I watched The Nutcracker last night. I really love it and try to watch it every year during the Christmas season. The music never fails to put me in a good mood and the ballet fills me with memories of years past.
When I was 8, I was in Miss Patsy’s School of Dance in Winslow, Maine. I was THRILLED to be dancing and loved every second I was in her school. When I came home from each class I would head to the basement and put on my tap shoes and go to town. “Double step, double step, double step, step step step,” I’d repeat over and over. Upstairs I’d put on the ballet slippers and practice my plié for what seemed like a lifetime to my sister who shared my bedroom.
That Christmas my parents surprised us all by taking us to Boston to see The Nutcracker – live on stage. I was over the moon. The music! The costumes! It was my dream to one day be on that stage. Boston was a 3 hour drive from where we lived so this required planning. My father wasn’t mechanically inclined and he refused to go farther than 25 miles from home in a car with more than 10,000 miles on the odometer. (seriously) He wouldn’t risk a breakdown in an old car, he’d tell us.
Although I was only 8 years old, I tried on every outfit I owned to ensure I was well dressed for this outstanding event and I practiced my dance steps daily on the off-chance they’d need me on stage. My sister was happy to go, my brother — not so much. “A bunch of sissy girls prancing around,” he’d say. When he found out there were men and boys in it, well, that was worse. “Boys don’t dance,” he’d say. He’s grown up a bit since he was 7 and enjoys classical music and ballet.
On the day of the ballet, we all dressed in our finest and piled in the car. I always got to the car last and ended up sitting in the middle in the back on the hump. It didn’t last long because I always got carsick and we’d have to stop for me to barf. I was worried that I’d spoil my dress so I refused to eat that entire day. You can’t throw up if you haven’t eaten, I decided. True, but you can dry heave for what seemed an eternity.
The ballet was the most exciting thing I’d ever seen. There were thousands of people (or so it seemed) and when the curtain opened and the ballerinas began dancing, I was mesmerized. I didn’t want it to end.
When it was over and we were driving back to Maine, I told my parents that I wanted to be a ballerina just like the women and girls on stage. That was my new life goal and I knew I would be the best dancer in the world.
My father looked at my mother and my mother looked back at my father and then she looked at me and said, “Maureen, ballet dancers have flat chests and no woman in our family has one of those. I don’t think you can be a dancer with a big bosom.”
I was gutted, my dreams dashed and it was all my mother’s fault, her and her damn genes. I stayed angry with her for weeks. I can still do the double step, double step, double step, step step step and I’d be happy to show you when we meet.
We have had a busy week with family staying with us and visits to the nursing home, outings with the olds and lots and lots of cooking. Have you ever done a quick breakfast where you bake an egg in a big mushroom? It’s a quick breakfast for a crowd where you brush the mushrooms with oil and bake gill side down for a few minutes, then flip over and crack an egg in each one. When the eggs are done to your liking, remove from the oven and serve with a side of toast.
I’m pleased to share with you what John gave me for Christmas. I’m going to a “Gunnas Masterclass” in writing with standup comedian, author and all around fun person, Catherine Deveny. She has assured John that I will come away with the tools to be a better writer and fingers crossed that’s what will happen.
The course is advertised as a great gift for the frustrated writer in the family. It fits me, don’t you think? Why is it called gunnas? If you’ve ever said you’re gunna be a better writer or you’re gunna write more blog posts or you’re gunna get past your writer’s block – Catherine can fix that and with a few laughs too. I wish you could come with me.
movita beaucoup says
I’m gunna be jealous of your writing skillz! Guess I’ll have to do a few pliés to feel better…
You could give Catherine a run for her money. I’d go to YOUR class any day. Without a tutu. SADLY, without a tutu.
Suzy @ The Mediterranean Dish says
What a neat memory! I am glad you’ve kept the tradition of watching the Nutcracker those many years. Your stories are engaging already; I can only imagine how fun the writing class will be for you. And I am a little jealous; English is not my first language, and I do this blogging thing. I should probably find me a class of sorts 🙂
O, the egg and mushroom breakfast…Brilliant!
I have several blogging friends where English is not their first language and it’s not a problem. If you can communicate your thoughts so that your readers/followers get what you’re trying to convey, that’s all that matters. I love your blog and I almost feel like part of your family. 🙂
Hi Maureen, I can’t imagine your stories any better, they are always so fun to read. Though it does sound like a wonderful class. Sweet story about you wanting to be a ballerina. Thanks, Cheri
You are so kind, thank you for these lovely words.
Sandra - The Foodie Affair says
You are gonna rock that class and show Catherine a few tricks of your own! Such a great gift!! P.s. We could perform a duet. I still have a few steps stored up in my dance bank 🙂
OMG a duet!!
Laura @ Family Spice says
Ha ha about not getting a flat bosom! My mom put in dance classes and I was neither graceful or talented as a ballerina. My flat feet guaranteed failure! But nothing transports you to another world like the music of the Nutcracker. What a lovely post! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Maureen!
OH! YOU”VE DONE IT AGAIN!!!! another fantastic adventure you will embark on WITHOUT ME ;-(
heck, I doubt that class would work on Brazilian-Americans, but I’d give it a shot….
and to see you doing the tap tap tap thing, that would be worth any embarrassment in any writing class!
Looking forward to your adventures, and of course the baked eggs are scrumptious and I’d take two, please. Thank you…
I’d happily put my boobage in a bushel basket and dance to the Irish Washerwoman for you!
I was gutted on your behalf when I read about having your dream of being a ballerina shattered due to a genetic pre-disposition for a generous bosom. Luckily being a writer doesn’t have strict physical requirements. I attended several writers’ workshops with a friend who had her third short story published in a collection written by other ST fans. Persistence pays off so I wish you the best of luck in the writing field.
Eggs are such a versatile ingredient and paired with a meaty mushroom and some hot buttered toast … a delicious breakfast or brunch dish.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for understanding my pain. 🙂
Good grief woman, I hope she doesn’t make you funnier because I’m not sure I’d cope! 🙂 I’m sorry you’re too well endowed to be a ballerina. I doubt either of us will ever be willowy (but I hear it’s overrated, really ;-)). Have a great new year!!
Maybe you and I could come up with a dance for well endowed women? It could work!
We might take out someone’s eye… 😉
Better than running down the stairs and putting our own eyes out. 🙂
Have loved the Nutcracker since I first saw it on TV as a child. The first time I saw a live performance of it I was a lot like you……in total awe.
I am happy to report I have introduced many young children to this magnificent music and delightful dream fantasy from my youngest niece – now an adult with a child of her own – and many first grade classes I taught. And yes! My first graders loved the show and music too.
Because of you though, I now have a dilemma. Which do I like best?? The Nutcracker or eggs in mushrooms which I MUST try soon.
Hotly Spiced says
I wouldn’t mind some of your mother’s genes! I love the Nutcracker too. It’s a most beautiful ballet. It was on at the Opera House for the month of December. When we had the Sydney siege, the performance for that night had to be cancelled. Outrageous that one vile individual could cause that much grief. Anyway, I loved your story of how you were a ballerina and how much you wanted to be a professional ballerina. Your John is so thoughtful and gives you great gifts – I would certainly love to be at that course with you xx
Veronica (Roni) says
Oh what a brilliant gift! Well done John….
Wish I was with you too :))
I think your writing & your stories are already gorgeous, But I understand your joy at this gift.
Top work all round lovely people.
Happy New Year!
Lizzy (Good Things) says
I’ve never seen The Nutcracker, Maureen… sounds like it’s your favourite though. The course sounds great fun… enjoy
Abbe @ This is How I Cook says
Oh Maureen. you would have been a fabulous ballerina. And you already are a fabulous writer. And you make fabulous eggs and mushrooms.
I would have been the best, I just know it. 🙂
Rachel (Rachel's Kitchen NZ) says
Oh, what a lovey story Maureen and what a lovely Christmas gift – I am sure you will tell us all about it – please!
InTolerant Chef says
You should start your own dance company Maureen, one for all the now -grown -up -frustrated -little -wanna -be -ballerinas out there. You could call it Booberinas instead perhaps?
Your recipe sounds lovely and just right for an easy, delicious holiday breakfast. Have fun at your class sweetie!
OMG a new career!!
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says
Oh those dreams crushed! I can imagine how cross you were for those weeks. Something that you couldn’t help but in the way of your dreams! What a perfect name for that course too. I can’t wait to see what you think of it. And the eggs in mushrooms? Genius!
The course is listed as 25% writing, 25% inspiration, 25% stand-up comedy and 25% food. Who’d need anything more? 🙂
Oh to be a fly on the wall with two straight shooters like you and Catherine in a room together. I can’t imagine a more perfect present. Brilliant idea for a quick breakfast for the masses too.
When I told my family that I wanted to be a ballerina, they said, “Sure, Grace.” Deflated, I turned to tap lessons instead, and can still “tap-ball chain, tap ball chain, tow heel, toe heel”, not that it would serve my next goal any better: I decided that I would be a cab driver, because they got to drive. Made perfect sense to me, but never comforted my mother any more than becoming a writer ever did. May you have a BLAST in your writing class, Mau’, and then come back and teach me a few things. Love you!
I always love nutcracker and we danced it with my sister when we were little! Ha!
But thinking now Im sure I dont born to be a dancer lol
Mom put us in ballet classes maybe was the time I dont know but after some years I said Idont want go more! Omy my mom and dad weren’t happy by a time:)
I love this egg:)
I remember when I was a kid, I took ballet classes. Until the girl beside me kept peeing herself and it somehow always dribbled down the floor to where I was. I just couldn’t handle it.
But that sounds like an amazing gift from John! (My John gave me a rice cooker. An equally thoughtful gift for me). But somehow you don’t come off as a frustrated writer..
OMG that’s the funniest story ever. I think if that happened to me I wouldn’t have wanted to dance either. I’m not a frustrated writer, just a writer who wants to be a better writer. 🙂
Tania @My Kitchen Stories says
Your Mother surely was correct about your genes. how did she know you weren’t gunna get your Fathers genes?. I do love those Mushrooms. That is certainly something I have never thought of doing. I can assue you I am gjealous of your course. You are already a natural writer so watch out world!
There were no flat chested women on my father’s side either. 🙁
Eva Taylor says
My BFF takes her family and a stray every year to see the Nutcracker and one year I was the fortunate stray! It was held in our new Opera house and it was beautiful and mesmerizing. You’ve reminded me to check the last minute seat sales.
What a great gift, not that you need it. Your ‘as matter of fact’, straight to the punch line writing works for me and I’ve always enjoyed every letter you’ve scribed.
I’m gunna make these eggs…they look delicious! Your class sounds fab and John is such a sweetie for giving you such a thoughtful gift. He’s definitely a keeper. 🙂
I love the Nutcracker, too — love the Russian dance and Arabian dance. The eggs in a mushroom is such a creative idea — can’t wait to try it out! Hope you have a wonderful New Year 🙂
What a wonderful story. I absolutely loved the Nutcracker when I was little, and I remember that my dad took me to see it at The Shrine Auditorium here in Los Angeles when I was quite young. I was bowled over, and of course, danced with renewed vigor and commitment at my next ballet lesson.
I love your idea of an egg in a mushroom., That is sheer genius!
All the best to you and yours for a terrific 2015!
That was such a cute story!!! I was so sad when I read that you couldn’t be a famous ballet dancer! Not okay!! I would’ve watched you regardless of your boobage 😛
I didn’t know you grew up in Maine by the way! New England represent 🙂
Wasn’t the Nutcracker fantastic? P.S. I hope your brother thinks differently about ballet now 😛
This is such a clever idea! Sounds so hearty and delicious.
Nagi@RecipeTin Eats says
Frustrated writer?? I never would have guessed. Your writing made me give up gossip mags. I come here for my daily wind down with a cup of tea (or wine as the case is today – yes, it is only 2pm, but it’s HOLIDAYS!). I have never seen the nutcracker. However, I HAVE made eggs baked in mushrooms very recently! I even shared it on my blog. We have similar tastes 🙂
I am amazed at how much you have been cooking and your generosity to the “olds” inspires me.
Nah, I’m not a frustrated writer. Anyone who reads what I write knows I’m not frustrated. I write what comes into my head. The course is labeled as being for those frustrated writers. 🙂
Mrs Mulberry says
Maureen, those eggy-mushroom treats are just brilliant – I’ve never seen them before!! I hope you enjoy your Christmas pressie, it sounds just perfect : )
Anna (Hidden Ponies) says
Ooh, what a fun Christmas present! I love your writing, but I’m sure there’s always something to learn, and with a few laughs sounds like the way to do it! I’ve never seen eggs done like this, what a neat idea.
Hi Maureen, I love the Nutcracker too (and your breakfast idea).
Merryn Galluccio says
I bet you adored that nutcracker rendition and it is interesting how parents always cut to the chase, but as long as you still like dancing Maureen. How you will enjoy this writing workshop, I hope you share your observations with us. Fantastic mushroom and egg breakfast, no I have never thought to do this, very inspirational. Happy New Year to You, John and your family 😀
Now. Somebody will have to get up earlier to prepare this breakfast for me. It’s either him. Or me. I’ll kick him out of bed!
Taste of Beirut says
Nice story! Thanks for sharing it! I’m not a big fan of eggs in the morning but this would be a great way to eat them for lunch!
Emma @ Bake Then Eat says
What a great Christmas present to get I bet its loads of fun and you’ll pick up loads of tips which I hop you share with us. Great quick breakfast treat too 😀
myriam / rhubarb! rhubarb! rhubarb! says
we love eggs and we really love mushrooms, so these sound wonderful! i can’t believe i’ve never thought of this before…but that’s what food blogs are for, right?
Sugar et al. says
I can’t wait to read the blog posts you write post attending the Masterclass because seriously I think your writing skills are super perfect already. Baked eggs in mushrooms…what a fab idea! I Off to get mushrooms..I am making this delicious dish for breakfast tomorrow.
aww thanks 🙂
Wendi Spraker says
Eggs Baked in Mushrooms?? What a DELIGHTFUL looking dish! I bet it is DELICIOUS too! We love the Nutcracker at our house too. 🙂 Awesome photos!
Laura (Tutti Dolci) says
I love stuffed mushrooms so these are simply genius! I’m so excited for you and your Masterclass, can’t wait to hear all about it :).
Kate @ Babaganosh.org says
Haha I also remember that crushing moment when I realized that I would never be a ballerina. But it was also a relief because as a kid I was told that ballerinas NEVER eat dessert, not even a lick of ice cream or a tiny bit of cake… and that life didn’t sound fun to me.
Eggs baked in mushrooms are awesome! I thought I’ve already baked eggs in everything imaginable, but nope, I haven’t baked them in mushrooms yet!
Nobody told me about no dessert! That settles it then, I’m not coming back in my next life as a ballerina!
I love baked eggs and have made them in mushrooms once before with a sliver of tomato on top too – yum!