Friday, February 12, 2021

Friday Ramble - Wishful Stirrings

Another frigid winter morning (-27 degrees), 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 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 my sconce, clattering their cymbals and shaking their tambourines in the depths of the pantry. How to begin? The day's opening gambit is a sumptuous beaker of Logdriver espresso (strong enough to walk on) and a stack of cookbooks. So far, the selection includes the works below, but others will be added to the heap before I plunk myself down in an old oak mission chair to sip and ponder and scheme.

An Everlasting Meal: Cooking With Economy and Grace, Tamar Adler
The Buddhist Chef: 100 Simple Feel-Good Recipes, Jean-Philippe Cyr 
First We Eat, Eva Kosmos Flores
The Heart of the Plate, Mollie Katzen
Six Seasons: A New Way With Vegetables, Joshua McFadden
The Greens Cookbook, Deborah Madison
Arabesque, Claudia Roden  
Fresh India, Meera Sodha
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. Since I don't, I painted the front door of the little blue house in the village the precise scarlet of a bowl of saffron threads.  For years, my soulmate and I cultivated autumn blooming crocuses in our garden and dreamed of harvesting our own saffron threads, but local squirrels love the stuff as much as we do and were always making off with the corms. Here I am (again) pondering how best to protect Crocus sativus when I plant it again this fall. Barbed wire, an electric fence? 

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


Barbara Rogers said...

How lovey that saffron looks! My mouth is watering already! I just spent a lot of time (which I have in abundance these days) grinding beans, getting out my little espresso rig, and boiling water for my favorite Americano. Didn't have real half and half, and so used Rice well as sugar, to get it to the yummy stage I like. Yes, let's ask Madame Spring to come shake her skirts over us soon!

Tabor said...

Love the spice photo. I have about a dozen cookbooks I have not opened in years and they are on their way to the library for donation.

Kiki said...

What a glorious photo this is - the rich red and gold, the bokeh ... and the incredibly beautiful prose with all your yearnings. It leaves me in awe as so often does your offering. Are you battling cancer too or are those books your friends because of your soul mate? I wish you well and yes, may spring show up sooner rather than later (I doubt it somewhat). Courage!