Pulled pork and coleslaw and Day 2: Rose and Dave

Pulled pork

Mom and Dad discussed my blog. Mom said they decided for revenge they’re going to backpack across Italy and talk about where, when, and how 74-year-olds have sex. (I think this idea is AMAZING.)

Although THIS blog makes them uncomfortable in all kinds of new ways, Mom is referring to my 2012 blog (long since hidden) about a backpacking trip across Southeast Asia. It had a recurring title: “Countries in which I’ve had sex now include … (fill in the blank)!” Over four months they dutifully read:

  • “Countries in which I’ve had sex now include … Indonesia!”
  • “Countries in which I’ve had sex now include … Thailand!”
  • “Countries in which I’ve had sex now include … Laos!”
  • “Countries in which I’ve had sex now include … Vietnam!”
  • “Countries in which I’ve had sex now include … Cambodia!”
  • “Countries in which I’ve had sex now include … Malaysia!”

Mom (imitating herself adjusting to my new blog): “Oh! Jenny’s having sex again! Let’s read about that!”

Last night at dinner:
Mom: We have a Nauvoo white.
Jenny: (Doesn’t think anything of it. Maybe they DO have a white wine from Nauvoo, Illinois. My parents, after all, used to buy jugs of Carlo Rossi red. Nauvoo, Illinois, is very close to our hometown of Quincy, Illinois, and is, incidentally, the crucible of Mormonism.)
Jenny (later, circling back): You have a Nauvoo white? Like from Nauvoo, Illinois?
Mom: No, no. Let me think. It’s a Napa Valley white.

Starting to pick up on Mom Code? THEY BOTH START WITH N.

Later last night:
Jenny (leaving the bathroom): Mom! Do you guys have any matches or incense or anything? For when you poop?
Mom (looks at me for a second): Is it bad?
Jenny: No. Just. What do you do?
Mom (starts laughing): We don’t have that problem.
Jenny: What do you mean you don’t have that problem? Oh. You mean you’ve been married for forty-five years and you think your poop doesn’t stink.
Mom: No. We just don’t go back to back. (Laughing so hard she’s crying.)

Mom and Dad live in a neighborhood that’s seven family homes + the rest Northwestern University housing. This morning, on our (incredibly fast) walk through the cold past the mansions to Lake Michigan, I asked Mom to retell the story of how she shut down a party three doors down last year.

First she called the Evanston police. They pulled out one of the boys who lived in the house and asked if Mom wanted to press charges. She said no, she just wanted the music to stop. But an hour later, the music level went back up. So Mom walked into their yard, crying out, “Who lives here? Who lives here?”

One of the kids said indignantly, “You’re trespassing!” Which set my mom OVER THE EDGE.

Mom: I live next door! (Technically, she lives three doors down. But what he didn’t know is my Mom GREW UP in the house next door. So although it’s been 60 years, she feels she’s earned the right to claim the house next door.)

The boy from earlier came out and saw Mom standing in the yard. My mom is about five feet tall with a shock of wild white hair. He immediately told everyone to either get in the house or leave. Then he came over to talk to Mom.

Mom: What’s your name? Write down your name! (Hands him a piece of paper and a pen.)
Student: (Writes his name. Mom sees his last name looks Italian. Student doesn’t realize IT’S OVER.)
Mom (who is Italian ON BOTH SIDES): Are you Italian?
Student: Yes.
Mom: What’s your mom’s name!
Student: Gina.
Mom: Is she paying for your education!
Student: Yes.
Mom: What would she think of this?
Student: She wouldn’t like it.
Mom: Write down her phone number!
Jenny: Did you ever call her?
Mom (smiling): No. That was enough.

Making lunch:
Mom: Oh, I didn’t put the Nauvoo white in the fridge.
Jenny: (Looks at Mom.)
Dad: That’s going to end up on the blog, Rose!
Mom: Oh, shit! Napa Valley! Napa Valley!

Later, making lunch:
Mom: I drink a glass of red wine every day. You’re supposed to. For your health.
Jenny: So what’s the white wine for?
Mom: My spirit.

In the car on the way to a gallery where Mom has a piece up:
NPR is on. Mom is already chewing gum and driving.
Mom: Let’s see if we can get some music. (Punches the radio off. Then punches it back on. Still NPR.)
Jenny: So your idea is to turn the radio off.
Mom (already distracted from wanting music): Yeah. I forgot.

Dad’s amazing coleslaw:

  • 1/4 white cabbage
  • 1/4 red cabbage
  • 1 white, yellow, or purple onion
  • 2 carrots, peeled
  • 1 green, yellow, or red sweet pepper

Shred cabbage, onion, carrots, and pepper in a food processor.

For the dressing:

  • 1 TB mayonnaise
  • 1 TB red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. French mustard
  • 1 tsp. dried or fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder

Stir all ingredients in a small bowl. Add to slaw and toss.


  • 1/4 cup purple or white raisins
  • 1/2 peeled and chopped apple

Add to slaw.

Dad’s amazing pulled pork:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 TB powdered mustard
  • 1 TB paprika
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 TB vegetable oil
  • 1 whole 5-lb. Boston pork butt
  • 12 rolls

Melt butter in saucepan. Add onion and garlic; cook until softened, about 5 mins. Add mustard, paprika, cumin, and cayenne; cook 1 min. Add ketchup, sugar, vinegar, and water; simmer, covered, about 30 mins. Uncover; simmer 30 mins. Add salt and pepper.

Heat over to 350 degrees.

Heat oil in large ovenproof Dutch oven. Add pork; brown, about. 10 mins.

Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 30 mins. Lower to 250 degrees. Bake 3 to 3 1/2 hrs., basting meat occasionally, until instant-read thermometer inserted in middle of roast registers 170-180 degrees.

Let cool slightly. Trim off excess fat. Pull meat apart using two forks. Serve on rolls.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. suegranzella says:

    I lost count of how many times I laughed. Your MOM! Nauvoo wine, her tiny self terrifying a young Italian, dutifully reading daughter’s ‘sex blog’ entries…. OH! The hardest I laughed, though, was your dad’s one-line warning — “This is going in the blog, Rose.” Any chance you could just stay there forever and keep delighting your readers with transcripts of parental dialogue?

    Liked by 1 person

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