I’ve always understood the meaning of the phrase, “A face only a mother could love.” It refers to a face that is so unappealing that no one could actually love and appreciate its "beauty" except for the woman who had suffered through nine months of fermenting said face in her womb and had spent 20-plus hours in excruciatingly painful labor expelling the hideous monstrosity out of her body. She is the only one who could love the frankenface to whom she gave birth because, well, she has to, right?
My brain registers the meaning of the phrase. However, I've always had a bit of a two-part problem with the saying. I couldn't grasp the its derivation because I could not believe that this concept could be possible -- not that someone could be that ugly (because Honey, I have seen people who are that ugly), but that someone could be that ugly and his mother wouldn't notice. Really? If a child is just unequivocally ugly, his appearance universally accepted as unattractive, would his mother ignore scarring, discoloration, repulsive disfigurement and/or strange genetic facial features like oversized fiveheads and really find her child…beautiful? And I don’t mean “beautiful on the inside” -- because yes, everyone is "beautiful on the inside." I mean beautiful on the outside. Physical appearance. Skin-deep. Totally shallow and wholly superficial. A mother could look down into the crib, gaze upon her freakdemonfaced child and honestly say that he's cute?
Please. If someone is just horribly unattractive, he’s just horribly unattractive and I don't care how Theresa of a mother you are, you can't -- pardon the double non-positive -- not see that.
Which brings me to the second part of my two-part problem with the phrase that makes sense, but doesn't. Despite my solid reasoning that there is no possible way that a mother could realistically ignore The Ugly in her child, real-life examples have proven the opposite conclusion (which might indicate that I'm wrong, but I'm never wrong). Now, I don't mean to hate on peoples' ugly children, but some of the babies are just not cute. Yet, their parents must not see it. Their parents think they are adorable. Why else would parents dress their baby in cute clothes, as if a frilly little onesie is going to make the little monster look...cute? Why else would the parents take an entire camera battery's worth of digital photos of their weird-looking baby and send all 94 of those uncropped, un-resized jpgs in a single email to their entire address book? Better yet, they throw those images up on Flickr with a public setting. That means they think their baby is cute enough for the entire interweb to see. How do the parents of an indisputably ugly child do that?
The babies coo. They laugh. They smile. Hey, they have great little baby personalities, but you know what they say about "a great personality?"
You guessed it.
It comes with a face only a mother could love.
I was back where I started. I just didn't get it.
Until I realized that I was focusing on the wrong thing. In fact, I had completely missed the point. It’s not a question of whether your baby is cute or ugly. It's not a question of whether you think your baby is cute or ugly. It's not a question of whether your ice cream is interesting or vanilla. The whole point is that it's your baby and that's why you love it. You love it because you made it. Even if you used to turn up your nose at such a pedestrian flavor that you wondered how it could be called "flavor," even if it tastes worse than the cheapest generic store brand that comes in a plastic tub with a handle, even if every other food blogger out there worth her weight in heavy cream ridicules the vanilla result of your virginal wedding night with your very first ice cream maker, you love your vanilla ice cream.
I love my vanilla ice cream.
Vanilla Ice Cream Only a Blogger Could Love
This is the recipe from the small booklet that came with the Cuisinart ICE BC30 Pure Indulgence Ice Cream Maker I received as a birthday gift. It's nothing special. The recipe, that is. The ice cream I *made* was totally special.
Stir 1 c. sugar with 1½ c. whole milk until the sugar dissolves. Add 3 c. heavy cream and 1½ Tbsp. pure vanilla extract.
Spin the mixture for 20-25 minutes in the ice cream maker. Transfer to an airtight, freezer-safe container and let harden for at least an hour. Of course, instructions for freezing vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.