I can’t think of a way to start this post that doesn’t sound flippant or trivial and yet I can not begin to fill this place with food again until I’ve acknowledged the heartache and the pain that has flooded our world due to the events last week. Sitting in the reality of those events, food and what I contribute to this world with the table as my medium felt too small, too easy.
I’m suppose to be sharing a recipe today. Talking about our food and showing pretty pictures of it all. But today I just can’t. I’ll return to the food because it’s part of the beauty of life and I want to foster beauty and remind people that in spite of all the hate and ugliness in this world there is also always beauty. But today I can’t. Today I need to do more and not ignore what is happening in our world right now.
The boys are downstairs. There’s clapping, constant whistling cheers and joy. They are playing a video game. Upstairs I’m scraping off last night’s pasta from our plates, scrubbing red sauce off the stove, waiting for my coffee to bubble up and wondering what the hell do I say to my children about the devastation that has happened in the last few days.
Families have been broken. Friends have lost friends. Beds will be empty tonight where a warm body should lay. Children won’t get the snuggles they so desperately want. Two women are suddenly without their partners. A future they knew that included a teammate has been violently taken from them A dad was killed, his son weeps. My boys are downstairs getting riled up about a missed home run by some pixelated ball player.
I want to protect, to shield them from the gross realities of this world. I wonder if they are too young to know how broken this world is? I want them to stay that way. Wouldn’t it be nice for them if their hardest part of the day was that their brother didn’t give up his turn at the game when he was suppose to?
I want to raise children who are sickened by a world who sees people as a color. I want our family to collectively stand for love and to be a loud, clear voice that advocates for that. How do I teach them to not see color, sexual orientation, religion, level of education, gender, age, etc. as a way to define, rate, and judge people when the world teaches them otherwise?
We can do better, we can do more. We get to show them how to love. We get to teach them to fight hate with love. That’s our job and some days it’s just really damn hard but NOTHING compared to what some people’s realities are today.
So today I return to food and while it still feels small it’s always where my heart turns when it doesn’t know what else to do. Friday, when sitting with all the emotions of hopelessness, complete heartache and that ripping feeling you get when you don’t know what to do and you fear you’re not doing enough, I started cooking. I made homemade pizza with ricotta and big spoonfuls of truffle cream I brought back from Italy. There was homemade pasta with chanterelles and cherry tomatoes, farro with zucchini, chicken stuffed with fennel, sausage and peaches and slices of sweet nectarines in a chilled, spiced red wine. We gathered around the table with family and our community. We laughed, told stories of our travels and with each bite, each toast, each laugh we began to fill the air with hope. It doesn’t take away with the scary realities of this world but it’s a reminder that even in the midst of darkness there also is beauty.
The recipe today is one that I’ve been keeping for years. It’s an adaptation from a recipe I discovered on Epicurious then throughout many cooking classes I taught, long hot summer days and now sharing it with Electrolux it became my own. It’s a stunning layered dessert with icy watermelon sorbet forming the base and a creamy, tart lime semifreddo capping it off. The name, appearance and taste impresses beyond the complexity of the recipe. The hardest part is waiting for the layers to set so plan accordingly.
Check out the recipe on the Electrolux site and while you’re there poke around at some of the other great recipes. Watermelon is delightful when used in savory recipes too – like this salad with avocados and jalapeños which makes a perfect partner with grilled chicken. And Sara’s recipe for Watermelon salsa to serve with roasted halibut.
Just a couple other things to note:
I recently did an interview and shared a few of my favorite recipes with a German Magazine. You can read that on their website, Zeit. If you do read it let me know if they’re making of fun of me because I can understand a word of German. Just kidding, I know they aren’t but seriously, it’s a bit strange to not know what is being said. I suppose I could use Google translator.
Also, I’m partnering with the Salish Lodge here in Washington to put on a super lovely and romantic Date Night. Find out more and book your tickets on their site. There’s not many available so book quickly!
And finally, be kind to yourselves and others today. Let’s fill our tables with good food to share with our people because even though it feels like a too simple task it’s one of the biggest and best things we can do.