Sunday, April 1, 2012

Meatballs as My Creation

Another week down, April Fools tomorrow, another month, 7 and counting, time accelerating as soon as the good stuff starts happening and I need more OF it.

That’s life, that’s the system. Time is like money:  when you need it you can’t get it – when you don’t, they’re shoving loans and credit cards down your throat.

Devegar – despacio – slowly.  Portuguese, Spanish, English. 

Hey-sus, I’m trilingual.  What about that?  Big smile of appreciation spreads inside. My brain’s no sponge anymore – more like a petrified rock.  It hasn’t been easy getting those new words to stick.  Thanks for that, the hard work, the patience and persistence.

And then the little voice says:  Well…not fluent. Still can't conjugate in the subjunctive.

But the big voice fights back:  Yeah, but…I can listen to a song in any of these languages and know what they’re singing about.  How ‘bout that.  Ha, I can read music too – a fourth language.
I’m so Lonely I could Cry, Bill Frisell’s blue notes say it all without words.

And then there’s the language of food.

I’ve spent the afternoon shopping for the ingredients at the market:  carne molida at Double-R butcher – he grinds the slab of lean shoulder right in front of my eyes, then to the pork guy for fresh chorizo – then the veg stand for parsley and basil and a good white onion – and the baker for breadcrumbs. 

The sauce was already made. I awoke at 7 am before my day of meetings and had the blender going, and my kitchen smelled like Lena’s! Fresh Santa Rita tomatoes from my b-day trip to the hydroponic hothouse with Rita.  The rise to the top and pop – and I remove the skin – careful not to burn my fingers.

I’ve invited my singing neighbor Yola over for cena; but that was last week, and I realize appointments are amorphous here.  I left a post-it not reminder on her door this morning. But I get home after work and it's still there. It’s 9 and I’m starving and she's still not home yet.  I pull the post-it not off her door and sit myself down to my table.  I light a candle, pop open a bottle of my Mexi house red, and serve myself a pile of green salad with balsamic vinaigrette and Perla’s smoked provolone and a bowl of ziti and meatballs,  Mexican-style. Grandma Lena would be proud – or appalled. She was a purist.   

I love that I cook and think of her – like we’re cooking together – like she’s speaking into my ear:  remember, let the meat sauce speak for itself.  Light on the herbs.  And she’s right.  With the chorizo in place of Italian pork sausages, I get the slight hint of Mexico chile on the tongue, and it’s a delight.

Albondegas as my creation!