Here at the dining table again, eating leftover potato soup out of my favorite chipped coffee cup from Haslam’s book store. Gave it a shot of Tabasco to liven things up.
Some weeks whirl by faster than others; this seems to be one such week. I try to remember the best moments.
Like yesterday, when I watched Piper devour a bowl of tiny alphabet pasta and ditalini that I prepared for her the same way I used to when she was much younger — with a whisked farm fresh egg stirred through, some olive oil, and a little bit of nutritional yeast for a cheesy Umami flavor (if you eat dairy, you would use butter and Parmesan). The hot pasta cooks the sauce just enough, resulting in a bowl of creamy deliciousness that is similar to a vegetarian Carbonara, but for little ones (normally you would use teeny-tiny pastina, but the meal tastes just as good with whatever bits of soup pasta or broken noodles you have on hand). She ate the entire bowl except for a spoonful, which she was too full to finish. Of course I’m happy to watch her eat with such relish, but beyond that I love that there is this food that we have a history with, that was there to nourish her when she was a toddler, and is here again to nourish her when she comes home tired from a full day of school. It’s reliable, and comforting, and simple.
I’m also grateful for those delicious minutes that I can spend reading a few pages from my book of choice. Lately, this has been The Settler’s Cookbook by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, which is her memoir. She writes about her childhood as an Asian living in East Africa just before Idi Amin came to power. She was then forced to move to the UK, and so her book is not only a cookbook but an important first hand account of what it feels like to be a displaced person, and how food has helped her to hold on to her identity even as she and her family moved from place to place (first from India to Africa, then from Africa to the UK). It’s a lot to take in, especially in 5 minute increments, but her writing and storytelling are compelling, and she does attempt to present East African history during this time period from multiple points of view. There are some grim details on these pages, but Alibhai-Brown also writes with a sense of humor, and so the book is a page turner. The recipes are somewhat involved and specialized, but then they reflect very specifically a particular place and time. I haven’t cooked anything from it yet, but the dahls look tasty, and easy to reproduce at home.
Finally, I’m grateful for the rains which came just as the right time. This past weekend we finally got into our last garden plot and planted several seeds. That afternoon was the first rain, and then another came yesterday. We were at Barnett Park in the morning, relishing in the soft grass and lush gardens, when a gray sky swept in quickly and we heard a clap of thunder. We made it home just in time — though we scurried into the house while some rain fell, we made it safely inside before the rain truly did start to pour. The house was dark, save for a candle we lit all day to remember Bee (it has been 2 years since her passing). There was quiet. Delicious quiet.
Also, before I forget some other highlights — a cat named Chai followed us throughout the neighborhood (she is fond of doing this) until we met up with our neighbors, who lent us Ponyo after we started a conversation about Hayao Miyazaki films. So Piper and I lounged on the bed after dinner and watched the movie with delight over the course of two evenings this week. I love that. The animation is magical, but I’ll write more about my love for his work another time (because I could go on and on).
Now it’s time for some chores, though I am enjoying writing here more often! Thank you, readers, for spending some time with me today and for your kind feedback.
Until the next time –