A gentle Saturday

Growing up in Northwestern Pennsylvania, holidays were full of family, an hour-and a half car rides through gorgeous forests (unless we were headed to Buffalo, NY). Buffalo was all highway, but with wonderful destinations.

Cooking, catching up, hanging out someplace outside if the weather was nice, enjoying great company, and wearing at least a nice sweater with some chinos and dress shoes. When we were in the thick of it we were forging memories that would last forever with the most amazing people in the world.

Times have changed. Families have moved long distances apart and we keep in touch mostly through the odd Facebook posting, text message, or card in the mail. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just not the same. The connections have been stretched thin but they still bond us together. I yearn for the salad days of my youth when so many more of us were alive. I’m not talking about the responsibilities either – I miss those hugs, the kisses, the shocking family gossip, the smaller town life evident in Oil City, PA. The fanatical sports atmosphere in Buffalo.

All the AMAZING cooks in the family. – honestly. My Great Grandmother in Hamilton, Ontario Canada, Both of my Grandmothers, my Aunt Dolores, my Aunt Jill, and of course my Mother. We did not want for amazing or ethnic foods, ever. Holidays were especially amazing.

Today I drove to Rhode Island to pick up some white borscht – we called it barcsz when I was a kid, and I still do. It’s a traditional sour soup traditionally made and served for Easter. You would have saved your pennies during Lent for ham, kielbasa, and eggs. You hard-boil the eggs and cut them up and put into a bowl along with small pieces of ham, kielbasa, and torn up rye bread. You then add some horseradish if you[‘re daring – and pour over the hot broth (white borscht). Its amazing. I usually cook it myself, but it takes all day long and produces way too much food. Too much for me. Anyway, I am all set for my lonely ceremony tomorrow after Easter Mass.

I took Cody (a Chihuahua/Pomeranian mixed dog) for a nice walk and a drive – he loves to sit on the center console between the front seats and look out the windscreen. He’ll bounce from open window to open window randomly too. Wonderful weather today.

Then we got home, and I hard-boiled six eggs – preparing them for tomorrow. Placing them on ice afterwards so that the yolks remain bright yellow.

put Serge Gainsbourg radio on the speakers around the house and made myself an egg & spinach omelet with Fleur de Sea and a dash of fresh dill. A piece of seeded rye with French butter from Normandy. And a little bit of chicken sausage – of which Cody did partake a bit.

A fresh Aeropress coffee steeped for 4:30 – and it came out perfectly. When cooking, 99% of it is timing things in your head so it all comes out at the required time. I like Gordon Ramsey but to me he is too energetic about things. I love the way Marco Pierre White cooks – he’s slower, deliberate, considerate, never rushes, and is gentle in how he address his ingredients. That speaks to me.

If someone were to have stopped by the house just then, with Serge and Brigit Bardot singing, seeing me in my apron above a truly magnificent plate – they might think that I was cool.

Settling in for the evening as the world around me here cools. The sun is just whispering in retreat as everything takes on that patented deep blue cast. House lights seem to glow a little brighter and the birds are less vocal. In all, it was a gentle Saturday and I am glad that I was here to live it.

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