Saturday, January 19, 2008

Marcie's Enterprise

I was almost loathe to sleep after my dream of love. Too much and too many tears for one night had come. I thought of Marcie's relics. Lists of tasks, containers of spices, a gigantic file folder chock full of cancer notes, handout materials and medical information she had decided were useful.

It was her clipped articles, some about the surviving family of victims, which I had found hard to look out, cropped and printed or torn from every source. And they sat in my mind as the pre-dawn cold tickled my exposed fingertips again.

I sighed and Seamus chose that moment to plop against me, driving his furry back into my nose. I manipulated him, pulling him purring halfway under the blanket, almost more mitten that kitten as I drifted off and he burrow into the blankets against my chest.

"Oh, honey, that is so cute," she said, rubbing my hands through Seamus's fur as he purred. "He's like a little pair of gloves. Aren't you, pooter pie?"

As she pet him, the odd, smaller Seamus with fur so loose it hanged over my hands and wrapped my fingers in his warmth began to meow softly, still purring. I remembered all of her little names for him.

Pooter pie. Cutie patootie. Honey bunny. Bunny bear. Baby bear. Lovey bear. Lambikins. Little lamb. Lovey dovey. Sweety bear. Lovesponge. Lover. Furling. Sweetling was one I made up to describe him as a little kitten, constantly trying to nurse off of Marcie and purring even as he failed. She kept it.

I heard typing as I reflected. It stopped as i looked up for her.

"Honey? Honey, I have your patent ready," her voice called out. "Go mail it before someone else does."

I started to run to the post office and she stopped me, stuffing a bundle of letters into my hand and my laptop bag, checking a list on the wall that I now noticed was covered in them.

The Seamus-glove cat slid off my hands and landed on all fours, wandering off as I read the lists of mostly crossed-off items. Take chemo... Make grocery list for Frank... Make list of bills... Call for Kathy tickets... Marcie crossed a few things off the list and turned back to me.

"Honey, I know you like your free time, but maybe you should try to make some money while you have so much of it," she said. "Little stuff, too. Don't hide behind the grand schemes. Make a list of little things and do them."

She kissed me, she whispered she was proud. I realized that I was talking to my dead wife in a dream, or simply hearing her, but that she was always full of things to do and always doing them in life, many of them for me or us.

I tried to say something but my mouth would not respond, though I was unconcerned. She took the initiative and put her hand over my mouth, shushing, then leaned back into me.

"You need to just get out and get moving, or I will never see Morocco with you," she said. "And I have some ideas for you, so just come back when you're done with these."

I started to speak again and croaked out an "I love you" before I lost the dream I was now cognizant I was in. She did not fade from view, as I feared she would. She smiled.

"I know you know again," she said. "I know, too. You can't hide anything and you don't have to, especially what you feel, honey."

Her tone was teasingly accusatory, but gentle and sweet, as she always was when she was happy. She looked down and took my hand as Seamus meowed loudly.

"It's not as loopy up here," she said, motioning behind herself as she did at a now-endless tunnel lined in notes and lists. "But I have a lot of things to do here, and a few things are for you, so you have to go."

Her kiss felt like a puff of fur against my nose and lips. I awoke, of course, to Seamus repositioning himself against my head again. He meowed low as he realized I had awoken.

I gently nudged him until he hopped down off the couch and listened to the morning wake a bit more and birds argue over their spaces in the tassel flower plant outside.

Friday, January 18, 2008

*Heartening Dumplings and Pot Stickers*

The last warm-up course from the dinner I served Jane and Christi was pot stickers and dumplings. Had I been able to find a source, it would have been pot stickers, dumplings and Shu Mai, but sadly, no Shu Mai were to be found last week. Still, our two-variety mini dim sum was fun and tasty.

Before cooking the pot stickers and dumplings, heat an oven or toaster oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. This will allow you to keep a course warm while the other finishes cooking...

Use the "pan frying" method detailed on the packages, as it is far superior and allows you to be creative with the process, such as putting some pulverized ginger into the water when you add it (which I did not do this time... next time, though).

The most important part of this dish is the sauce selection. We had three, two of my own and leftovers of the cilhini plus Marcie's favorite, the Ling Ling company's base sauce. Christina invented one of her own combining two of the sauces, which I have added here. It was good!

Red Hot Marcie Dip

This is a sauce about how I felt about Marcie, not about how she liked to eat. Marcie was, simply put, hot. HOT hot HOT hot HOT! She like to be spicy, something I appreciated. But she was also flavorful...

2 Tbsp Hunan Red Chili Sauce
2 Tsp honey
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar(spiced)
1-3 drops almond oil
A pinch of lust for life and love

Taste liberally as you work. Mix the honey, almond oil and the vinegar together first until the former is thinned into the latter and the middle ingredient is obscured. Add them to the chili sauce. Let the sauce settle in a refrigerator to thicken and separate a little (overnight).

Sweet Hot Jane Sauce

This sauce is not ready to go as soon as you have made it, so I named it after Jane. It will be ready in its own time. This sauce is laid out in proportion, but flavor to taste! Some like it hotter.

1-2 Tbsp Hunan Red Chili Sauce
4 Tsp honey
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 drop sesame oil
1 light pinch of powdered ginger
A moment of careful consideration at each step

Mix the honey and soy sauce, add the pinch of powdered ginger, more if you would like, but don't overdo it. Add the drop of sesame oil and watch it float a bit, then stir it in, too. This must sit overnight so that the ginger saturates the sauce. Stir and then serve; never serve it settled.

Auburn Sauce Christina

This mix cannot be made in advance, but must meet exacting standards on the fly instead. Leave it to Christina. This does combine for a distinct flavor separate from a simple combination of the others.

1 portion Red Hot Marcie Dip
1 portion Sweet Hot Jane Sauce
1 portion Ling Ling dipping sauce
1 small portion Mischief (hold the capers)
1 portion Verve

Gather the remains of the above two sauces on the table after eating for a while. Mix them together on your plate and demand everyone else do the same. Enjoy. Proclaim loudly and happily that it's delicious. Accept consensus of same.

I hope you enjoy the sauces. We did. I recommend this all be served with red wine (Barefoot Zinfandel is nice) or Vodka, up with olives.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

In Defense of Romanticism - Francis the Fool Speaks

So, here it goes. Some people need to back off, some need a little backup.

I talk about, write about, live about and, for a little while longer, at least, breathe about my (our) beautiful Marcie and the love we had and may still, if part of me is to be believed, retain. I know it is not a surprise to some who have known me for a long time that I tend to some outmoded sentiments on love in this modern age. I have tried to place my finger on the issue of why, and I have decided to not, but to face facts.

My "heart's" workings are, simply, anachronistic. More on that later, but suffice to say that, in terms of how I love and how I show it, I am old fashioned. My emotional intelligence may be flawed in that I choose to enjoy and celebrate romance, to reflect on love as and enduring and healing, sustainable force. But I am content to be such a fool if the measure of emotional intelligence is distance from passion and immunity from being consumed. Those who take some comfort in my assertion of potential foolishness should read on.

"What of it?" some of you might ask. "So what?"

Well, my soft-heartedness has, upon occasion, been mistaken for soft-headedness. Let me disabuse those of you harboring that notion throughout this post. For now, I have a few shots to fire off less directly, a poem or two to call on, and a challenge for the readers who are sitting in sympathy, guarded or not, with my point.

I have observed the state of most who claim to have loved and I can, in cooler moments, see the logic of the assertion that love fades. I have also heard the cynical and clinical evaluations and insecure, snotty, pseudo-intellectual appraisals of romance by those whose fields of endeavor, or perhaps breadth of romantic experience, makes it crucial that they deny and decry anything they have been unable to have or maintain themselves.

It is an enjoyable pity that the host's intellect rarely sustains the capacity for such a rigorous-sounding, hard-nosed thesis... but I digress. Suffice it to say such proponents dismay me, but often it is to my comfort, as they are often of little enough impression otherwise.

Some need romantic love to fail for strictly economic reasons. Anything to sell a viagra, a paxil, or an ill-considered marriage license and, later, divorce services, one supposes. Perhaps their support of the idea that we are unable to form passionate bonds over time is a way to dissolve or weaken those we could.

We are bombarded by the seduction of failure and an inflated likelihood of insecurity or inadequacy by our media machine. This is excusable among my pedestrian and lackluster detractors. They are subjects to, not rulers of, their manipulators. Their filters come right off the shelf and over their eyes and hearts.

But I am saddened at times and in other cases. I am most disappointed when I hear from those who, one-time romantics, found themselves betrayed, subjected in some damaging, lasting way to the ugly side of faded love or dimmed fascination.

If I am sufficiently impressed by some one's quality, I dig and find this almost every time I hear these ideas of romantic love's ephemeral state from otherwise warm-hearted people. But sometimes they are an excuse for poor behavior in love and lust, regardless the cause cited.

When I recognize a truly fallen heart, I am devastated. It is an even more acute sense of that sadness to know someone given to romantic sentiment has been stripped bare and chooses to remain there, or to seek the transient luminance and utilitarian company of unsuitable but available mates. There are plenty, regardless one's circumstances, I have noticed of late.

From now on, I think that instead of continuously rebuffing or tolerating, red-eared, assaults on my perceptions, experiences and the relaying of them, I will dispense with the absolutism for the focused. I simply proffer that, much as Gould's rejection of the dichotomy between science and faith, I perceive matters of the "heart" to be "Nonoverlapping Magisteria" with those of the more concrete, scientific mind.

That goes for a more "realistic, straightforward, utilitarian" outlook, too. Lump that in with the clinical and the cynical. You who hide the hurt under a layer of rational justifications and vile blandishments? Pretend to patronize the romantic and smile in some falsely wise way, if it helps. But read on.

I believe, in fact, that the rational and emotional are separate for a number of reasons. But neither can truly overshadow the other in any case I would entertain.

How many times have our evils been tempered, in wrath or dogma, by mercy? Suffice to say not nearly enough by the looks of the world, but sufficiently to have anecdotes of such a sentiment overruling a better selfish course. Thank goodness the emotional mind helps us hide people in our attics when we could simply spare ourselves and perhaps be rewarded for turning them over to authorities.

There are other acts, more attributed to love by even those who decry romance. How many mothers or fathers give their lives to save a child's? Or disacknowledge their own peril to save a stranger's? Altruism is often vilified as a soft-headed nonentity. The savior of a drowning man is working on his own desire to be rescued, the child is saved to continue the genetic legacy of the parent...

Cynics and hard hearted, maladaptive and potentially abusive people dream of ways to depose romantic love just as they do altruism. But this is no cutting-edge notion, the disutility of that sentiment of love. It's at least a couple of decades old. And old Hecht, so angry and vile in his attack on love, went back over a century to mock at least one confederate of mine, poet Matthew Arnold, and his work:

Dover Beach

The sea is calm to-night.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand;
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Aegean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

This was a call to a woman, but in metaphor to all of us, to love romantically in place of faith in gods and certainty, to find certainty in the sentiments we experience as they happen. But in getting there, he deposes religion, the power of the individual to shift the tides and not be washed in them against black shores of a random and chaotic world, and acknowledges drudgery as the existence of most (my own interpretation).

But even this call, to simply enjoy and be caught up in a more romantic place, to shelter and wrap each other in our love for one another, especially romantically, was not to be unmet by cynics and would-be advancers of the theme of futility. Sneering and sad, Hecht arrives with his retort to a long-dead better, incognizant and arrogant, broken and small, but splashy.

The Dover Bitch

So there stood Matthew Arnold and this girl
With the cliffs of England crumbling away behind them,
And he said to her, 'Try to be true to me,
And I'll do the same for you, for things are bad
All over, etc., etc.'
Well now, I knew this girl. It's true she had read
Sophocles in a fairly good translation
And caught that bitter allusion to the sea,
But all the time he was talking she had in mind
The notion of what his whiskers would feel like
On the back of her neck. She told me later on
That after a while she got to looking out
At the lights across the channel, and really felt sad,
Thinking of all the wine and enormous beds
And blandishments in French and the perfumes.
And then she got really angry. To have been brought
All the way down from London, and then be addressed
As a sort of mournful cosmic last resort
Is really tough on a girl, and she was pretty.
Anyway, she watched him pace the room
And finger his watch-chain and seem to sweat a bit,
And then she said one or two unprintable things.
But you mustn't judge her by that. What I mean to say is,
She's really all right. I still see her once in a while
And she always treats me right. We have a drink
And I give her a good time, and perhaps it's a year
Before I see her again, but there she is,
Running to fat, but dependable as they come.
And sometimes I bring her a bottle of Nuit d' Amour.

So here is the undoing of romance, the assertion of the truly vain and vapid in supremacy over the substantial emotion? Yes. Here is the debasement of sentiment and the analog to so much of the anti-romantic vogue of 40 years. Pathetic and pedantic, but celebrated as genius by a generation of people we all know as traitors to every value they once claimed ruled their ways. Hecht wrote this in 1967 to great celebration, I am sure. In response to a poem from the 1850s. Bravo.

I see the extension of the theme of the removal of certainty and the casting down of the quaint. But here, Hecht fails. I have known that great comfort and that certainty in more than one relationship, and I have known women who also held it dear and knew it from me. I have known others who knew it, too. It can fade, but it can be maintained as easily.

Aside from my assertion, that Hecht's passage was against romantic love and degrading to women and to men, that it plied mocking allusions to thematic sexual liberation and limited depth of emotion, and beyond the idea that he seemed to ignore that Arnold visited Dover Beach with his wife, not a random London lover, is that Hecht missed the point.

I pity Hecht. He was too weak, or too consumed by his life of apparent pain and his honorable but amazingly painful experiences during the liberation of Buchenwald, to protect his emotional mind from shriveling and his sarcasm from overtaking him. When the emotional mind is not strengthened, however, it is easy to subscribe to a notion that romanticism is weak itself.

We could be called in Dover Beach to not cling to our positions and risk harming each other when we are actually of like hearts. Arnold's last line, it is often said, alludes to Thucydides' account of the Battle of Epipolae (413 B.C.), a walled fortress near the city of Syracuse on Sicily. The combatants, Athenians and Syracusans, savaged each other in pitch black, unable to clearly distinguish friend from foe.

So I will cease here. Some of you who have been railed against, I do love. But I will also issue a challenge. See if there is any romantic thought, if you are so skeptical of it all, that you can hold to and nurture into something beautiful. And if you can plant that seed in yourself, or remember that notion or feeling at all, then you should try to find it everywhere that matters.

If you cannot, then I concede that, for you, it is better to have loved and lost than to not have loved at all, and a pity you will possibly never know it again. If you have never known it, then I am very much interested in how you came to be loved at all, even for a moment.

And if you have cheered me on, or been wrenched into a heartrending review of your own ideas by me, then I am honored and ask that you simply surrender a little to sentiment or romance. It does not require that you are altruistic, you do not have to be an anachronistic thinker, and you are certainly not a fool in my eyes. But then, I am an admitted fool and accused of sappiness, though I am happier in it than to be ruled by my traumas. My opinion may not count for much.

But then, if you who doubt are so smart and rational, and it is so easy to glide over the dissolution of love when you believe that it is inevitable that the comfort of romantic fire would wink out, then you had little need to have read all of this, and I am sorry for wasting your time.

Much love either way, anachronistic sentiments and all.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Miso Francisco

A few folks in my life know that, prior to being a saucier, I was a soup specialist. I would concoct soups and stews of every stripe for myself and Marcie. One that I had always planned but never done for her was a Miso. But not just any Miso.

I have eaten Miso in Japan and I have eaten it at Japanese, US-based restaurants. I like both, but the Kyoto sweet red Miso is always a cut above. With that in mind, let us explore Miso Francisco, my own twist on the soup, originally for Marcie and shared with Christi and Jane first.

-Miso Francisco-

One teaspoon of red miso per half cup of water, adjusted to taste
Kale, shredded in strips
Soy curd/Tofu, to taste (firm/extra firm only)
Kosher salt (1 tsp per 2 cups miso)
Scallions (green onions)
Panko or crispy bread crumbs (fresh)
Patience, measured but watchful

Start by making your base. After heating the water to just under boiling, let the dissolved miso simmer in the pot for a bit, but keep it below boiling. After about 10 minutes, add the Kale and Soy Curd, raising the temperature a bituntil it simmers gently again. Taste, adding salt to your liking or more miso mix if it tastes too light. Add a little bit of panko or some bread crumbs, and reserve some of your chopped scallions. Put in the rest.

After a few minutes, cut the heat to nothing and cover the pot. Miso can be left under the lid and will stay warm for some time that way. You can also cook it a bit more if you like before serving, and it should always be served by the cook, not the guests.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Dream of Love

The most difficult dream I had was what I have determined was a vision of love. But there was no ravishing greeting, no long rest in each others' company in a faraway place. The dream of love started in a long bedroom hallway.

There were pictures from the floor to a tapered ceiling a few feet over my own, the scant lines of white between them the only evidence of walls and ceilings beneath. I stopped at one and stared into the eyes of my great grandmother, Grandmommie Girvin, in an old metal pressed frame.

It was my first funeral and I remembered it vividly. The somber words, the massive turnout of the bereaved. My aunts and uncles, not just from my mother's side, but from my father's gigantic family, too.

But I moved on and came across the picture of my cat Garfield (named by my littlest sister), who I remembered jumping up into my arms when I got home, his well-groomed long hair a soft coat of Siamese-pattern points. had the face of a domestic cat, gruff and brawny, and he was like a blanket on cold winter's nights.

I moved on to a picture of my mother, from a year I did not remember well at all. But I remembered peach trees and orange trees, and I remember disappointing her by bringing home a traded-for car she thought i stole from Fed Mart. Her disappointment, mislaid as it was, was my first, six-year-old, heartbreak.

I was suddenly moving again and looking at old pals, former lovers and relatives I knew were all doing just fine, and whose pictures were flat. They hadn't uploaded yet, I thought.

And then I saw a picture of my friend Neil Roberts, from San Diego Naval Company 145. He had been my Recruit Leading Petty Officer, or RLPO or "Ral-Po," in boot camp, and a close ally in the boot camp politics, as I was the Athletic Petty Officer. These constituted important "command staff" boot camp positions that were somewhat political. He was killed in Afghanistan in heavy combat.

Pixie, my first cat, bumped his head under my palm and I told him how glad I was to see him, or her, or whatever, as I was only a small child when Pixie was alive and did know what gender, then, was all about. But greet Pixie I did.

When Grandma Pruett sauntered by and poked me, motioning with her typical Grandma grin, full of her former mischief and happy energy, I got the message, "Move on, keep going... there's something special ahead." But no words, just that smile.

And then finally I opened the door and the room beyond was nothing but pictures of Marcie and I, Marcie and Seamus, Seamus and I and all of us, pictures impossible because no one could have taken them, but see them and know them I did, each for it memorial.

Then I turned and looked on a full-length portrait of her in her blue dress. Her right hand was out in it, as if to dance, to be led. I reached to touch the glass and found myself dancing with her and smelling her again, feeling her under my hands as we spun in the soft light of the picture frame.

"You always stop and talk to everyone," she said. "But I am not worried about it anymore. You take your time, baby."

We danced and we spoke for what seemed hours, never once mentioning her death. Finally, I kissed her as the music died out and our steps clacked on the floor beneath us. She smiled and we retired to bed, wide awake.

I awoke far too soon and the sound of the paper carrier walking away from the neighbor's steps made me feel very sad.

Snappy Comeback Ginger Greens

This recipe takes preparation and a couple of days to really come out right, due to the need to have the flavors mesh before you serve them. Snappy Comeback Ginger Greens are basically a salad, but there is a certain way you handle this salad, and tossing is not part of it.

It was one of Marcie's favorites and its smell makes me gulp sometimes.

As an aside, try to use old salad dressing containers for sauces and dressings like this. This can stain scratched plastic or melt cheap containers, so GLASS ONLY! I actually saved mine in an old dressing container from a grocery store.

Snappy Comeback Dressing Ingredients:
  • 2 tbsp high-grade extra virgin olive oil (McEvoy's for example)
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tsp ground ginger, including any liquid from the root
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp roasted, ground sesame seeds (tahini)
  • two days of anticipation and giddiness
  • one small clove garlic, pan-roasted, ground

For my friends Christi and Jane, I did something a little different. I soaked a little piece of ginger in garlic-infused (cheap) olive oil instead of adding garlic, then gound that into the ginger I used for the dressing, lessening the smell so they could work with the public, but keeping a hint of the flavor for them to enjoy.

As an aside, try to use old salad dressing containers for things like this. GLASS ONLY! I actually saved mine in an old ginger dressing container from a grocery store.

After grinding and mixing all the ingredients except the honey, take some solids out and drop them into a pan on medium-high heat. Drizzle the honey over them, let them simmer to a slightly darker brown, then panic and grab the pan, scraping it into the glass container.

Shake the container once closed, then let it cool uncapped if it is warm to the touch... for a minute or so. Inhale the smell and think of the people who will enjoy it. Put it away in the refrigerator and enjoy with at least two friends, or just one romantic interest or significant other.

When serving, pour the dressing into a small bowl and dip the greens into it, then brush the remaining greens in your salad service until a thin sheen of bright oil is on the leaves.

Inhale the integrated scents as you await your loved ones, and tell them nothing of how you made it, except that you did. For them.


Monday, January 14, 2008

The Marcie Memorial Menu

So, I promised to post my recipes and my techniques. I have decided the recipes will do for now. If you want the rest, I will get to them in time. For now, enjoy the menu, the recipes and know that love went into them. There are special ingredients, you have to have them for the recipes to come out right...

The Menu for my night with Christina and Jane was:

1. Spring Rolls of Soothing Savor*
2. Snappy Comeback Ginger Greens
3. Miso Francisco
4. Heartening Dumplings and Pot Stickers*
5. Redhead Rice Marcelyn
6. Joyful Jumble Stir-Fry*

These dishes benefitted from my Cilhini spread, Auburn Sauce Christina, Sweet Hot Jane Sauce, Red Hot Marcie Dip and a little Ling Ling...

One recipe will be posted per day, folks, with sauces last. Tomorrow, I mix in the rest of the dreams. Did you think I forgot? Heck, I may last long enough to post one tonight. First, a recipe

Spring Rolls of Soothing Savor

1 package rice paper
1 cup imitation crab,
1 Haas avocado, -just- ripe
1 bag bean sprouts
1 carrot
1 cucumber
1 head butterleaf lettuce
1 sad smile
Frank's Cilhini spread-
4-7 cilantro sprigs
1 lemon

-Small bowl of Frank's Cilhini spread-

3 twists fresh ground pepper,

2 tbsp warm roasted sesame seeds,

1-2 tsp rice wine vinger (spiced okay),

1 tsp cilantro juice from crushed and squeezed herbs

Grind all ingredients with a mortar and pestle or a bowl and spoon, adding
cilantro juice at the end and holding off on vinegar until a paste is made,
then use vinegar to *just* loosen it to spreadable consistency. Set

Cut carrots and cilantro into strips, roughly 3-5 inches long, depending on your rice paper size. Cut avocado to the same rough size and drizzle with lemon to rpeserve and flavor. Fill a pan with hot (not boiling) water, and soak rice paper until clear. Pull rice paper out and place with one edge hanging off the work surface. Create a line of crab, avocado, vegetables and sprouts on a butterleaf, lay the leaf on the paper half-rolled, and roll gently.

Hold the paper a moment until it "heals up," thinking of something sad about someone you loved then set the spring roll aside, thinking about someone you love who knows why you are sad. Repeat until all the ingredients are gone. Take dabs of the Frank's Cilhini spred and drop the dollops on every other roll. Dress the mass up with cilantro garnishes and decorative vegetables, such as carrot flowers.

Makes 10 4-6" rolls that make it easier to take the good with the bad and which seem to invite more good into your life.

Much Love,


Second Thoughts

I had fully intended to stop making the food I did for Marcie after one last meal of them last night. Now I will just wait and see, and share them with people I care about. It was difficult to make these very intimate foods, but sharing them with Christi and Jane was well worth the emotional strain of reliving those Moments of Marcie in the kitchen.

Marcie was there in spirit the entire night, but quietly and with what I felt was a gentle intimacy and a steadying hand as we pored through albums and items and personal things. Thank you, honey, either for being there or for being so strong an influence on us that it felt like you were.

Christi and Jane both noted that she always had a very happy and joyous aspect. I agree, and last night it seemed to permeate the proceedings, if not because of her then in tribute to her. So I have been convinced and uplifted again to not bury but to celebrate our girl, and spread her influence.

To that end, my good readers, I will compose my secret recipes and sauce directions, my vegetable-carving and decorating techniques, and my cooking approach for the various courses.

I will give them each a name and I will offer a unified document and self-publish it for sale as well, perhaps on Amazon or eBay. But those of you who read it before I obscure the post will, of course, have no need to buy them, and I am sure that certain people will be able to convince me to just send them... we'll see.

Thank you to Christi and Jane, whose charming company and joy last night filled my house with warmth as we sifted through memories and trinkets that, otherwise, I simply cannot face. Much Love, Friends.

My break at work is almost over, so I will post more later (probably very much later).


Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Fancy Food Show

A foodie paradise settled into the San Diego Convention Center today, booth upon booth of delicious treats, sauces, oils, new twists on old favorites and the tools to apply them. The Fancy Food Show.

Marcie would be in heaven there. Marcie and I had an affinity for food. We cooked for each other, prepared food with as much show as taste, and collaborated to create dishes.

As an extra bonus to my attendance under a press pass (in order to write a nice column), Jane and Christi, the San Francisco Angels themselves, are in attendance for McEvoy Ranch.

Tonight, I will recreate one or two of those, without her, and serve Kane and Christi the dinner we planned for our anniversary. Then, I don't know if I will ever make them again. Something bland might be better from now on, at least until I connect someone else to the effort.

The food I have come to make has too much feeling in it. When you build and cook it from scratch for someone you love, it becomes assocuiateds with them. Delicious as it may be, I can't keep going back to those feelings every time I want a little nourishment.