Puy Lentils with Sour Cherries, Bacon and Gorgonzola, Almond Carrot Salad, Lamb with Cilantro and Honey, Almost Blackberry Pie (the soul corrupting kind - wheat, butter, sugar )
Four dishes for a simple dinner party of four. Days before the party I meet M’s girl at last, I adore her, she is lovely and fun. I invited her to join us for Sunday night. S finds out her guy is coming into town, last minute, he gets in Sunday afternoon. “I know Sunday night is important, I know you only cook for people you love. I can tell K to find something else to do Sunday night and meet him after dinner.” S looks at me apologetically. “Don’t be silly. Have him join us.”
The table is set. Seating 6 in an NYC apt is not easy; I turned my work table at an angle, taking up the entire living room and get creative with the chairs. There are only 4 stools (a determining factor in why this was originally a party for 4), the other two seats are fashioned out of a regular chair with a milk crate on top and a step ladder with an apple box. The silverware are miss-matched, as are the plates and glassware, blue post-it notes for seating arrangements. This adhoc table with a carefully considered menu is a strange representation of my life.
The almost blackberry pie with the hazelnut crust is chilling on the table. The lamb is comfortably marinating and gradually coming up to room temp. I am waiting on M to bring me carrots. There is a lull in the kitchen.
What kind of memories will we make tonight?
It is never really about the food is it? Few of us remember the best meals, the wine pairing or the white glove service in exquisite details. Rather, what we hold on to are the moments created and the people at the table: the instantaneous sense of community in the toast, the moans and exclamations following the first bit, the indecision and longing of the group over what to do with the remaining two lamb chops in a company of six.
This night, A took a bit of the lamb and muttered MOTHERFUCKER mid-chew. M’s girl didn’t even bother with utensils and man handled her chop. S smiled at me and told me I can corrupt her soul any time. The night dissolves into M sitting on top of me tickling me, me screaming, and S looking on unsure how to help. The late addition girlfriend and boyfriend cleaning up in the kitchen while we talk of what is next, ridiculous adventures and where the road will take us.
I will bake the pie and the lamb again, the carrot salad and lentils will become a staple. Next time, might be a party of 2 or 10, who’s to say —- but we will never re-create this night, even if I re-produce the menu —- there lies the magic. It was never about the pie but rather a way to create memories.
A few more days
A final Hi meeting
The local neighborhood bar has a quiet time between six and nine. It is a place that specializes in coffee, beer and seasonal menus. There is just enough of each for a satisfying snack and effective buzz. After the time when the laptop lids close and before the social gatherings start -- there is a sort of twilight*. Often this time is a fugitive ground rife with creative inspiration and meditative work -- of the kind that results in personal reward.*twilight may refer to civil, nautical or astronomical variety depending on your social or terrestrial condition
A man positions his mouse on the edge of his browser window. He clicks, holds and drags the viewport first left then right. The content of a video game promo micro site responds and adapts to the available space. To the man, this is more delightful than the game itself.
A man laboriously moves his piano down three levels onto the subway platform. Classic vocals and strided chords -- he played so well I swore he was blind. Oblivious to the heat on that August stage, he was most in touch with his audience -- whom he elevated with his music.
A woman should do exactly as she pleases no matter what a man may think.
As the Dalai Lama once said, "It is a time when there is much in the window, but nothing in the room."
"No one understands me," she said. Her grandmother was silent for a minute. It seemed she was searching for an answer in the star speckled sky. "But no one understands anyone in this world, darling. We are all unique. It is what gives us a sense of wonder."