< June 28, 1998 >

Hot Home Day

It was hard to get up around 10, but I thought that since Charlie's flight was at 1, it'd be good to get breakfast done before eleven, so that he could get to his flight without a problem. Did the Dutch apple pancake, and served it with a bit of vanilla non-fat yogurt. John made coffee and we all sat around reading the Sunday paper. John and Charlie got into a long talk about Land Rovers and I clipped Fezzik's toenails, which he really hates having done, but it was simple enough to do them.

Then Charlie packed up and went after a good, solid hug.

I read for part of the afternoon, watched some T.V. and John took apart the rotting patio out back. We had a dinner set up with John's parents, so John asked if we could bring pita bread for the bread of the dinner and they said that it'd be just fine. So I pulled out the last of the dough, rolled it all out, put a bread stone that we'd bought yesterday in the oven and heated everything up hot. Then I baked all the rest of the dough on the stone, one bread at a time. Basically, I had to just place them on the hot stone by hand and then for the first two minutes they'd cook and bake and in the last minute they would puff up into a pillow, splitting themselves into the two characteristic layers of a pita bread. It still seems, to me, to be a little bit like magic. It was hot work. The weather had swung all the way from steady rain Friday night to completely clear skies and hot temperatures in the low eighties.

When all the bread was done it was so bright and sunny outside that I finally just had to go out and pick huckleberries.

The local huckleberry bushes give tiny red berries, tart and fragrant they were lovely to eat baked into muffins, scones, or pancakes. But they're a pain to pick mostly because they're so small. But I hung a coffee can around my neck with a string and just commenced picking.

Half an hour later I had about two cups of berries, John had finished demolishing the porch and had taken a shower and we were to go to his parents' for dinner. Dinner was fun and we caught up with one another and the Rostyki liked my pita bread. That was cool. Then we finished with the finale and reason for our visit, which was with shortbread, ice cream, and the huge bowlful of raspberries that Isabel had picked from the vines in their backyard. It is very good to see just how solid a family they are, and how they support each other. Hope about families is always a good thing, though sometimes I wonder if I could ever really sustain it the way they do, or if I'll just blow it with my stupid temper. Sometimes.

The ride home in the Stoat was balmy, cool and lovely. The sunset had a few clouds in the sky that burned brilliant, shocking pink and bright purple against a dust blue and then dusky gold cored with deep rose sky. A far more astonishing display than the utterly clear evening sky of the day before.

I spent an hour then watching Pepin's cooking techniques video and learned more about kitchen prep of vegetables than I'd ever thought to learn. Really nice stuff for fast and easy prep that made a lot of the drudgery stuff a lot faster and easier. A few mysteries, like cleaning a leek or getting to the heart of an artichoke were cleanly cleared up, and a few old familiars got new twists, like just taking a roasting fork, sticking it into a green pepper and roasting it until the skin is black nearly *on* a gas burner was a new thing to me. Or roasted tomatos, for that matter. Also the strength of garlic being relative to how much it is crushed was an interesting bit of information for later experimentation.

I'd seen his show on how to cut apart a chicken, and I'll likely have to watch it and try it again sometime.

© 1998 by Liralen Li.

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