chop, saute, edit…
it is delicious, the way the day unfolds when i weave back and forth from cutting board to keyboard, in my slow dance toward dinner.
2 c. onion, chopped.
one story cobbled, edited.
1 sweet red pepper, seeded, chopped.
one phone call, dialed.
i am a writer who works from home. i am a mother who needs to feed children. i am also a woman who savors the adagio toward dinner.
as the january chill slipped in through the cracks and the crevices of this old house some time yesterday morn, and as i realized dinner would eventually be upon us, i walked into the pantry and starting eyeing the shelves.
black beans, i saw. grabbed for the bag. ticked through the means toward the simmering end, a bold steaming soup; beans the color of midnight, hot-sausage-studded.
and so the rhythm began: onions and garlic, chopped and sauteed. beans set to simmering. two phone calls made. story re-read, cut by 200 words.
there is something that soothes me, inhaling the onions, the garlic, the simmering beans. all the while tending to stories and editors and sources not yet discovered. knowing that dinner is coming the slow way. not something rushed in the 15 minutes before everyone crawls to the table, famished and grumpy and harried.
it is the blessing of working from home, stirring with one hand, typing with the other. it is rare, and i know it, to be home alone with the smells and the sizzles and the sentences growing.
i have given up much, not being in the newsroom. but i cannot imagine not being here where most everything matters. it’s my own cockamamie invention, the place where domesticity meets deadline. and i love every drop. (except for when i’m pulling my hair out.)
perhaps it’s the post-winterbreak quiet that, this week, is so particularly sweet, now that the big yellow bus rumbles down the lane and swallows up my littlest boy.
but what it really seems is that the broth of my life is richer, is deeper, when i’m here on the homefront doing two things at once. and doing one of them slowly.
as the sweet scent of the beans and the cumin rise from the pot and curl under my nose, i feel less like a mad scrambled mama, more like a soul who is blessedly tending my flock.
be it a soup or a stew or a fat roasting hen, there is a certain elixir in the kitchen perfume as it comes ’round the corner to me and my keyboard.
maybe it’s nothing so much as the sweet simple knowing that, while tracking down editors, i am aiming toward dinner, that most sacred time when we all come together.
more than deadlines and drafts one, two and three, it’s that time towards the end of the day that most deepens my soul. and when it unspools not in a rush, not in staccato, i am soothed, i am stoked by the slow dance to dinner.
fred,this is gorgeous, perceptive writing. i’m honored to be able to consume your black bean soup, not to mention your thoughts about it and your pictures of it.mm, mm, mm.fred ulysses
There’s something so soothing in spooning up something slow-cooked and homemade. My family’s favorite dinners come from my work-horse crockpot that I absolutely could not live without. This story conjures up memories of my dear gramma who always had something simmering on the backburner in her old-timey kitchen. Yep, there’s nothing more filling than a bowl of soup or stew sopped up with some crusty bread, both for the body and the soul. Yum.
Slow is good. And so rare! My own slow meal coup of this day was chicken pot pie, which actually took two days because I made the chicken stock for it too. And it was the first time the stock ever really worked, ever became something beyond light golden rather oily water. And the key was the slowness. I simmered two chicken carcasses with heaps of vegetables and some rather peculiar spices for seven, eight hours maybe, and the end result was so good I was drinking mugs of it. But you need that amount of time. And as Barbara says, during all those hours you can do many other things. Same with baking bread. This need for waiting, for patience in the kitchen, is something that has been almost lost altogether, but it is such a pleasure in and of itself.