Sunday, June 19, 2011
In our kitchen I am more of a sous chef and kitchen girl. I am less patient and don't follow recipes precisely. So, many years ago when my secret was discovered I was demoted until I was more mindful. I have spent years scrubbing and tidying the mounds of dirty dishes used in John's amazing creations. I remember my mother always cleaning up from dinner's at night so she could awake to a clean kitchen. I have followed that rule resulting in a surreal denial that the entrails ever existed.
I realized there is something that I want to remember about each meal, not just what we ate, but about who was there and how we enjoyed ourselves and the beauty in the mess. Like Mrs. Havasham's table without the cobwebs. Here goes....
Father's Day seems to have started early this year. Friday night was void of children and included a late night dinner at Osteria Mozza and no curfew.
Saturday morning even the naughty dogs were quiet as I woke startled at 9:30 am to a completely silent house and the reminder of needing to pick up and deposit children at piano within an hour.
A quick visit to de-snail the farm, strong coffee and I'm off.
12 pm. lessons completed. It isn't long before the subject of dinner comes up and I am texted ingredients by chef John from Mario Batali's grill book. A chaotic list that sends me looking for yeast, concord grapes, tuna, anchovies, and tarragon to name a few items.
Violet, our resident baker is set on making a recipe from the cover of a vintage copy of Gourmet Magazine for a Father's day party. The shopping list grows longer and after several stores and nearly two hours we are on our way home.
A busy afternoon of movies and play dates and I arrive home at 7:30 and am handed a Negroni by a very happy chef.
Dinner has been in the works for hours. The house is seasoned by the smokiness of the grill. Cannonball Adderly is playing and as I clean up the naughty dog's destruction, the warmth from my cocktail washes over me and mellow's my frustration at cleaning up nearly 1200 bb.'s she has somehow managed to explode over a large area.
Dinner is served our plates a perfect visual balance : tuna, fennel with tarragon and grapefruit and grilled bread with fennel seed and grapes. Consumed with joy and a glass of white wine.
We dance, mostly Millie and I. It is now about 11pm and John and Violet begin to make ice cream sandwiches.
I look away, doing my best not to spoil their fun. Mischievous inspiration hits. Until now my camera had only been taking photo's of pristine camera ready plates full of perfectly styled food. Although the temptation of documenting the kitchen atrocities was always playfully lurking in the back of my mind.
I run to my computer and begin my new project.
Stay tuned for the aftermath...