A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.


Filomena, Lauren Stewart & Chicken A La Barbara
Sunday, March 26, 2006

My Manila-born mother, Filomena de Irureta Goyena Hayward, could do anything. She played the piano, taught physics and chemistry, she gardened, danced the tango and could swim on her back effortlessly without a trace of a ripple on the water. She could not cook. In 1971 she returned to Mexico from North Carolina from visiting my uncle Antonio de Irureta Goyena armed with Marion Brown's Southern Cook Book. She lived with us at our little house in the outskirts of Mexico City in Arboledas, Estado de México. Nena proceded to dazzle us with her cooking. Our favourite was Adalyn Lindley's Chicken A La Barbara (Neiman-Marcus Tea Room, Dallas).

Today Rosemary decided to make Chicken A La Barbara. Returning from Rebecca's early morning ballet class on Granville Island, her sister Lauren Elizabeth (3½)giggled at the name when I told her of our lunch menu. But when she saw the platter on the table she indicated to us that she was not going to eat any of it. After lunch I commanded Lauren to stay at the table until she had three spoonfuls. She was not to go to the garden to play until she did so. Lauren, unlike her sister Rebecca, is not subject to the persuasion of logic. Since I was an only child I have never understood what it's like to be a second banana and I may have made all kinds of mistakes with her mother Hilary, who was second banana to our older daughter Ale. I will never comprehend the bond between brothers or sisters. With my recently discovered half brother I cannot accept the sharing of a father and I speak of my father not as "our" father but of George. It seems safer. After staring at her plate for an hour, Lauren told me she was ready to eat one spoonful and no more. I knew I was defeated. Soon she was out playing.


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