Saturday, December 12, 2009

Nothing Happened

Willa Cather wrote:

"I sat down in the middle of the garden, where snakes could scarcely approach unseen, and leaned my back against a warm yellow pumpkin....The earth was warm under me, and warm as I crumbled it through my fingers. Queer little red bugs came out and moved in slow squadrons around me. Their backs were polished vermilion, with black spots. I kept as still as I could. Nothing happened. I did not expect anything to happen. I was something that lay under the sun and felt it, like the pumpkins, and I did not want to be anything more. I was entirely happy."

The plots of Cather's books are not what I remember.  I remember her sentences.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Turkey by Any Other Name


I drove to Michigan to spend Thanksgiving with my son and daughter-in-law. She was born in Chile and though she grew up in Canada, culinary traditions (like a mother tongue) seem to stay with us. So for Thanksgiving instead of the usual stuffed turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and after-dinner somnolence, we had delicious empanadas--stuffed with turkey. Empanadas are hand-made pastries (flour, butter, milk) filled with all manner of flavors--turkey, onion, raisins, hard-boiled eggs and spices such as cardamom.

The result is a light but filling treat, great with spinach salad and a Spanish red wine.

My contribution to the meal was cupcakes--yellow batter, chocolate icing made with Hershey's cocoa--like the ones I used to make for my son when he was a boy. Not fancy, but enjoyed by all.

There are pleasures and surprises when one is old enough to have children who are grown-ups, capable in their own right. I am a visitor now; but they are hospitable and endlessly interesting, opening new worlds to me.