Evelyn Ahlberg is 95


My grandmother is 96 today. When you tell her that she says, “I am not”! and then you say, “but Gram, what year were you born?” And she says “1910.” and then you say, “that’s 96!!!” and she just looks at you for a minute, then looks down to count on her fingers, and then says, “something is wrong with your math.”
I would like to tell you that my grandmother has always eaten piles of greens and only little bits of the purest oils and never did sugar or salt spoil her plate, but I would be lyin’. My grandmother hates salad greens, and preferrs a very skinny slice of bread with a great big slab of butter. If she doesn’t feel like having a lot, she skips the hot fudge and has her ice cream with a whallop of whipped cream on top. If my mother let her, she would give up dinner all together now, and stick to salty snacks and chocolate.
Her secret weapon is her sense of humor and her ability to say “so what.”

I am a control freak, I’m obssessive, and I’m a novice at humor. I still have to eat my greens.

Last night I bought organic chicken (do it). Buy the breasts off the bone and wiht no skin if you are in a rush, and if you are in a super rush, slice them in half so that you have two thin flat ovals of chicken instead of one fat one. Heat up your heavy frying pan, get three cloves of garlic golden (for one whole breast, or four pieces), take out the garlic, season the chicken with kosher salt on each side, and lay it away from you, into the oil. Don’t touch until it is beautifully chestnut colored, and DON’T OVERCOOK! Flip, and after a few seconds, remove from the pan. Add a little more olive oil, two very thinly sliced new red onions, a little more salt, pepper and fresh thyme sprigs, and saute until completely caramelized. At the end add about a quarter cup of nicoise olives. Pour in a tablespoon of orange juice (and one of butter once the pan is off the heat if you’re on my grandma’s side) to deglaze the pan. Slice the chicken on the diagonal into three inch wide pieces, and cover with the olives and onions. Dress a few bunches of watercress with olive oil, salt and lemon, and use that as a bed for your chicken. Serve with a tiny dice of roasted potatoes.

One thought on “Evelyn Ahlberg is 95

  1. My gran lied about her age for so long she had to tell people she was taking (very) early retirement. I do the opposite — I tell people I’m a few years older so they tell me how great I look. It’s cheap, I know.

    I will try this recipe tonight!

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