I saw only one movie in the theater while pregnant with my second daughter: Pride and Prejudice. I sometimes think this is the reason she loves period pieces so much. We can while away an evening together, enraptured with the 2008 BBC Sense and Sensibility. We are mad for costume drama, crazy for corsets!
At times, I feel badly that I am exposing her to the films before she reads the books, capturing her imagination with a filmmaker’s vision of the stories before she can dream up her own. But life provides me with far too many opportunities for guilt, and I find I am backlogged. So I am forgoing self-reproach over letting my child watch Jane Austen. Plus, besides droll entertainment, an expanded vocabulary is a benefit of watching high-toned British telly. My daughter described Lady Arabella, a character in Julian Fellowes’ Dr. Thorne, as treating a person below her station with “grudging respect.” Well-said, daughter.
I was in the yard last week, fretting over our diseased, dispirited peach tree. This gangly specimen is an embarrassment next to the lush varieties that flourished in Captain Wentworth’s hothouse (that’s Sense and Sensibility, for the uninitiated). My daughter materialized from the undergrowth and asked me to close my eyes so she could pop one of her farm to table (yard to face) creations into my mouth. It was an act of faith on my part, since she has a penchant for unique flavor profiles which she conjures up on the fly. Sure enough, it was a blueberry, tucked inside a raspberry, (like turducken, but for fairies) wrapped in a lemon balm leaf and lovingly tied into a bundle with a chive stem. It wasn’t bad, rather fresh tasting in fact. But then, I enjoy meals wrapped in leaves with wee bows on them. Hey, I never claimed to be macho.
A few nights later, I made Thai lettuce wraps with assorted herbs, blanched carrots, tofu and hoisin sauce. This decision was based, as are so many, on a miscommunication. Number 1 daughter was away, and number 2 was craving Indian food, (which I cannot cook) but I thought she wanted Thai food (which I can sort of cook). Unfortunately, she wasn’t wild about the wraps and I so wanted to claim them as a kid-friendly meal. Well, I’m sure some kid would find them friendly.
But misunderstandings aside, it made for a fresh, tasty little dinner, if not a filling one. We were a tad hungry later, but that was easily remedied with popcorn, during costume drama hour. When I saw that version of P&P back in the Spring of 2006, I brought my own popcorn along, hauled in a bag the size of Santa’s toy sack. And my daughter learned right then, (in utero, because my children are quick studies) that nothing goes better with a romantic comedy of manners, circa 1800, than homemade popcorn. I recently heard someone say we have children so we can admire ourselves in someone else. That is narcissistic, but just this one time, (and only this time) that is true.