All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well. Juliana of Norwich
It’s raining in great sloppy gushes of water, streaming off my roof and splashing on my patio. This is how it usually rains here in College Station, Texas: hard, desperate, unrelenting. It’s the kind of rain that makes me reconsider my plans for the morning, mentally reconfiguring my day to avoid stepping out into such a downpour. There’s thunder too, which sounds almost gentle compared to the rivers of rain. There’s something about morning rain that makes the kitchen seem like the right place to be for the rest of the day, though I haven’t the faintest idea of what I want to cook. Breakfast, however, was just right.
They say that it’s not a good idea to try to shop your way out of a bad mood, but on Thursday, that’s just what I did. I sauntered over to the store to pick up dinner ingredients, and I found organic strawberries. Fresh, beautiful organic strawberries! I thought for sure that they’d be something like six bucks a pint, but at only three dollars a pint, they were a steal. I’m heading back today and hoping they’ll have more for me.
With fresh strawberries on hand, it’s hard not to include them in every meal. This morning, I made oatmeal (using my standard formula, minus the maple syrup) and topped it with sliced strawberries, a scattering of Optimum Blueberry Cinnamon cereal for crunch, and two spoonfuls of homemade peanut butter fudge sauce. It was the kind of breakfast that says, “Hello, Saturday! How wonderful to see you again. Care for some peanut butter fudge sauce?”
It’s been a strange week or two for me. Workwise, I’ve been in a lull of sorts, a trough of activity in between two peaks of busy-ness. To keep myself feeling productive and happy, I’ve been focusing on the homefront and all my hobbies. I made a half-batch of this Spanish-style dish of chickpeas and spinach and a whole batch of Jess’s Tomato Lentil Soup, both of which were fabulous. I highly recommend the parsley in Jess’s soup; it adds a nice green herbal note to the dish. I’m working on biscuit-making, which I hope to tell you about sooner rather than later. Then, of course, there was the peanut butter fudge sauce, which I really think I have to tell you about right away. My kitchen has been a bustling little corner of my home, and I couldn’t be happier about it.
In between all the new recipes, I finished reading Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert, in whose pages the prayer above was found. I wasn’t sure what to think about this book before I started reading it. I was intrigued that Gilbert actually wrote an entire manuscript and then, unhappy with her draft, she trashed it to start over again. Talk about dedication to the craft! I was impressed. And the book she ended up publishing—I am impressed with that as well. A thoughtful and moving account of marriage, this book made me laugh and it made me mad. Gilbert is a wonderfully engaging writer, and I think that she did a beautiful job trying to explain how marriage has been, historically, a shelter and a prison for women, and how, even now, the intimacy of marriage can free us while it binds us to our spouses. Some reviewers have complained that the format of Committed doesn’t work for the reader: Gilbert starts each chapter with an update on her current whereabouts and the latest news about her relationship before delving into some aspect of marriage, such as expectations, history, or autonomy. I liked the format a lot. I thought it was a good story-telling technique to use with a book like this, and it keeps the book from being too centered on the idiosyncracies of Gilbert’s own story. It’s a good balance between marriage as an entity and Gilbert’s own relationship with marriage.
In other reading news, this article in Salon was fascinating to me: hipsters on food stamps! Whoa. If you feel strongly about either taxes or food, this article may rile you up a bit. Then, after you’ve read that, check out the response from one of the hipsters featured in that article. I don’t have any hard and fast answers to our current economic climate, though I am left feeling more grateful than ever that I can afford to buy organic strawberries if that’s what I want to eat.
All shall be well, sweet readers. Happy weekend and happy spring!