I called my mom to vent about frustrations yesterday. She let me blather for 15 minutes straight about issues totally unrelated to her, just because she’s my mom and she’s there for me. In the mom lottery, I hit the jackpot. When I was under 4′ tall (and that was a very long stretch of time–late bloomer), she spent hours chatting with me while sewing and looking out the window at the birds. She pep-talked me every morning through my daily sobs and requests to be home schooled as the big yellow bus approached. From my first riding lessons at eight through my license-getting at 16, she drove me and my grimy, horse-loving compatriots, to the barn multiple times a week, waited out our chores and riding lessons, and returned us home.
In an effort to reciprocate just a little of her patience and care, I’ve compiled a short list of things I’ll try to keep in mind:
- Do not ask mom complicated questions before nine in the morning. You can say good morning and get a hug. Stop at that point.
- If you need to borrow dishes, serving utensils, any color of cloth napkins, or liqueur glasses, mom’s your lady. She knows how to set a table.
- Mom loves bread. Mom detests soggy bread (this means you, panzanella and bread pudding).
- Mom doesn’t drink beer or wine. If you don’t have a good scotch on hand, you’d better plan an alternative beverage.
These dried, shriveled blossoms are beautiful to begin with, but they get more vibrant and striking after you make syrup with them.
After you create this syrup, there are infinite uses. I put about three flowers and a little syrup in a glass, then filled it with sparkling water for my mom. You could do that and add vodka, as well. These are also wonderful dropped in a glass of sparkling wine or champagne. I think they’d be lovely on top of a fairly plain cake. Or with ice cream. Oh, and do try eating the flowers straight out of the syrup–they’re delicious. Tart, sweet, fruity, and floral.
Hibiscus Flower Syrup
1-1/2 cups water
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 cup whole dried hibiscus flowers (my mother-in-law brought me some from the middle east, but you can find them online at places like this)
Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a small/medium saucepan and stir until the sugar is melted. Add the hibiscus flowers and bring back to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and let the syrup reduce for about a half hour, or until it reaches the consistency you want.
Store any unused flowers and syrup in the refrigerator.