I am not sure if it is right or wrong that I cook for Ferdinand every night. I don’t care. I love to cook for him. I love getting the message every night asking me if we are going to have dinner. I love hearing his feet on the stairs. I love listening to him talk. I love how he says, “that was really good, Mom, thank you.” Then he bends down to hug me. It feels like seeing the whales or snow falling all around in you in a pine forest.
I remember once when Ferdinand was two, we were on a ferry and my mother was sitting next to me. I was kissing Ferdinand’s cheek and he was kissing mine and we were laughing and my mother said, “that is enough of that.” My mother was not a disciple of kissing and laughing. And if she went to church, you went to church. If she believed, you believed.
In the time it took for me to turn my head from my baby’s cheek to my mother’s eye, something ate my acquiescence. Then it took infinite root like a loose, stubborn weed that grows into a tree from soil that has forever refused to grow you what you want. I turned to her as quiet as the snow and as sure as the sea and said, “you had your babies. Ferdinand is mine.” Right or wrong.
Last week I rolled out tortellini and stuffed them with roasted butternut squash and dressed them with browned butter. I made teeny tiny gnocchi with ragu. Kichri with yellow lentils and rice. A hamburger from ground meat that I get at my favorite butcher down at Essex street market with a side of broiled Yukon golds and another side of garlicky broccoli. Soup of sweet potato, carrot and ginger with a side of a frittata with red peppers and onions. Chicken cutlets with lime and thyme. Side of leftover kichri. Chicken cutlets with panko, chiles, garlic and rosemary. Side of mashed and string beans. Bowls of broth. Bowls of carrot sticks and fennel slivers and cucumber spears. Apples, pears and clementines.