, too. :-) You should share at "Foodie Friday" today. Here's the link:

Jennie said...

Shoot, the yakking is my favorite part! We all know I'm not going to make anything in the kitchen, no matter how delicious it looks (and it does!). I just didn't get that kitchen gene. ;) I laughed so hard at the relish tray. I have all-too-familiar feelings about my very own mother-in-law. (You may know her.) I don't know how she did/does it all! At the very least, I have an amazing woman whom I can aspire to be like. Keep up the great blogging! And a happy weekend to you!

susan said...

You have me howling! I am a new mother in law (have a SIL) and I am trying so hard. It seems to me that you have figured out the best way to handle this situation and the salad sounds as if it would pass anyone's standards! Sounds wonderful! I too am a hopelessly messy cook--I clean it all up, but I make a grand mess! I'm just glad you didn't marry Eddie Haskell :)

Mrs. P. said...

OK..this was hands down the greatest post, lol. I am not married to a Clever but I can just imagine what that would be like. I make a version of your MIL Salad and it is a favorite here too.


Angie said...

Love your salad...I would go towards the feta too!

Tiffanee said...

Yum! Sound delicious! I was intrigued because my mother in law's name is June!! HA HA! But truthful. Love the post, sweet and made me smile. Have a great weekend!!

Melinda said...

Please tell me she doesn't wear pearls and heels!? I love your solution to feeding her!

MrsJenB said...

That is my kind of salad, right there!! I can see why June loved it so much! ;-)

It has always, and I do mean always, been my goal to be June Cleaver. It'll never happen, of course. But a girl can dream beyond her means, can't she? haha

Lynn Richards said...

I did not marry the Beav (close, but I do all the grilling) but Lord have mercy, his mother would iron her husband's undershorts. That woman could do laundry like nobody's business. She could block a sweater like a pro and loved every minute of it!!!! I loved it when she would come and do our laundry.
I will have to try the recipe-it sounds easier to do than laundry.

Cynthia@ITLLDO said...

What a hoot!! I loved reading about June....the salad looks good too. You are a very brave woman indeed!

Natasha said...

Well it must be good if she asked for the recipe! Thanks so much for sharing it with us! I will give it a try when my MIL comes over!

Best wishes,

Kathleen said...

Lol! Too funny! The salad sounds great!

Anonymous said...

What a hoot!! I copied the recipe right now and in a hurry. I laughed so hard because I'm not allowed to touch the food, bringing paper goods is all that's ever requested of me by my MIL.

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

This is just too funny in too many ways...what is really funny is God was speaking through it to me as I read...I was given the June Cleaver award at my high school reunion...then I only had three boys, I now have FIVE! spanning from age 27 to 4 and there is a girl throw in.
The second thing that spoke is I have now been the mother-in-law for 5 years! This year we went to their house for the first time for a time at Christmas...just 15 minutes away, but the first time for the Christmas the rest of this spoke to me as the mother-in-law...and this mother-in-law is still learning. Great honored her well, while learning what works for you both!


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