Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Budding Chef

     I was in the greengrocer section of the market today when I noticed a little boy of five or six shopping with his mother. He put his face in the produce in order to smell it as he walked along: lettuce, cilantro, parsley, dill, celery... "Mommy, this stuff smells yummy!" he exclaimed with delight. It gave me such a lift to hear him say it. I saw the boy’s mother in the parking lot as I was putting my cart away and mentioned it to her. She said they grow herbs at home, and he likes to smell them too. When I observed that he might grow into a fine cook someday, she told me that he already loves to help in the kitchen.

Jamie Oliver

I may have just met a budding Jamie Oliver.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Tying the Knot

     An older British gentleman, my husband's acquaintance, came to see us one evening several years ago. After dinner, when I asked him if he would like a cup of tea with dessert, he hesitated. I understand that Americans have a dreadful reputation in England for making tea so I described how I would prepare it for him. He acquiesced. Then I made a cup for myself. I used to be too impatient to wait for the tea to cool so that it wouldn’t burn my tongue—fancy that, an impatient American—and I put an ice cube in it. I thought it might amuse our guest to see my little idiosyncrasy, so I showed it to him.

     He was more than amused. He pulled a white handkerchief from his pocket, chuckling, and tied a knot in it to remind himself to write about the incident in his journal when he returned to his hotel. Apparently, he kept a record of all the oddball things Americans do to share with his cronies back home.

     I was absurdly pleased to have made the list.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Alas, Poor Yorick!

     I dreamed the other night that I was trodding the boards in a local theater production of Macbeth, and landed the leading role as Hamlet, Prince of Denmark! I stumbled over my lines at the beginning of the first act but ended eloquently enough to garner the admiration of my fellow actors. Then came Intermission. Among the admirers crowded around the conference table in the break room was Johnny Depp. He was so impressed with my performance that he asked to read lines with me.

     Fortunately for me the intermission was a long one—several hours long; I couldn't remember any of my lines for the upcoming acts, I couldn't even remember rehearsing them. I was basking in borrowed glory. Thankfully, I awoke from my dream before the intermission was over with the phrase "Alas, poor Yorick!" on my mind, and only a vague uneasiness about the forgotten lines.

     They say everyone has their 15 minutes of fame. I think that was it for me. You might say it doesn't count because I dreamed it, but isn't fame as immaterial and illusive as dreams? It seems rather fitting, then, that my 15 minutes were something conjured by my subconscious.

We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with a sleep.
                                                                   ~ The Tempest ~

Painting by Pascal Adolphe Jean Dagnan-Bouveret

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Blah Blah Blogging - What I Ate for Lunch on Thursday

     On Thursday morning, as I was making the bed, the telephone rang. Lo and behold, it was the Townhouse CafĂ© calling to say their chef was making cream of celery and apple soup that day! Four months earlier I had put my name on a list for cream of celery and apple soup fans. At last the anticipated day had arrived. I was told that if I couldn’t make it in that day, I could still have some of the specialty soup on Friday even though it wouldn’t be on the menu. For a moment I was conflicted: Should I go eat soup with the vulgar herd on Thursday, or wait and sup with the privileged few on the following day? I decided to shove vanity aside and go for the sure thing. He who hesitates could end up soupless.

     I find it intriguing that so many folks in the blogosphere want to show me photos of what they have eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Now here I am sharing my lunch with you. Sort of. You don't get to taste it; you just get to see how pretty it was and imagine how good it might have tasted. I can't even give you the recipe because I don't have it myself. All I can tell you is that it had celery, apples, garlic, cream and white wine in it and that it was lip-smacking delicious–I would have wiped the empty cup with my fingers and licked them if there had been no one to see me do it. I paired my serving of soup with an apricot chicken salad sandwich and terra chips made from root vegetables. Perfect. I'm not a soup sommelier, but I am beginning to feel like one. And I am convinced that if you cannot sit across the table slurping a cup with me, you will still enjoy my cream of celery and apple soup vicariously by looking at my photos and reading about it.

     After all, as it says in my by-line, "a pleasure shared is a pleasure multiplied..."

     Or is it?

     You may find this all so blah blah blasĂ©, jaded by the plethora of food posts in the blogosphere. You may be critiquing the quality of the photo my daughter took with her phone or my blog format. You may even feel slighted that I didn't invite you to lunch. On the other hand, you may feel so inspired by my zest for cream of celery and apple soup and my description of it that you run to the grocers, buy the ingredients I've mentioned and figure out how to make it yourself. If you do, could you send me a photo and the recipe?

     And I am not really sharing my lunch with you, am I? I'm sharing an experience. To those of you who are passionate about food, that could be just as interesting as the time I was kidnapped by pirates and returned home wearing an eye-patch. Arrrgh!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Queen Anne's Lace

It is that time of summer when the waysides are tangled with some of my favorite wildflowers. I am distracted by them. I slow traffic and nearly drive off the road into ditches. In my humble opinion, no formal gardens can outshine these weedy wonders.

Portrait by a Neighbor
Queen Anne's lace

Before she has her floor swept

Or her dishes done,
Any day you’ll find her

A-sunning in the sun!

It’s long after midnight

Her key’s in the lock,

And you never see her chimney smoke

Till past ten o’clock!

She digs in her garden

With a shovel and a spoon,
She weeds her lazy lettuce

By the light of the moon.

She walks up the walk

Like a woman in a dream,

She forgets she borrowed butter

And pays you back cream!

Her lawn looks like a meadow,
And if she mows the place,
She leaves the clover standing

And the Queen Anne’s lace!

~ Edna St. Vincent Millay ~

Someone Nibbish
blue-eyed chicory and Queen Anne's lace

She sweeps in her pajamas
Writes stories while in bed
Eats apple pie for breakfast
Before the household’s fed!

The sun is shining brightly,
She lingers in the house,
But when the rain is falling
She skips out for a douse!

When you stop to borrow sugar
She invites you in for tea,
Serves tasty little nibbles
Then chatters endlessly…

Smiles mildly at the roses
You brought her for the vase
Then swoons at blue-eyed chicory
And at the Queen Anne’s lace!

~ Nib of Nib's End ~