Blue? Quotes from Ferd.

When Ferd was 4, he said to me:

“Hare you go, Pirate Pete..this should make you feel better.”

He offered me his treasure chest. 

I thought I was the fairy princess and instead, I am Pirate Pete.

Either way, I love panna cotta.

Panna cotta

Bring 2 cups of heavy cream to the simmer with 1/2 a vanilla bean.  Add 1/4 cup sugar, and combine.  Stir until the sugar melts.  Don’t let the cream come to a boil.  In a separate bowl, combine 1 3/4 teaspoons of gelatin powder with 3 Tablespoons of cold water.  Make it this way first. If you would like it to be looser next time, try using 1 1/2 teaspoons of gelatin instead. Stir to dissolve.  Combine the gelatin mixture with the cream.  Pour into 4 to 6 slightly greased custard cups and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  Serve with pan roasted figs and honey.

I know it’s not cherry season

I like to buy what I need.

I was in the fruit aisle 

and the only thing that moved me

they didn’t move me really,

they just didn’t make me want to puke

were the cherries.

Because I am where I was again.

So I asked the guy

Is it okay if I buy like 3 or 4 cherries

He didn’t even look up

He said, go back to bed.

and so

when I woke up this morning I didn’t say a word until I saw the sun come up from behind the broken wall at the back of the garden behind the fig tree that after a long dry spell has begun to bear fruit. One fruit. Enough. Enough to show there is something in there.

I put the music on.

I said, “C’mon everybody, (that’s me) let’s clap.” My signal to move.

To get up.

I thought about hake with clams from the Spanish-French border. My sister wrote to tell me she had her DNA done. Cells from this border are apparently swimming in my blood stream.

Rinse your clams.

Rinse the bones and head of a hake body and bring it to a simmer with a bay leaf, a parsley sprig, and a spill of olive oil. Keep it going for about a half hour. In a heavy frying pan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter and add 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Add 3 small cloves of finely minced garlic and 1 teaspoon flat leaf parsley and quietly give the garlic a hint of color. Add 1 level tablespoon of flour and whisk until the flour tastes like freshly baked shortbread. Pour in half a cup of a good sharp white wine. Simmer. Add a few ladlefuls of skimmed fish broth. Reduce for 2 minutes. Add 4 hake filets and very gently simmer, almost like the pan is holding its breath, for about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the fillets. Add the clams, tiny as you can find them, and cover without every leaving what is happening until the clams pop. Serve with the best bread you can get your hands on.

1.

don’t bother looking for me

I have filled in the cracks

you might see an ear or an eyeball

that looks familiar

a look that you remember

but that is not me

It is a look alike.

I gave her the script.

menu:
leftover yogurt
an Italian plum
old cake
boiled egg

A Nathan’s hotdog

food is all the same at the moment. I could as much eat a box as an apple.

cooking feels like someone’s punching me in the stomach.

I can’t get my glasses to sit on my nose and sleeping is an exercise in

how to be a hot dog at Nathan’s.

The ones that are kept on rollers and spend their time turning.

On the days that rain

I had a hat on because it was threatening rain early this morning
as I was walking by the river
in a pair of shorts and my green boots
and a sweater
even though it wasn't cold

you don't only wear sweaters because it is cold

I could see up the hill, green, completely green the grass,
the trees that grew above it and below it,
the word

LOVE

suspended in the branches

written in gold ballon letters

I walked towards it with a mission and then I started running
but in my green boots I can never go fast enough.

I was after

something I could keep

A man came along
He must have been the man who had the party 
He untied love first from one branch and then the other
and he carried it to the bench to pack away 
with the rest of his things.

I was too late.

Right from the bottom
Deeper than green boots.


Rules

The truth is,

people who make the rules, who demand you follow the rules, rarely follow them.

And it is tricky, because they may lead you to think they follow them. But just wait until the moment that the rules are no longer convenient.

Wait until circumstances change. Or time passes.

Funny, how that happens. For them.

And so it is that I joined up with a Master Class of a Master Chef, and there he stood: “no pignoli in the kitchen?,” he said. “Use breadcrumbs instead.” Which I have been using like a criminal, all along. “If you don’t have enough basil, throw thyme..mint.” Which had been my secret. “Tradition is useless if you are locked to it,” he said. “Evolution, is what you need to consider.”

I already know that.

I paid all that money.

I have an idea

When my family went on summer vacation, we went for two weeks. We moved from one location–the city–to another location–the country. For a few years my mother went in with her brother, my uncle Ferd, and bought a pick up truck with a camper fixed on top. We drove that around for a while, taking baths in mountain streams that for no logical reason had moving water instead of ice floes. We ate warmish, wettish sandwiches with apples that had been rolling around the mini hallway that measured one foot square, between the door in the back and the bed in the back. Then my mother remembered that she was claustrophobic. Each night we would drive until we found a campground with a parking space for the truck and a lean-to for my mother.
There was a woman at the community sinks who was a tooth brushing olympian. I watched her for a while.  “You are the fastest tooth brusher I have ever seen,” I told her.  “I have never known anyone who could brush their teeth as fast as you.” “It is easy”, she said.
My mother realized that she was also afraid of bears, and a lean-to only has three walls. My parents sold the camper, and for a few years we went to a house in the woods in Vermont. We had sandwiches that were cold the way they were supposed to be because there was a full on fridge. Every once in a while during the vacation we would go for a ride, but most of the time my sisters and I were left to our own. My oldest sister built a chapel out of tree branches and spruce fronds with a friend of hers. It had an altar and seating. My little sister and I were impressed.  We kept to low lying construction. We built villages for ants from moss and twigs. We walked for miles with a packed lunch to see how far we could walk and when we got there, if there was water, we fished with a stick.  We caught nothing. We watched beavers build a damn, and water bugs walk like Jesus across the world’s smallest swimming hole. When we were hungry my mother would say, “there is a cookbook. Cook.” I made apple crisp and grilled cheese sandwiches over and over, day after day. We read. I did my hair. We practiced walking without shoes.  We were always walking, just never after dark. We didn’t have a curfew; I was afraid of the dark.
By the time we were 14 and 16, I weighed 126 pounds, but I could have taken someone down at the knees just by looking at them, so no one ever looked at us.  That was my theory. It was like robbing a house.  If a house is well lit and locked up, it is harder to break into; you try the next one.  If a girl looks like she might kill you if you talk to her or the sister, you move on to see who else there is.  My first two survival skills:  how to occupy my time on a dime and how to give an old man a look that will make him wish he forgot to put his teeth in.  I have carried them in my pocket all these years like money.

I got an idea for a virtual cooking class.  It live streams with a friend of mine and guide on the ground in Italy.  I cook, he walks through a village and tells us everything.  It is called Dimmi Tutto.  Tell me Everything.  Ha.  On the menu for Fossombrone:  Cherry Divine.  I made it up.  There is a wine from Le Marche from the smallest DOCG in Italy, called Vernaccia di Serrapetrona, a sparkling dry red, mentioned in Dante’s Divine Comedy. No way we are going to find that, so I reduce a little red wine with sugar and a piece of lemon peel until it is the consistency of Karo syrup and then off the heat, I perforate a few cherries with a fork and throw those in there.  Pour a thumb of prosecco in a glass, and then drizzle in to make fake Vernaccia.  Drop in a cherry.  We move on to crescione, a version of piadina. We stuff it with serious sausage and black cabbage and finish with cantucci with dried cherries, pistachios and if we feel like it, shards of dark chocolate.

Love

I am white. And just because I may love people for who they are, including the beauty of their black, brown and golden skin and all that that is, some of which I know, and most of which I will never know, I cannot understand. Because I am white.

Just because I grew up in a predominantly black school and black church, with 3 other old white ladies aside from my family in the congregation, and just because my mother didn’t have “a black friend”, but black family, a part of my life as much as my own mother, father, sisters and grandmother, I don’t pretend to understand the suffering of what it is to go through what people of color are going through in this country. Again.

Just because I would pray when I went to sleep that my skin would be a glowing chocolate brown in the morning, and when I played dolls with my friend Kelie I would wear a bath towel on my head, pretending to be a black girl pretending to be a white girl, or would rub vaseline into my white girl’s hair, it doesn’t magically carry me any closer to what it is to walk through this world as someone who is not white. I cannot. Because I am white.

As a child, when I witnessed with my own eyes and ears the leaden drag of dirty looks and fearful glances of white people in the presence of black people and the sick words of subcutaneous hate dressed up in “there is nobody black in the room at the moment-who is it going to hurt?,” I would go silent. Not because I didn’t want to cause a fuss, but because it made me sick. It left me mute. I couldn’t make sense of the history of white people; I couldn’t make sense of how white people knew that history and continued it, moved it forward, kept it going.

Forever after, I have spoken up in the face of prejudice that was evident, every single time. Always. As uncomfortable as it may have made people, as impolite in the company present as it may have been. I could have given a fat rat’s ass. Because you can talk about how important it is take things in their own good time, how important it is to talk about racism in the “right” way, how important it is to respect someone else’s space, someone else’s home that you may have been invited to, and I say: it has always been too late for that. The job of a human is to stand up for another human. That is what the white world has got to reckon with. We are all human. The only reason to keep someone separate is because I don’t think they are equal. They are not as deserving as I, they are not as special as I, they are not as white as I am.

There are so many other times when I wasn’t aware, when I had no idea, when I myself was the cause of pain, when I could have, should have spoken up, should have known, and did not.
This is not my moment to suffer or know what the right words are or pretend that everything will be all right and that we are going to walk off into a sunset, everybody holding hands and singing kumbaya.

Now is my moment to continue to stand up for, defend, protect, and stand back. The lead will be taken by those who have suffered enough from being told what to do and educated about what is best for them and encouraged to be patient. If I am sad beyond words and uncomfortable in my skin, so be it. I will be at the ready, with all the love I have ever known and all the hope I have always believed in.