Friday, March 01, 2019

Friday Ramble - Stirring Things Up

Another icy morning, motes of sunlight scattering like stars in the cold air, an icy wind that goes right to the bones and makes a valiant effort to flash freeze one's whole metabolism, the parts not already frozen, that is. Underwhelming to say the least, and I am not alone in my disgruntlement. When I tried to entice Beau into going outside a few minutes ago, he peered out into the garden, gave me a filthy look, turned his back on the door (and me) and trotted back to bed.

At times like these, exotic spices and culinary offerings from faraway places go dancing through one's sconce, clattering their cymbals and shaking their tambourines in the pantry. The opening gambit is an espresso strong enough to walk on and a lovely stack of cookbooks. This morning's selection includes the works below, but others will be added to the pile before I plunk myself down in the Morris chair to sip and ponder and scheme.

An Everlasting Meal: Cooking With Economy and Grace, Tamar Adler
Beyond the Great Wall, Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid
1000 Indian Recipes, Neelam Batra
The Heart of the Plate, Mollie Katzen
Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, Deborah Madison
Yum and Yummer, Greta Podleski
Arabesque, Claudia Roden
Everyday Greens, Annie Somerville
The Vegetarian Epicure (Vols 1 and 2) Anna Thomas
Finding Yourself in the Kitchen, Dana Velden
The Art of Simple Food (Vols 1 and 2), Alice Waters
The Food of Morocco, Paula Wolfert
Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge, Grace Young

Rebecca Katz's cookbooks are in a stack of their own. Dipping into them, I savor every mouthwatering recipe and vibrant image. All five are a treasure trove of information on using good food to battle cancer and get through chemotherapy, on maintaining a healthy mind and living a long and robust life. They are also a feast for body and soul. On days when I can't stand even looking at food, Rebecca's books delight the eyes and nudge my taste buds back to life.

It will be an Asian concoction this morning, something improvised, serendipity and redolent of aromatic spices. Whatever is stirred up will likely contain saffron or turmeric, perhaps pomegranate seeds, an anise star or two. Just seeing a dish of saffron threads always cheers me up. We have cultivated autumn blooming crocuses in our garden for years and tried to harvest saffron threads, but squirrels love the stuff as much as we do and always make off with the corms. Here I am again, pondering how best to protect the colony of Crocus sativus sleeping under the snow. If I can just protect the little dears until they bloom in September...

The day's culinary adventures will conjure sunlight and warmth and comfort.  All three are welcome on a day when one can't wander about with a camera for fear of going base over apex on sneaky ice, and her canine soulmate refuses to go out. There is an element of ritual to this morning's activities - perhaps my saffron threads and wishful stirrings will be noticed by Lady Spring wherever she is hiding. If not, the dazzling reds and oranges and yellows are almost indecently sumptuous, and they make my heart glad.

Happy March everyone!


Barbara Rogers said...

May all wishes come true, in the form desired, or perhaps a better one!

Laura Orabone said...

Adler's book changed my entire approach to cooking. I wish I could give all of my friends a copy.