I've had a couple sleepless nights this week, thinking about Haiti, how unthinkably nightmarish it must be to wander around with no home, family, or food. All I can do is lie there in the dark, praying for their comfort and relief.
And I can be grateful. This blog has had some warranted criticism of late--too many epiphanies, not enough about what happened before the epiphany. It's true--there are days when Loretta lies down in the mud, refusing to get in her car seat. Or when Yancey and I fight yet again about me using the kitchen table as my personal Goodwill donation station. Or all the times, despite my good life, when I feel lonely, inadequate, angry, and scared. But when I sit down to write, those aren't the things that float to the top. A kind of amnesia sets in about all the moments when I wanted to scream (but don't worry--those moments exist).
As I bear a very far-away witness to one of the worst humanitarian tragedies in my lifetime, I still find so many gifts in this otherwise ordinary week. Today, with Loretta sleeping and the house to myself for a little while, here are the ones that wash up, like messages in bottles:
- This chile pumpkin seed toffee, which I took to Jordan's last-night-in-Seattle dinner and to book club the next night. It's the treat I settled on after discovering I didn't have any eggs in the fridge. And it's a keeper.
- Sitting with Xiao Yu and Sue around Sue's kitchen table last night, squeezing Meyer lemons (from Barb's prolific tree) into our glasses and topping them off with champagne.
- Emily's Christmas gift to us--babysitting while Yancey and I went to see Jane and Michael Stern at Benaroya. We laughed a lot, and I felt so proud to finally call myself a food writer. I loved what Michael said--how the pitmasters in the South used to be considered manual laborers, and now they're honored as folk heroes. Chalk another one up for the healing power of food.
- Having a Lady Gaga dance party with my family while doing dishes after dinner.
- A few pinnacle work moments when I got to be part of co-workers forgiving and reconciling with one another.
Hope you find your beach littered with good things in the next week, and that all of us remember the global, human family to which we belong.
Chile Pumpkin Seed Toffee
And if you want to guarantee your week is bearable, make this. You can find the basic recipe here, but adapt it in the following way: sub raw pumpkin seeds for roasted hazelnuts. After you've scattered the pumpkin seeds over the melted chocolate, sprinkle 1/2 ts. flaked salt and a smidgen of Ancho chile powder.