I came home from a weekend in Atlanta, a working weekend with some kickass people I’m so glad to be on a professional journey with, and instead of feeling my usual get-it-all-done rush, when I saw my little gentlemen waiting to pick me up at the metro station, everything else seemed like it could wait. We went to the market, got stuff for dinner and lunches, made a ruckus in the aisles (if they play I Get So Emotional over the loudspeakers at Whole Foods, they are basically asking us to dance/me to sing). I’d brought them back these hilarious plates (above) and they rolled their eyes (my older son’s favorite thing to say to me is “Why are you like this?” while he laughs at some nonsense I’m insisting on) but then couldn’t help arranging a mohawk and beard out of kumquats. We talked about watching baseball (Nats vs Orioles 4 game series is apparently about to be all we watch–the other weekend, we had to listen to baseball on a drive), a little about feminism and sex (my younger son had family life in school), about the upcoming season of The Flash, about liking girls (we discussed whether the most important quality of a girl you like is whether she’s smart or whether she’s nice–neither of them even brought up looks, which I felt pretty great about).
I used to do a cooking blog, which was followed mostly by my real life friends and other mom-nerds from the Internet. Once I even met up with another nerd-mom-blogger who happened to be in DC. When I began to write in earnest (or rather with honesty), I migrated it over here. In italics below is a post that I found way in the back of the unpublished archives here, and I thought I’d share it with you. If you scroll way, way, down, there’s a prompt. You can skip the recipe/stroll down memory lane and get right to poetry if you prefer. No hurt feelings.
So I have been looking at these two cans of salmon on the shelf for a while now, and today a sparse pantry and a little guy who needed some attention conspired to turn them into salmon cakes. This was an improvised recipe that turned out really well. Hurricane got a kick out of being the chef–he even cracked his very first egg–until he decided he was just “too tired.” They were sweet and spicy and delicious. There are some things I will do differently next time, and some that I won’t.
Photos by Shark–he really got into the photography since Hurricane was doing the cooking.
Into the food processor goes:
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
2 green chilies (depending on your heat needs–we had some from a friends garden that were all flavor and no heat, I should have used more, in hindsight)
1 T green curry paste (you could totally do without this if you don’t have it on hand)
1 T brown sugar
1 T fish sauce
2 T soy sauce–though perhaps salt would have been better, since it would have decreased my need for the breadcrumbs later
Zest of one lime
Blend these well, then add in two small cans of salmon or tuna. Give it a quick whirl–Hurricane over did it, and we lost the flaky consistency of the fish. Move it all to a big bowl and add:
1/4 cup bread crumbs (you may need less or more, depending on how it all goes)
1/2 a red bell pepper, diced
3 green onions, sliced fine
And your poem, because we’re a week from Mother’s Day, and the flowers are blooming. You can hear Simone White read it by clicking the link:
Hour in which I consider hydrangea, a salt or sand plant, varietal, the question of varietals, the diet of every mother I know, 5 pounds feels like 20, I have lost … I have lost, yes, a sense of my own possible beauty, grown external, I externalize beauty. Beauty occurs on the surface of plants; the sun darkens the skin of my child, he is so small, he is beautiful (I can see; it is obvious) and everything about him is beautiful. His hand swells from the bite [spread?] of some insect[’s] venom because he is small. He appears to feel nothing. He smashes his skull against the floor. He screams. I hold him in my lap on the kitchen floor in front of an open freezer, pressing a pack of frozen clay against his forehead. He likes the cold. I see; it is so obvious. Hydrangea. When I move, when I walk pushing my child’s stroller (it is both walking and pushing or hauling, sometimes, also, lifting; it is having another body, an adjunct body composed of errand and weight and tenderness and no small amount of power), I imagine I can feel this small amount of weight, this 5 pounds like 20, interfering with the twitch of every muscle in my body. As an object, a mother is confusing, a middle-aged mother with little spare flesh, I feel every inch of major muscle pulling against gravity and against the weight of my child, now sleeping. This is the hour for thinking hydrangea. Let no man look at me. I stop to brush the drowsy child’s little eye. His face. He barely considers his mother. I am all around him. Why should he consider what is all around him? Perhaps what is missing is a subtle power of differentiation. I am in, therefore, a time of mass apprehensions.
Write about a mother you know. Yours, or you, or one you see wrestling with a toddler who will not take another step on the sidewalk. Start with this line: “Perhaps what is missing is…”