Thursday, January 15, 2015
Our lives have taken on the relative asceticism of January. We’re keeping our heads down; working hard and long and making do. Walnuts in a bowl with a cracker have taken the place of the holidays’ never-ending supply of confections purchased and gifted and made. The light increases every day.
I placed a plate full of steamed artichokes on the table between the boys after school as they did homework, Abbott Spanish – “mi abuelo es el hijo de mi bisabuelo” – Cal multiplying combinations of numbers and decimals. Without looking up from their work they tugged the leaves off one by one, dipping them in the bowl of melted butter I’d placed next to them and then scraping off the flesh with their teeth. They paused when they got to the heart, eating in concentrated pleasure.
I asked Abbott about a presentation he’d had to give on Brown v. Board of Education for a civil rights unit at school, and then told the boys what I knew, second-hand, about the 'colored' and 'white' water fountains and restrooms and churches in the town where my parents grew up, and about their school becoming integrated in the mid-1960s, when they were in high school.
After making myself a bourbon tonic I collected and chopped a handful of parsley from the yard, miraculously robust after months of winter. I boiled fingerling potatoes and then slathered them with butter, Maldon salt and the parsley. I roasted the buttery flesh of king salmon to this side of raw and steamed a pot of broccoli to Crayola brightness. We cleared the table of the work and the artichoke leaves and ate, discussing our own civil rights concerns and racism at this point in history.
Adapted from Not Without Salt
After Ashley posted this recipe last fall, it has been in regular rotation here. I highly recommend getting a tray to make large cubes, if you don’t already have one. I’ve been known to bring one of my mine on vacation with me. I love how slowly the large cubes melt and, of course, the look of them.
1.5 ounces Bourbon
3 ounces tonic (I prefer Fever Tree)
Wedge of lemon
1-2 Maraschino Cherries (preferably Luxardo)
In a rocks glass with ice add the bourbon. Squeeze the wedge of lemon and then add it to the glass, along with a cherry or two and a tiny bit of the cherry juice, and the tonic. Stir gently a time or two.
Yield: 1 serving