It’s been too long.
And it’s so hard to jump back in when you’ve been away. Let’s begin somewhere, anywhere and see where we wind up. Okay?
In all this time, I’ve been thinking about Mangoes & Mojitos so, so much. We’re coming up on a three-year anniversary and although some things have changed in my life and within this blog, most things — the core of what I’m trying to do in the kitchen and how I live my life are the same.
Simple, simple, simple. Feeding myself and my family whole and honest foods, the fewer the ingredients the better, wasting very little. Taking the time necessary to simmer, caramelize, bring out the primary flavors of my childhood —
garlic, olive oil, parmesan cheese, lemon, parsley, toasted slices of good bread.
I’ve had another birthday. The more I seem to try to get lost within all this aging, the more I keep bumping into myself. Take for instance, my hands. Always submersed in warm water, reaching in and out of a hot oven, floured at times, oiled…. I’ve taken them for granted and now they need my care. I’m thinking a good moisturizer and nightly hand massage.
When I look at them, I see a few more light brown freckles resting on skin that looks a little more… “softened” to me than I remember. Tender blue veins, like swollen rivers, carry my life out to the tips of my fingers. They are my mother’s hands and they are her mother’s hands. I notice also the vertical ridges in my ring-finger’s nail. Those belong to my Nana. And I know this because I used to paint her fingernails for her when I was just old enough to get more polish on her nails than her fingers.
It is comforting to know that my hands are a sort of looking-glass into the past, connecting me with the strong, working women of my family and that they are always with me in the daily rituals of chopping, stirring, kneading and washing. They appear when I’m putting a bandage on my child’s skinned knee, jotting notes during a chef interview, hanging clothes out to dry, holding my husband’s hand on one of our walks. They remind me that I’m not the first and I’ m not the last but in some way, will always be.