Seven years ago Kentucky-born author Barbara Kingsolver published Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life (along with her husband and daughter). Daughter Mary gave me a copy for Mother's Day 2007, which I eagerly read. I keep it by my bedside and pick it up from time to time and reread sections, based on the time of year.
Last night, I re-read Kingsolver's entry for late June, which she entitled: Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast. In the first part of the chapter, she writes about the importance of the family meal and the creative opportunities that come with cooking. As I read these paragraphs, all I could think about was that Ms. Kingsolver is preaching to the choir. Amen.
For example, she describes dinnertime as "the cornerstone of our family's mental health", and estimates that "75 percent of my crucial parenting effort has taken place during or surrounding the time our family convenes for our evening meal." Amen. She notes that cooking is the great divide between good eating and bad and points out: "It's easy for any of us to claim no time for cooking; harder to look at what we're doing instead, and why every bit of it is presumed more worthy." Amen.
If you haven't read this book – or haven't read it in a long time – I hope you will pick it up and find the chapter that corresponds to the time of year when you do pick it up, and join the choir...
I baked a frittata this morning with ingredients from the garden and the fridge. It had a dozen farm-fresh eggs from neighbor Vivian in it, along with kale and tomatoes from the garden, a shallot, a few crumbles of bacon, and some ends of cheeses from the cheesemaker at the LaGrange Farmers' Market, plus an almost-full container of ricotta cheese that was hiding in the back of the refrigerator. I can't share the recipe, as I made it up as I went along, but I can tell you that it was delicious. The perfect thing for a summer noon meal – and it makes for some lovely leftovers. Amen.