Let's get to it.
This time of year, produce is plentiful. And I don't want a lick of it to go to waste, so I've been hunkering down, preparing as much as I can and preserving the rest. And eating my weights worth in fresh tomatoes topped with salt and olive oil. So I've been in the kitchen. A lot.
It's no surprise to anyone who has ever met me that I like to be in the kitchen. I come from a long line of kitchen dwellers. But it is not without trepidation that I embrace my time there, and embrace it I usually do. And if I don't feel like embracing it, I just get out. But lately I've been thinking about how Beckett's view will influence how he thinks of women. I attribute the fact that my partner chose me, or a woman like me, is partially because he had a strong, working mother. I don't want Beckett's most powerful memories of me to be in the kitchen, as mine are of my mother. I hold those memories tight and close to my heart, but it took me a long time to realize that my mom's power is so much more wide-reaching than the home. And I think it took her a while, too.
There was a time when I beamed at the attention I got for being one of the few young women who knew how to cut up a chicken or make dinner for more than two people. Then something happened. Well, many large and small things happened, but I only have time for one little part of it. I was 19, taking a break from a school and living on my own for the first time in Seattle. I was dating a 30 year old, and by dating, I mean that I was going on dates with him erratically, which I found out later was because he could only see me when his girlfriend was out of town. I am trying to paint this guy like an asshole, because he was. Anyways, I was making us dinner one evening and I must have been looking rather womanly, because he said, "You belong in a vineyard in Italy, barefoot and pregnant, making pasta for your in-laws. "
Huh? What did that even look like? Was it because I was wearing a dress? I probably was not wearing a dress--it was not a dress wearing time in my life. Was it because of my olive skin and dark hair. I was blond at the time and am much more pink that olive. All of this to say, whatever that looked like, it was not me.
Sadly, his comment did not prompt me to call turn the other way running as it should have and as I eventually, much later, did. But it did elicit a quick and succinct: "Fuck off." Which is the reaction he was looking for from me. I freaked out, he thought it was cute, I was cold, he was cunning. You can imagine the rest.
I hate to admit it now, but I actually liked that he was sort sexist and the tension it caused. Maybe I should file this under "One of the many reasons 19 year olds should be weary of a 30 year old man who dates exclusively 18-21 year old women." Or chalk it up to being young. Whatever it was, it was the first time that made me question how my feminist values coincided with my love for almost all things things homemaking. I think I have more perspective now, and at very least, I'm more comfortable with dichotomies in myself (and others).
To me, growing and making food is political. It makes me feel powerful and self-sustaining. I like the culture of people who like to cook. It fits right in with my value system. At the risk of sounding terribly cliche, I think growing and cooking more food could help save the world.
But I also rebel against it sometimes. Conversations in which I complain about being the one has to constantly think about what meal is around the corner abound in our household. I also know that my time in the kitchen is sometimes taken away from being a fun and spontaneous partner and, now, mother. It also influences my professional self, because no matter how much I don't want them to think of me as the type of teacher who bakes in all of her free time, I feel like it is my personal responsibility to bring brownies to my students.
So I'll keep cooking, but make sure that Beckett sees me outside of the kitchen a lot. And he sees his dad in the kitchen with me, and on his own (you have to try the man's fried tofu).
It is with pride that I give you this recipe for, maybe, your new weekend bruch go-to recipe. Go pick some plums from someone's tree and make it. You won't regret it.
Sourdough Pancakes with Green Gage Plum Sauce
2 cup Sourdough Starter (this is how I make mine)
1 cup flour
2 eggs (leave out for flatter, more crepe-like pancakes)
1 T real maple syrup (or brown sugar)
2 T melted salted butter
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
Something fatty for frying them, I like the flavor of coconut oil
1. The night before it's pancake time, get a medium-large mixing bowl (big enough to hold about 6 cups) Combine the flour with the sourdough starter, put a plate over the top of the bowl and let sit overnight.
2. The next morning, add the following ingredients (everything except the baking soda is optional) and mix together.
3. You know the rest. Melt fat, cook the pancakes.
3 T of butter
10 Green Gage Plums, seeded and quartered (any other kind works well. Italian are prettiest, but I like the tartness of Green Gage. These pictures show a combo)
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of vanilla
quick shake of cardamom
scant 1/4 cup maple syrup (or brown sugar)
1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan on medium-high until it bubbles
2. Put the plums in, occasionally smashing as they cook down, about fifteen minutes.
3. Add spices and sweetness, cook for another 5 minutes on low or until it reaches your desired thickness.