Sunday, February 14, 2010

Lucky 13

Sun streams in through the barn windows and sets our favorite Christmas present - a solar powered, mechanized prism- spinning. It fills the kitchen with rainbows of varying sizes, wandering the walls and ceiling. I crack the eggs into the flour mixture on the food processor, admiring the bright orange color of the yolks, thankful for the millionth time this week that the hens have resuming laying. I whip the cream. Hunter is trying very hard not to eat all of the bacon before we sit down. You have three pans going on the stove, and Emmett is ladelling out batter for you to swirl and then flip to crepey perfection.
At the crepe table, personal preference is sacred. So I do not comment on the amount of cinnamon sugar, or the lack of fruit on anyone's plate, or the current trend toward rolling bacon up in the crepe (shudder). I experience the contrast of tart kiwi against syrupy sweet strawberry. I float away on a whipped cream cloud, in a rich, buttery ocean of deliciousness.
Then one of the spinning rainbows settles for a moment on Hunter's plate, and he alerts us all: "Look! I have magic bacon!!" Just as quickly, it is gone, and we train our eyes on the dancing rainbows. "Magic crepe! Magic kiwi! Magic Mama!!" Maybe it's the sugar high, or the sun-kissed disco quality the room has taken on, but we collapse in a fit of giggles, my heart bursting with appreciating for this very moment.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

It's not just the onions

There are days when I just have to make soup.
Raw, gray, bad news days when nothing is fun. No one is friendly. I just can't get warm. Can't stop thinking those same old thoughts. Sometimes a piece of chocolate will do it. Or a second cup of coffee. But there are days when nothing but soup will do.
As I prepare my ingredients, the sharp onioniness prick my eyes and makes them tear. I am thankful for the excuse and let a few more of its friends follow. Did you know that mincing garlic and chopping kale also make you cry? That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.
It's funny how even the cooking of comfort food is a comfort. The focus shifts off of the self, and onto the meal. Deciding between linguica and chicken sausage (I chose both), hunting for kale bugs, not cutting off a fingertip. The act of making a meal for my family starts to make up for the rotten way I treat them when the going gets tough. And there is an element of self preservation involved when cooking on the professional stove that is incompatible with those old feelings of self-loathing.
There is a moment, when the onions start to turn golden and dance in the pan, when I feel the faintest tug of a smile at the corners of my down turned mouth. And then, inhaling the aromas, a flood of relief as the windows fog up with soup steam.
The air is thick with comfort, such a relief from the raw dampness that seeps into the center of your being this dismal time of year. I don't mean to sound so dramatic. I really don't. And I try not to take myself so seriously. But sometimes, shit happens, and I react. Sometimes I hear bad news and am sucked into a downward spiral from which I am temporarily unable to extract myself. I'm not proud. but I'm human. And it happens. I suppose the trick is to allow myself to be sad, attempt as best I can to not let it mutate into general grouchiness towards those I love, and then remain humble enough to be thankful when it is over, and the real me emerges, optimistic once again.
The thing is, the best is yet to come. Sometimes you can make your soup, and eat it, too.