"Red onions are especially divine.
I hold a slice up to the sunlight pouring in through the kitchen window,
and it glows like a fine piece of antique glass.
white with layers delicately edged with imperial purple...
strong, humble, peaceful...
with that fiery nub of spring green in the center..."
I have to admit I love food. I love eating it, of course; and I love selecting it; and thinking about cooking it (losing time looking at recipes); and cooking it; and watching others cook it; and looking at things to cook it with; or cut it with, or serve it in, or set it on; and trying new foods and new pairings of flavors; and talking about it.
Even focusing on eating healthfully and limiting the amount I consume, I am not trying to change my love of food. It's too much of my identity. I am just trying to focus my choices on healthy foods and healthy preparations.
So yesterday for instance, I sat overlooking my friend's garden and watching a family of quail scurrying through, guided by the male, and looking outward to the beautiful views of the hills beyond her olive trees. . . as I browsed through The California Cook--so many fresh and delicious looking desserts.
Watching People Cook
The first lunch we had here, we ate at this wonderful place called Boullette's Larder. It was what they refer to as a "working kitchen." I'm not sure, but it might have to do with the fact that there were huge stoves open right to the dining room so you could see them as they cooked. It was beautiful. Larder refers to the food store room.
And Boullette is both a French culinary term meaning "little meatball" and also the name of the dog that the owner was named for. . . and that sat right under Hubby's feet. We thought it was a folded up fluffy folded blanket. Instead it was Boullette, a Hungarian Sheep Dog. Just like in the picture, I couldn't tell which direction her head was.
That night, I sat at the bar in the kitchen of my stepson J and watched him put together paella. He has this big square/diamond? shaped cast iron skillet on his stove top that he keeps perfectly seasoned. He used it to brown the chicken legs & thighs. Then I watched him mix short grain (apparently this is key) brown rice with saffron and the canned tomatoes he put up himself from his last year's garden (the freshest smell ever) and some of his own homegrown frozen peppers (like a poblano, but he called it something else--pasilla). He chopped up half of a Spanish chorizo (not a soft chorizo he tells me, which is fattier. This one was very lean and yummy--110 calories per serving). He added some little neck clams. He covered the dish and took it out on a wood burning grill--apple wood--to finish off--tossing on some green beans (home grown of course) and fresh calamari at the end (so it wouldn't get tough). He and I "fought" to scrape the bits from the bottom of the pan.
Taste Testing Lavender Ice Cream
The subhead says it all. . .we went to an ice cream store and I had a taste of the lavender ice cream because, hey, I've never had lavender ice cream. It was good--tasted like lavender--but I didn't get it. I got a small cone of raspberry & lemon sorbet. You gotta love health and world conscious Californians. Not only did they give me a real metal spoon for my taste (no disposable plastics to clog the landfills), but they weigh each cone. . . so she scooped me a small bit of each. . really looked like my typical half cup. Lovely.
I could go on. . . and I will. . in other posts. . .
But first. . . something not so fun. . .
Bottom Heavy Stories
My dreams of swimming every day, multiple times a day have completely sunk. And it's all because of my big bottom.
I have never, ever been able to hoist myself up out of a pool. You know, how you put your hands on the side, and push up and swing your bottom left or right to get out? Or some people--like J--push up with their hands and set one foot flat on the side and stand. That is not going to happen for me.
Bottom Heavy at 10
Even as a kid when we spent summer's at the pool, I remember my friend trying to help me learn to haul myself up. It would upset me when the lifeguard would be blowing his whistle and hurrying us to get out for the pool checks and I'd have to scurry to the nearest ladder because I couldn't get up. My friend would be upset that I was upset, so she'd spend the whole next span of time until the NEXT time the whistle blew working tirelessly with me on some kind of way that I would successful get my butt up and out of the side. No success ever that I recall.
So, imagine my dismay when we got here to my friend's house with her lovely lovely pool with the stunningly beautiful views to realize there was no ladder or steps. She and her fit and taller-than-us family don't have any need for it.
Hubby has shrunk from his reported 5'6" to about 5'3 and a bit. I am 5'4 plus I have this bottom heavy issue.
So I suggested he get in first to see how it would be getting out.
He couldn't get out. He pushed and huffed and threw a toe over the side. He tried floating on a noodle, then 2, then 3, then 4. He walked the full perimeter trying each side. It wasn't happening. Despite my heft, trying to pull him up seemed unwise. . .
So finally, I got a plastic Adirondack chair from the lawn and set it in the pool . . . crossing my fingers that it wouldn't rip the lining. . . he had to stand on the ARM, not just the seat, to get out. This did not look promising for me.
Bottom Heavy at 46
And, hell, who are we kidding? I could barely get my fat ass down to the edge of the pool. . . hefting myself down and up is not an easy trick, nor pleasant to witness, or experience.. . or admit . . . or think about. . .
So I am afraid to get in and frustrated and sad. . . and feeling a bit like Scarlett, "As God as my witness I'll never" . . . let this happen again. I clearly haven't been exercising enough to recover some amount of shape. Hauling myself up from the barn through the olive trees, I lag woefully far behind and have to stop to breathe and try to nonchalantly rest again before climbing the porch stairs.
And Hubby said to me immediately, as soon as he was freed from the pool . . . don't get depressed about not being able to swim. . .But who wouldn't feel bad?