Monday, September 24, 2007

Three Meals

Pumpkin bread with thick honey, black tea. The sun is rising behind the oak tree in the back yard. Quiet.

Leftover tomato pie at the picnic table in the shade of the maple tree. Laughing with farmers under the blue sky on the edge of the field of flowers. Amaranth, Mexican sunflower, ageratum, marigold, celosia. Onions cooked a long, long time. Tomatoes simmered down to a thick red pulp with fresh basil, salt and pepper, parsley, garlic. Parmesan and mozzarella. Baked golden and steaming in a pie crust made with butter, flour, water and salt. A small breeze and the sun through the leaves. The table dappled now with sunlight, now with shadow. Empire apples and honey. Cold water.

Frittata with lots of good stuff: onions, garlic, red and yellow peppers, chard, sweet corn, basil. Roasted red and white potatoes with garlic, olive oil and a pinch of tarragon. The raw red potatoes blush pink and darken to purple when they’re cooked. The kitchen smells like basil and corn. We open a bottle of Spanish red. We make the first fall salad of the year: dark leaves of spinach, harvested an hour earlier, sliced apples, New York cheddar cheese, toasted pecans. The sun gets lower and lower in the sky. It’s gone when I pull the frittata out of the oven. We sit at the table and eat and talk. The two most basic things. For dessert: apple pie and homemade cinnamon ice cream. Ginger tea. The pie is warm and full of apples and tastes like fall melting in your mouth.

This is as much as I can fill myself with every day. This is as much as I can take from the world. This is what I want to give away: the feeling that spreads through your body as you take a bite of hot apple pie or earthen green spinach and sharp cheese. It starts on your tongue and flows down your throat and into your gut and winds around your heart and enters your bloodstream. I don’t know all the answers, but I know that a day full of pumpkin bread and apples and roasted potatoes is the first half of a prayer. Something happens to us when we eat good food. Something opens up in us, something softens. I don’t have all the answers, but I am going to start with this: fall is brewing in the hard skies and the dark mornings. My house will be full of gingerbread and leeks, thick potato soup and apple-cheddar omelets, pumpkin pies and maple cookies and long-cooked onions, always. My house will be full of sustenance and my doors will be open.

May wonder and gratitude bless all our bread.

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