Since getting backed on my kickstarter cookbook project I have been in full panic mode. I have so much work to do to finish the book in time to get it to Torrey Douglass, our phenomenal book designer, to get it to our publisher, to get it to those of you who graciously bought copies and backed my project. A rather shameless plug for my book is right here:bit.ly/KickstartSunshine. You are encouraged to still back my kickstarter campaign as we have set a stretch goal to cover a possible book tour. Many thanks.
Today’s project was a full on recipe writing and photography session in our new temporary housing in NW Portland. I love our new spot but the circumstances of being here are less than ideal. The kitchen is miniscule and counter space almost non-existent. It’s a rather long story so I will skip it for now. I poured myself a glass of a luscious chilled rose from Provence and began prepping my dish. I suppose rose is probably the incorrect wine to drink on the first rainy cold weekend since early last Spring but it just seemed to prime my mood and get me going in the correct direction. During the course of moving everything out of our old house, I came across an old cooking journal from my time at Pili Pili in Chicago back 12 years ago. I leafed through the collection of recipes and fixated on one, raviolis made from leftover Artichoke Barigoule and fresh Goat Cheese. It sounded so wonderful and comforting, I decided to make it today. The plan was for Lisa to grab Beau and keep him occupied while I did everything then we would meet at the lunch table and eat.
We had taken a long morning walk in the cool rain at Fort Vancouver, less than ten minutes from our new digs. On the way back Beau became increasingly needy and demanded quite a bit of attention. I was getting irritated because I have a lot to do and for me to focus I need time to think and space to create. After fighting it for a few minutes I decided to take the beast on straight ahead. I invited Beau to join me ravioli making. Secretly I wished he would have turned me down and opt for watching another episode of the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. No such luck. He grabbed his small chair and pulled it firmly up to where I was working.
Beau is going through a phase where he says he does not like something he previously has loved. The subject of his scrutiny today was artichokes. He wrinkled his nose when I told him what we were making. Sadly in American schools the thought of proper meals is not yet happening. I think they opt more for the shut the kids up and make something ‘kid friendly’. If they served ravioli at his school no doubt they were cheap frozen cheese raviolis in a mediocre tomato sauce. Only in France do you see love and care going into children’s meals and a program to teach them how to eat properly at the table.
I laughed at the concept of “kid meals”, refusing to make them most of my career. I never could understand why small children could not eat/would not eat a simple roast chicken or a piece of fish like their parents. The idea still eludes me, though now I think I understand why. We seem to fear our children and let them run around like miniature Napoleons rather than say no. We enable their eating disorders by feeding them macaroni and cheese, chicken fingers and endless streams of burgers drenched in sugary ketchup. But this is a rant for yet another day. Perhaps one where I am not feeling the pressure of finishing a massive project.
Beau feigns complete disgust at my raviolis and then digs into them with as much gusto as a starving Italian returning home to his grandmother’s house in Italy after being away in a food desert for three years. He attacked them, moaning when I would not let him eat yet another. I had to mock him a bit when he asked for extra artichokes and more tomato confit. Someday I will share a glass of wine and laugh about this phase with him.
The greatest treasure I will carry to my grave will be the fond memories of sharing afternoons together like this. It’s the shared moments that lend meaning to life. The confidence Beau feels from starting a process and finishing it. The excellent memories he will enjoy his entire life of the the father that loved him to the Moon and back. I do not think you can properly or fully understand love till you become a father or mother. There is something so wonderfully beautiful about moments like this. I am not even sure I could put words to the feeling; suffice to say I feel content and happy with my place in the world tonight. The recipe will be published in my upcoming book ‘Cuisine of the Sun, a Ray of Sunshine of your Plate’. Please support my project at: bit.ly/KickstartSunshine