My husband has kindly agreed to let me make another guest appearance on his blog so once again it is my voice you are hearing as we turn the corner into what finally looks like spring around here.
Things had gotten to the point that if I didn’t see something green and alive out back things were going to get pretty ugly in our one-room little set-up, and while I have been told that this has been a mild winter by Monadnock standards, I’m just going to say that I’m glad that I now have a base standard and will try to be a bit more prepared next time around. But really, enough. So we planted a little garden in our laundry room a few weeks ago and each day when I march through the construction zone to do a wash, I gaze longingly at my motley assortment of little buds. On Saturday it snowed but in my laundry room garden, things were happening! My fava beans were stalking, so when that sun came out blazing last Sunday (okay it hit 55 but it felt like 80 to me) I got so excited that in my covid fog I decided to go ahead and plant them in our real garden. Which made me so excited that I then planted the carrots, then arugula, then microgreens, then leeks. Then it snowed on Monday. And again on Wednesday. I’m still holding out hope for the leeks. But I did manage to harvest my first microgreens from my microgarden, so there is that.
I have a bucket list of restaurants that I dream about. They flood my Instagram and inspire me to be a better cook. These last months have shattered me for many reasons, but perhaps the one that has cracked me open is watching each of them have to close their doors, maybe never to reopen them. A few of them, though, have begun working with the farmers and food producers who supplied them with their beautiful ingredients, which they are selling in order to support both their staffs and those suppliers. First I ordered a box from #smallfarmsbighearts. Baby beets, tender crunchy greens, a lamb shoulder, multicoloured carrots, tiny potatoes, and a tub of farm butter that tasted like ice cream in the best possible way. It made me cry (I cry easily these days), but it also made me hopeful that this thing that we’re all in might make us truly appreciate where all of this beautiful bounty comes from, honor it, and find a better way to put it on more plates.
Which is why Franny and I had our inaugural corona adventure last week. The Lost Kitchen has been at the top of my bucket list since it opened. Erin French, the owner, is a particular idol of mine, and I humor myself sometimes that our cooking comes from the same place inside. But you can only score a reservation by writing a postcard, and my many postcards over the years haven’t yielded that prized seat. So when I found out that she is doing this same thing, we jumped in the car and drove three hours north to Freedom, Maine, to pick up our box. This time we brought home the most beautiful mushrooms I have ever seen, the first asparagus I’ve seen in almost a year, fresh Maine crab and, among other things, rye and whole wheat flours, all local. It was a pilgrimage, an escape, and a reconfirmation that everything tastes better when it comes from people who care. I’ve been baking bread for 25 years now, but this loaf is special.
The next in this string of never-been-done-befores will be on Tuesday, when Franny celebrates her 21st here with her parents and Mona. The only thing she wants (well not the only, since being with friends and having her first legal drink in an actual establishment where ID is required is also on that list) is a yurt. The blow up mattress on the treadmill thing has lost it’s shine, so Franny will be spending the remainder of her time glamping right outside of our door. Today we’ll be stringing lights, laying carpets and making up the proper bed with the doona that should have been keeping her warm in that dorm room that she so misses. Happy birthday, my dear. Of all of the landmark birthdays we have celebrated with you, this one will most likely go down as the least eventful and the most impacted one of all but your dad and I, your brother and sister from afar, and all of those who know and love you wherever they may be, will raise a glass of something and drink to you.