Our weekend ended with a bang, just before I served last night’s dinner. And this wasn’t the good kind of bang I had planned after an afternoon of cooking for our Labor Day meal.
It had been a long holiday weekend and we had spent it enjoying the final days of freedom before the grind of the new school year began today. It’s funny, when I was younger the school year was so exciting – new subjects, new teachers, reuniting with classmates and last, but not least, all of those freshly sharpened pencils and new composition books. Now it just means back to routines and the grind. I guess when you’re not the one returning to school the fun parts aren’t there.
On one Saturday we visited Annie and went to an outdoor art show in Smithville, NJ, where one of her summer coworkers was exhibiting. It was a good break for her after the first week back to college and the reality that sophomore year might just be more challenging than freshman year. I agree, life isn’t fair.
At the art show, we found the art was more eclectic than normal, with some to my taste, and some that I wouldn’t hang in the garage. The food was better than expected, for such a tourist-y town. Just take a look at this bacon, gouda, avocado burger. So good. Unless you’re vegetarian, you know you want one too.
The omnipresent avian life was dramatic.
Many fancy roosters wandered around greeting all of the visitors when we arrived at the outdoor show. I prefer my fowl with less attitude, but they were much friendlier than the flock of geese that hunted us down as we walked to our car on the way back.
On the way home we stopped at a farm stand for our weekly supply of peaches and saw this overwhelming crush of tomatoes. I was exhausted just looking at them, as they patiently waited for someone to convert them into Sunday gravy. I didn’t volunteer.
The following day we went to the Delaware Valley Bluegrass Festival, a quirky taste that Joe and I share.
I love the mandolin and harmonies. Joe loves the guitar work. And Louisa, well, she was there to escape being stuck home alone with summer reading.
Yesterday brought a crashing end to our summer and weekend. I decided to cook a special meal for such a momentous day as the end of summer. I smoked a whole chicken which, as always, took twice as long as anticipated. But the smoke flavor was worth the wait. But the big excitement came with the side dish. I cooked the spaghetti squash we received last week in our farm share. I made a special tomato sauce for it using fresh and canned tomatoes, sliced mushrooms, cherry peppers, garlic, anchovy paste, salt and pepper. It simmered for hours. I mixed the whole thing together and couldn’t wait to try my creation. My latent vegetarian personality was much more excited about this dish than I was over the chicken, as good as the chicken turned out.
Until… wait for it… while moving the fry pan from one counter to the other, I grabbed the end of the pan’s handle in such a way that it wasn’t balanced. And the whole thing tipped out of my hand, spilling all over the kitchen floor. You should have seen the look of disappointment on Louisa’s face. Not.
I couldn’t laugh. I couldn’t cry. I didn’t curse. I simply cleaned up the floor and accepted that this dish wasn’t meant to be. Zen philosophy in action, mixed with a little Italian mother guilt.
Since last night I’ve been thinking about hanging up my cooking apron. What do you think?
Has anything like this ever happened to you?