“Dinner alone is one life’s pleasures.” Laurie Colwin
There’s no thinking. No planning. Few pots and not many dishes. When it’s been a long day, I don’t crave wine. When the office has been full on screaming, I don’t crave chocolate. I don’t necessarily crave time alone or a hot bath. I crave a full bowl of pasta. It has to be long. It has to be al dente. It has to be simple. That means a little oil and salt and pepper. That’s it.
This afternoon I’m alone. So pasta it is.
Winter pediatrics gets very busy this time of year. The coughing is louder and parents are antsy with long waits. You can spend days running between rooms humming with Albuterol treatments. Patients start to blur into each another and I can’t hardly keep the stories straight. This is when my down time gets pretty relaxed. I don’t spend a lot of time organizing the house and tackling big projects. I write and read. I cook a little or at least think about cooking. I read cookbooks like they were novels. Mostly I drool over photos and think about how to get mine like that. I like the dark moody ones. My recent favorite blog is Local Milk
I’m experimenting with texture.
I’m a cookie girl. Cake not so much. I like ‘em crispy most all. This is my dessert go to recipe and I know it by heart. I can text it, write it or call it out as needed. I’m craving new recipes- the kids too I suspect. For now though, I keep the ingredients all on hand and I can whip this up in the time it takes the oven to warm up.
1 cup of Butter Flavored Crisco shortening
1 cup of white sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups all purpose flour
12 oz bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
Mix the first 5 ingredients together until smooth. Don’t over mix! Combine the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl and then add in increments to the creamed sugar mixture. Add the chocolate chips last.
Bake in a 375 degree oven for 8-10 minutes.
She came to me this morning still full of sleepiness and said she wanted to make an omelette. No she didn’t know how to make one but that was ok. I sat there tired-coffee in hand- on the couch listening to her get the ingredients. Pans clinked together and the shuffling of ingredients began. As she started to cut the veggies, I got up. It was a good thing. This quiet girl feels a lot. She came to us crying last night- she said she just realized we’d one day die. And then what would happen? And then what would she do?
I held her. She cried. I reassured and she cried some more. But this morning she woke up wanting to make omelettes. So we made omelettes.
I get it. She wanted to know it was going to be ok. I told her that. But I could feel the underlying question. How do you know? I don’t know. I know that we will wake up and it will be a new day and we will be grateful. If you’re lucky you will be grateful. If you are like most of us, it will be another day and it will get all used up and then we’ll go back to sleep again. Day after day. Groundhog like. But if you are lucky, you’ll listen to the sadness when it comes and speak of it.
I see this in my office. In my friends. In my family. In my children. In me.
Most times a deep intense conversation comes out of nowhere and doesn’t repeat itself anytime soon. You can’t orchestrate it. You can’t plan for the perfect time to share, connect, to feel alive.
But when it happens, you can stop everything and pay attention.
A new year is the best.
A new day is too.
It’s hot bitter coffee, cinnamon rolls and a morning sleepy haze.
It’s a simple bowl of cereal and sweet milk.
A morning meal is best slow and simple. Most days I really just want Grandmom’s toast and peanut butter. She would sit at the table in the mornings with my parents. I’d come out all tired, shuffling over to sit with her. She’d be there with coffee, toast with its thin layer of butter and peanut butter. I’d listen and just be. I think she really just did this every morning during one trip, but it’s the strongest memory I have of her. Now my father does the same. It’s a comforting site.
A New Year is putting to rest all that could have been and planning for a change.
For this year I go for what I feel like. I take risks.
Don’t get caught up in perfection. It’s not worth it. Sure you can make these cinnamon rolls by hand and it would be great fun to get into a labor of love. But these? They’re from the store. Straight from the can. He laughed, twisted and popped them open.
Life’s too short for “Have Tos” and “Wanna Bes”.
It’s time to stretch our wings.
Let’s do this.