Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Entertaining the Wild Side

Despite the late March snowfall a few weeks ago, Jack and I decided to do a little spring cleaning. After four days of being home bound with a sick child, I was happy to pull out the short sleeves, pack up turtlenecks, and unearth what was rooting at the bottom of the old rocking chair in our bedroom. This renewal also involves the annual moving of the cookbooks. We have two shelves in the kitchen, one accessible to me on my very pointy tippy toes, the other completely out of reach without a step stool.
In the cold winter months books on soups, breads and baking occupy the lower shelf. Once I have any notion of spring coming, that perhaps farmer's market time might be in the foreseeable future, those all day long on the stove books move up and Italy moves within reach. Mexico also, one of my favorite books being from Daiquiri Dicks, a wonderful restaurant on the beach in Puerto Vallarta, right where I can reach it. There's a wonderful Mediterranean book,basil and corn and tomatoes, now within relatively easy reach. And this is just what I keep in the kitchen, the collection has spread into the family room, occupying almost an entire shelf in the huge bookcase, where I promised to put just a few overstocks.

My dear husband, once every few months or so, wanders in, sighs loudly and points out to me that I really don't use any of these cookbooks, the ones I must have near to me, the ones I insist on buying whenever we travel, the ones I move about seasonally. And while that is true, I rarely just open a book and make what I find inside, I love reading my books, making notes and scribbles on things that look interesting, subtracting, adding, and creating my own masterpieces from what I have absorbed. This leads to a few one hit wonders, I made potatoes a few years ago with a chipotle sauce, huge hit with the husband, and I have no idea how I did it. Of course the opposite is true, we suffer through, with some frequency, things I thought really sounded wonderful in my mind, horrific in execution.

The kitchen is the true exception to my very tidy, tucked in, button down'd life. Understanding that my daily life involves rules and order, neat hair, cardigans and music that calms me, the kitchen is the wild party, mismatched clothing, loud music and the essence of patchouli oil from every corner. Of course my essence of choice is garlic, and the clothing is often a towel draped cardigan covered shoulder, but the theme remains, wild abandon, a rule free insanity zone, and I love every bit of it, especially when the party guests are four year old sous chefs, realizing their full wild side potential. Bon Appetit!

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