Monday, July 8, 2013

rose lemon sorbet + a bit of honesty

I've been thinking a lot about the honesty of photography. Maybe it's because I'm up to my eyeballs in 3 year old temper tantrums,  but I'm becoming suspicious. Things are looking too perfect out there... 

The other day I found myself reading a blog post authored by a woman who focuses on fashion, child rearing and life in the big city. The images were beautiful, everyone was in line, but in the back of my head I was thinking, "Oh for the love of on Earth is her life so perfect? She has kids!" (You should note that my children are the greatest joys of my life and I'm still amazed that I have the privilege of raising two little humans. But it is hard work. Very hard work.) I started combing through her posts and there wasn't a single mention of any tantrums or bad behavior, no embarrassing moments that had her turning red, and never a mention of the toll children can take on your marriage if you don't nurture it and adapt to the new challenges as they come. That's when I realized that this blogger was either an alien, won the kid jackpot, or more likely, chooses to tell only half of the story (which is fine, it is her blog after all). 

Now I'm all for keeping things positive and focusing on the glass being half full and all that, but I think that as a mother-- one who is struggling a bit right now-- I've started gravitating toward writers who have a far more honest approach to life. It is more valuable for me to hear about the trials and tribulations that come with parenthood (give me something!) then to pretend that everything is picture perfect all the time.

I love to capture Otis and Theo squealing with delight as they splash in the water and have fun. And from the images in this post, the afternoon looks great. But a more accurate depiction of the day should include- at the very least- a sentence on how frustruating the two, very public, temper tantrums were right before these pictures were taken. They tested my inner strength. The elongated meltdowns would have caused a woman with the patience of Mother Theresa running for the hills. There are moments of extreme joy and wonderful tenderness. But there are also challenges and frustrations. So please know that even if I choose to capture the joyful moments, that is probably only part of the story. At least until the boys are out of their "threenage" years... 
I am now soliciting advice :)
xo, Batya

* * * 
Though we weren't able to pick fresh strawberries, we did pick up some rose petals from the Hoot N Howl farm stand, which came with this recipe (below) for rose lemon sorbet.
Notes on the sorbet: It was a total palette cleanser that also made my fridge smell amazing! The petals had a gorgeous color, which turned paler and paler the longer they soaked in the water. The water, which became dull and a little bit brownish towards the end of the process, turned bright pink once the lemon juice was added. Otis and Theo got a real kick out of that little experiment! The taste of actual rose water was really muted, but it looked very, very pretty. And it cooled us down. Next time I might add more rose petals, or top with chopped pistachios. 

Rose Lemon Sorbet (Adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz by Hoot N Howl Farm in Boulder, Colorado)
2 cups rose water (see below)
1/2 cup water
1 1/4 cups of sugar (1 cup for a more tangy sorbet)
2 lemons
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 6 lemons)
1 tablespoon vodka or limoncello (optional)
In a medium, non-reactive saucepan, combine 1/2 cup of the water and the sugar. 
Grate the zest of the 2 lemons directly into the saucepan.
Heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Remove from the heat and add the 2 cups of rose water. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator. 
Stir the lemon juice into the rose water syrup. Add the vodka or limoncello if you're using it. Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturers instructions. (It took me 25 minutes in the ice cream maker, and then I transferred the sorbet to an ice cream container and kept it in the freezer for 4 hours before serving.)

Rose Water:
2 cups water
1 cup rose petals

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan. Turn off heat. Stir in the rose petals and cool to room temperature. Strain and press on rose petals to expel excess water. 

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  1. Oh yes, in the age of Kinfolk magazine everything is perfect. Didn't you know, nothing ever burns in the kitchen either! On some blogs mothers always look freshly showered and they wear beautiful outfits (stain free! and bright lipstick! I do think there'e a place for fantasy, but it's nice to keep it real too! There must be balance and perspective :) I can't wait to try the sorbet--i come as my roses are at the end so it's quite perfect timing. Carry on dear friend, four will be much, much easier!

    1. Hi Annalise, Ha! re: Kinfolk. No, nothing ever burns and your friends have the best clothes...ever :) They do have a pretty fabulous aesthetic, I have to admit. It's really the narrative that motherhood is easy that is touching a nerve. It just sets women up for failure :( That's just my take on it now that I have a 3 year old who is, um, a handful! Thanks for your comment and your encouragement! xo

  2. Hi Batya! I saw your post on CCN FB and I was curious as to your take on photographic honesty. As a woman who's been dreaming of becoming a mother for several years now, reading blogs like ones you mentioned makes me feel even more impatient and jealous. Motherhood seems so fun and perfect. I can't forget that being a mother means hello not-so-glamorous responsibilities! Thank you for your honesty. The photos of your children are so precious. I've never cooked with rose water although I have washed my face with it ;). Looks so refreshing and beautiful!

    1. Hi Min, Thanks so much for your comment. I'm glad this little post resonated with you. Like everything in life-- motherhood included-- there are great rewards, but challenges too. There are peaks and valleys, ups and downs...and I guess my online reading list just wasn't reflecting this reality. Though I consider myself to be a fairly confident person, I started feeling mini pangs of jealousy and self-doubt. Like, "Is anyone having difficulty here?" and "What amI doing wrong?" It's also very tempting to compare yourselves to others, especially in times of challenge, when there is so much picture-perfect imagery out there. But then I'm reminded of a quote by Theodore Roosevelt that goes, "comparison is the thief of joy..." I love that saying. Indeed it is (or can be). I really hope that everything goes smoothly on your road and for on journey...
      ...and you've encouraged me to start washing my face with rose water, i just have to go find some more petals!

  3. Batya! Your post made me smile and feel relieved because I'm not the only one :) Motherhood is one of the most challenging parts of my life, while also being very gratifying--but your OWN time is gone and I have a 3 1/2 year old who sometimes drives me to tears (and wine--can I say that--sure! we are being honest, right?) Love your blog, BTW. We moved to Boulder from DC and LOVE it here! I would love to meet you on Pearl Street next time you are in town :)

    1. Hello, Ali! No shame in that game, I enjoy a glass every night :) You are certainly NOT the only one. I'm a fellow east- coaster too (NYC, not DC- but I did spend a fair share of time there) and I would love to meet up. Send me a private email through FB or gmail (which is in my contact section!). That would be fun :) Stay will pass (or so I'm told!)

  4. A very important post -- one that offers depth and humanity lacking in some of the other resources you reference. Also, the sorbet looks light and luscious, like parts of me before tanning. Always appreciate your thoughtful reflections!

    1. N, You make me giggle so consistently-- maybe that's why you are such a great comic :) I love your light and luscious parts before tanning. Now, get your pale Brooklyness over to Colorado where the sun shines brightly every day. xoxoxoxoxo, mamzy b

  5. wow that sorbet looks incredible!

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