"Those who forget the pasta are condemned to reheat it." ~Unknown

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Pizzas Have Ridges!

     While Cyrus and I may be on summer break, true summer decided not to show it's face today.  Despite the occasionally wet and consistently cloudy weather, which Cy described as being like Hanoi, I went ahead with a plan for grilled pizza.
     We've grilled pizza with this recipe before, though when I stretched out the dough from this batch, all three pies were wetter and more elastic than normal, leading to fears that the pie would slip straight through the grate of the grill (talk about déjà vu).  While fretting about losing the pies to the hellish depths of a brazier filled with charcoal, I prepared the toppings.  There would be two pepperoni pizzas, and beet, feta and honey pizza.
     Once the grill was hot, Dad and I stood under the gray sky.  I held a cookie sheet with the dough spread out on it by the side of the grill, Dad reached out and flipped it on and for a few tense moments we watched and waited for it to slide through.  It didn't slide all the way through, only enough to create a delicious ridged side for the toppings.

Beets, feta cheese, and honey pizza
     The beet, feta, honey pizza was especially good, succulent, savory and, where the honey pooled in the ridges left by the grate, incredibly sweet.  Now, after dinner, we are packing for our trip to Italy.  We leave later this week, and will return on the 7th, another Sunday.  I predict we'll be to jet-lagged for anything special, though we might make an attempt as the week after that we will find ourselves on the Klamath River, rafting with cousins.  The week after that, the rest of the family will be here, but I'll be missing, off at a high altitude, cross country running camp in the Steens Mountains.  In August, I hope, we will finally return to a normal schedule for Sunday Dinners.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Back to Normal

     Returning to the routine of Sunday Dinner's has been hard, and so while I would have liked to return with an especially spectacular meal, we all agreed some simple, classic burgers were the best choice for this sunny and beautiful not-technically-summer day.
     In addition to the burgers, I put together a batch of basil-lemonade, and rootbeer floats are in the post-dinner works.  All told, an incredibly simple meal to put together after a day spent hiking in the Gorge, and a wonderful one to eat on our front porch in the shade.  It was good to get back to normal.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

It's Just Life

My grandmother is dying.  By the time you read this, she will probably be dead.  Cancer in her lungs and liver are killing her, the mid-century parties of her youth catching up fast.
She lives four blocks from my family, a short, shady walk.  Today, I went to see her.  She is bed-ridden, barely conscious.  Each breathe rattles in and out.  I sat with my parents, and held her hand for an hour, before stepping out.  I don’t know yet, but it might be the last time I see my grandmother alive.
It was a beautiful day out, so I took a walk.  One of my friends described the weather to me as being “like a hand dryer in a public restroom: slightly warm and a slightly windy.”  Despite the imagery he evokes, it was an absolutely beautiful day.  Warm, sunny, literally not a cloud in the sky.  I wandered a little bit, and ended up sitting at the top of a bluff, overlooking the Willamette River.  I sat down in a field of tall grass, and while I didn’t really want to, it was an amazing spring day, I thought about my grandmothers cancer.

On the Tuesday of spring break, I had gone hiking to the top of Multnomah Falls with my friend Rachael.  While we were ostensibly on spring break, that third week of March is as wintry as any other in Oregon, and that day was cold enough that we wore winter coats for the strenuous hike.
When we got home early in the afternoon, I walked in to find my mom eating tachos and drinking a Coke.  For the uninitiated, tachos are tater tot-nachos, a rare treat for my fit, middle-aged mother.  The Coke too, is something she indulges in only rarely, and it was immediately clear something was not as it ought to be.

Two weeks after my grandmother’s cancer diagnosis, she decided she was too sick to drive, leaving her baby-blue 2002 Toyota Prius (with requisite old lady bumper stickers for public libraries and all-classical radio stations) in front of our house.  Three days later, I turned sixteen, and the week after that I got my drivers license.  Now, as my grandmother slipped from the adult world, I was taking another step into it.  I had a car, and even if my parents are very adamant, “It’s not your car!” my mom said, reading over my shoulder as I type, I am the one carrying the key on my keychain.

I turned sixteen, and got a car and a drivers license all in early April, as winter segued to that rainy in-between season segued to spring.  As time went on, my grandmother’s condition continued to deteriorate.  By the last week of April my friends and I were eating lunch outside every day, and my grandmother spent all day in an La-Z-Boy in her living room.  She was on full-time hospice care by then, allowing the cancer to take her with the knowledge that her time had come.
Now, I suspect she has only days, if not hours, remaining.  As I write on a Sunday evening, I think she is not likely to survive to see Wednesday.  While I sat in the field on the bluff, after seeing my grandmother, two flies buzzed around my head.  While I am no expert on the behavior of Musca domestica, it seemed to me that these flies were mating.  These two flies were just completing the circle of life, of birth and death and new life and more death and more life.  A third fly, dead, lay in the grass at my feet.

As the Earth circled the sun, winter became spring.  My grandmother’s winter is rapidly ending, and my spring is beginning.  While I will be saddened by my grandmothers death, I won’t be.  Flies come, flies go, seasons come, seasons go.  People too, come and go.  I will go someday, it’s inevitable.  C’est la vie, as the French say.  It’s just life.

Mimi passed away May 6, less than a day after I finished this.  Sunday Dinner's should return next week in full force.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Four C's (of Curry): Chicken, Curry, Coconut Milk and Cake

     Yesterday was my sixteenth birthday, and today I was busy with an all-day lifeguard re-certification class.  While I was at my class, Dad picked out a chicken curry from Mark Bittman's Mini Minimalist collection.
     It was relatively quick, easy and simple.  We chopped two onions and cooked them with curry powder, adding coconut milk, chicken and tomatoes in that order.  We served the curry on a bed of rice, with asparagus on the side.
     The curry was good, but it lacked the punch of an excellent curry, and it was because of this that it didn't compare to our family favorite curry recipe, which truly brings the full force of the potent Indian spice mix to forefront.  For dessert, we've got leftover birthday cake.

Back in a Bit

     Due to some events that are taking up most of the family's time, we'll be taking a short break from Sunday Dinners.  We should be back in a few months at most, so keep checking back each Sunday for our return!  Cyrus and I hope to return more energized and full of ideas for exciting new meals.  Until then, keep eating! We'll be back soon.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Papa Haydn's

     Memaw and Bamp are in town this weekend, so we went to Papa Haydn's for dinner tonight. Cyrus has suggested he'll make pirogi next weekend, however.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sunday On the Road

     Sunday this week and last have been busy for us.  Last week our cousins were in town, and this week Mom, Cy and I were driving back from Vancouver, B.C. most of the day.  We'll be back next week, however, to celebrate my 16th birthday.