Saturday, August 3, 2013
Last week at this time, we were on an island for a favorite component of our summer. Una Vaca Asada. Our friends Henry and April always throw a huge party at which they roast a pig; this year, the pig was replaced by a steer. Henry is Cuban, and apparently, it’s what Cubans do when they get together. His parents fly out from Florida, siblings travel up from California, and I think even some cousins come from far and wide. A fire was started when the sun came up, and coals burned low and slow under the steer all afternoon; a forklift was used to rotate it every so often. A garland of red and yellow peppers festooned the edge of the embers. The smell of the sizzling meat made us weak-kneed as a Cuban band played and wine flowed freely. Once the food was ready, plates were piled high with the juicy, succulent meat and vegetables roasted to perfection. People sat scattered in lawn chairs and at tables and on blankets on the grass. After we ate, the boys disappeared with a football, a Frisbee and the other kids. Alexi and I danced together as the late afternoon turned to evening and then to night.
I heard on the radio that we had the driest July on record in 50 years. We turned the corner into August, and had our first drizzly day of summer yesterday. It got to me. As I set the breakfast table, I remembered we had batter left over from Abbott’s birthday waffles. I fired up the waffle iron and we ate huge, yeasty Belgian waffles covered with peaches and blueberries and syrup in contented silence. The rain was relentless all morning. I made tomato sandwiches for our lunch, using up the last of the heirloom tomatoes I bought at the farmers market last weekend. Hours later, we ate an early dinner of leftovers from Abbott's birthday dinner the night before at his favorite restaurant, Delancey.
A friend asked me if it feels like eleven years have passed since I became a mother. I told her, yes and no. Mostly, I think about how lucky we were to have him born into our family. He adds so much to our lives every day.
Yesterday’s rain is now gone. I’ve been snacking on a bowl of blackberries I picked in the yard a while ago, sun-warmed and jammy, feeling gratitude for a week that was as gloriously ordinary as it was big.
One large tomato, preferably heirloom
Coarse sea salt
Mayonnaise, preferably Best Foods/Hellman’s
4 slices hearty white bread
Cut the tomato into thick slices. Toast the bread, then liberally spread mayonnaise on each slice. Put two or three tomato slices on two pieces of the bread, and sprinkle with the sea salt. Top with the remaining slices of bread.
Yield: 2 sandwiches