Friday, February 28, 2020

Friday Ramble - Wishful Stirrings

Another winter morning, motes of sunlight scattering like stars in the cold air, snow everywhere, a 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 looked into the garden, gave me a filthy look, then 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
The Heart of the Plate, Mollie Katzen
Six Seasons: A New Way With Vegetables, Joshua McFadden
The Greens Cookbook, Deborah Madison
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
The Breath of a Wok, Grace Young
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, to maintain a healthy mind and live 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.

Whatever comes together in the kitchen this morning, it will be something impromptu and redolent of aromatic spices. My stirrings will likely contain saffron, perhaps a few pomegranate seeds, an anise star or two.

Just seeing a dish of saffron threads always cheers me up, and I wish I had enough hair to tint that fabulous color. For years we cultivated autumn blooming crocuses in our garden and dreamed of harvesting 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. Barbed wire, an electric fence?  If only I could 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.

1 comment:

Tabor said...

I bought some saffron while in the Caribbean, but now wonder if it is true saffron or just some fake red twigs. I saw on a cooking show the other day how we can be duped. Oh, well, some eggplant with a cumen/coriander flair tonight.