After months of living alone to my own rhythms, I have been re-adjusting to moving through the days with another again. Molly and I are very compatible it seems, and I am appreciating her appreciation of being home in a home that feels good and natural to her. In particular, we are enjoying sharing time in the kitchen, and this ranges from her coming down in the morning to find coffee ready for her in the big espresso pot to her quietly bringing me a bowl of freshly made guacamole with rice cakes while I am working feverishly on a deadline. It’s nice ebbing and flowing this way.
The other night Molly and her friend Gracie were inspired to go out and buy food to create a feast for themselves. They came back from Whole Foods with the makings for Thai peanut noodles with loads of fresh vegetable toppings. After listening to happy noises coming from the kitchen, they emerged with gorgeous plates of food and headed out to the porch. Initially just an admiring observer in this scene, I quickly snapped a photo of these two goddesses
and then was delighted to be invited to sit and share in their abundance.
It is particularly sweet to feel how significantly this way of appreciating food and the life that surrounds it has passed on to this next generation. Molly is openly attentive and curious about what goes into what and how something gets made these days. She’s upstairs now and I’ve just made a big chopped salad for our supper and decide to make some homemade dressing for it. This is inspired by watching Molly make her own dressing ever since she’s been home. I know she learned the basics from me at some point, but she has clearly made it a ritual of her own, and I’m aware now of how this has now flowed back to me. I finely mince a clove of fresh garlic and mix it with the juice of a half of a fresh lemon in a deep bowl. The art of adding olive oil is always the next step. I find the good stuff, one of the bottles that arrives every few months from California as a gift from my brother and his wife, also both serious cooks. The art is in the combination of quantity and quality here and is at best the work of a moment. Add about double the amount of lemon juice to start, knowing I will be adjusting in a moment. Then consider the vinegar choices this evening. The white balsamic that Molly brought home with her is almost gone, just about a teaspoon left, so I finish that and add a few liberal pours of rice wine vinegar too. And a splash of cider vinegar too. Then fish out the ‘chablis mustard’ from the fridge and add a heaping teaspoon of that too. Some salt & pepper. Go searching for the dried basil that is not where is usually is, but I know this is what is next so persevere and finally find it in an unlikely place on the windowsill above the sink. I take the top off to give a few shakes through the perforated plastic fitting and poof, before I notice that the plastic fitting is gone, deposit a huge amount of the herb into the mixture. Much more than I normally use. And instead of fishing out what I think is extra, simply go get the whisk and whip it all together. It’s surprisingly wonderful! I don’t even need to adjust the olive oil this time, and I’m amazed at how beautifully even the abundance of basil here is sharing space with the rest of the ingredients.
I leave everything on the counter, the bowl of chopped things, fresh lettuce, cucumbers, radishes, carrots, red pepper, and garbanzo beans, the open jar of raw sunflower seeds, a pile of freshly chopped hard-boiled eggs, and the bowl of dressing. We each make our own salad
and it isn’t long before Molly calls out, “Mom, what is in this dressing!” She likes it, smile.
I go off to my meeting and leave clean up for her. And then this morning, open the refrigerator to find the leftovers put away in such a simple and efficient way
There is something so essentially creative and joyful about storing the remnants of this meal this way, it certainly has brought a smile to my face this morning, and then realize how easy it is to forget abundance stored away in a plastic container…