When I Leave: What My Family Eats
Somehow the idea that my family is helpless without me doesn't serve to make me feel needed. Instead, it angers me. It somehow implies that my husband can't care for the children, can't cook the meals, can't sweep the floor. If you implied that to his face, I guarantee he would be offended and tell you the way things work around here.
This is not my grandparents' generation where my grandpa returned home from work, retreated to his study and smoked a pipe while my grandma made all the food, took care of the children exclusively and then waited on my grandfather as though he were helpless. My husband, the father of my children, the man I would do anything for sweeps and mops floors. He cooks dinners as often as I do. He folds laundry.
I don't often think of what my kids will eat while I'm gone beyond making sure there is food in the house that they can cook. Sandwich fixings for lunches, snacks, appropriate breakfast options. My husband takes care of dinner just as we do when I am here: Planning ahead, making a menu, making it happen. What I make ahead of time is only what I need to make for work. In this case, there are marshmallows. Their sweet white pillows will keep my babies safe until I return and remind them that while dad can grill a burger and make a mean enchilada, only mom makes marshmallows.
Homemade Vanilla Bean Marshmallows
adapted from the French Laundry Cookbook
3 envelopes of Knox gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cups corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-2 scraped vanilla beans
Prepare a 9x15 baking sheet by lining it with plastic wrap and greasing the plastic wrap with vegetable oil. (I use a Misto filled with canola oil to spray the wrap.) In an electric mixer, add ½ cup cold water and sprinkle the gelatin over the top evenly. Allow the gelatin to soak for 10 minutes to allow it to bloom.
In a small saucepan over medium-high head, mix together the sugar, corn syrup, and a ¼ cup water. Bring to a hard boil and boil for 1 minute. Pour the syrup into the gelatin. Add the salt and beat on high for 12 minutes. Add the vanilla to the bowl and mix to spread evenly.
Spread the marshmallow mix into the baking sheet evenly. Cover with a piece of oiled plastic wrap and move to a cool, dry place. Allow the marshmallows to rest overnight. Sprinkle the marshmallows generously with powdered sugar and use a powdered-sugar-covered knife to cut them into squares.
Marshmallows can be gently rolled in powdered sugar to prevent sticking. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container until ready to eat. These can be toasted or used in recipes requiring marshmallows.