A bowl of strawberries, some of the first I’ve seen this year from central California, near where I grew up. Rinsed, sliced, and sugared, they are waiting for challah french toast tomorrow morning. I have been thinking about this since Thursday when the challah came home and I declared, to everyone’s confusion, that we were not allowed to eat it.
The weather has been kind of confusing, so recently we’ve had slow-cooker beef stew and fish tacos and both seem seasonally appropriate. I want the sun. I want to grill four nights a week and eat outside without a sweater and take walks after supper for ice cream. I am dreaming; it’s okay to dream.
We have been sick, all three of us. Colds and stomach flus, fevers, sleeplessness and one truly stunning rash. A new tamal-vendor has started coming around on Friday afternoons — five for five dollars, still warm. The pork come in Taco Bell bags, the chicken come in THANK YOU bags. I eat them for lunch on days my stomach is up for company. There’s a stockpile in the freezer, too.
And lentil soup came in bulk from Nicholas, one day when it was the only thing I could bear to even think about eating. When the latest issue of Cook’s Illustrated came, I vowed to try their naan recipe, eat it with what’s left of the soup, and cackle at my good fortune for loving soup and bread. The soup is stashed in the freezer, suspended and waiting. Soup is patient.
Finch’s appetite is coming back and I’m grateful. When she turned down a piece of chocolate last week, I damn near took her to the Emergency Room, fearing the fever or the rash or some unseen pathogen had wrecked the pleasure centers of her brain. For a few days all she ate were Multigrain Cheerios and these disappointing chocolate-and-peanut butter cookie’s I’d made. Tonight she gobbled down her plate of salmon and then had snap peas for her bedtime snack. She asked for a refill of peas twice. My kid is coming back. Exhale.
I’ve got such big plans, Diary, for whenever life evens out again. B and I promised today and help each other try new recipes to shake up our culinary repertoires. We figure if we can be accountable to someone, we can stay motivated, so we’ve decided to be accountable to each other. Weeknight cookery has been feeling stale lately, and definitely uninspired on my part. When my loftiest goal is to not be hungry anymore and just make it to bedtime, the red flags — all of them — rise. I hope this experiment yields some new dishes for my kit. My family deserves to eat interesting, thoughtfully-constructed food. That they like.
I want to bake our bread. The Excalibur food dehydrator is here and definitely big enough to proof a loaf. All I need are some good recipes to start. Bread baking will come back to me, I’m sure of it. It’s what my hands remember (that was so very long ago, wasn’t it?). I have piles of recipes, gorgeous cookbooks — yet I only ever bake the same loaf of bread at home, a honey wheat. It’s nearly perfect. Let it never be said I am comittment-phobic.
Along those lines, I made yogurt two weeks ago, but I sort of freaked me out and I tossed it after only trying it once. I have an uneasy relationship with yogurt as it is, maybe I don’t have to make everything at home, even if I can.
So tomorrow, the challah and the strawberries. And we’re having Finch’s first Easter Egg Hunt a week late because that’s just sort of how it’s been going around here. And then a new week. The only thing I know for sure is we’ll get another batch of tamales on Friday. The rest will just have to be surprise.