Monday, January 17, 2011
The night before last, I had a dream. It was my wedding day. We were on the porch of wherever the wedding was being held, when I realized that the Fiance and I had never talked about what the ceremony would consist of. No vows, no officiant, no readings selected. Nothing. I frantically scribbled a list of names and some quotes from memory on a napkin and cried to Mom that I didn't understand how we could have forgotten to plan such an essential component. Then I realized I had never contacted a florist and how would we get decorations in time, what with the wedding happening in an hour or so! I tearfully settled on wilted neon daisies from the deli and thought how? how did this happen?? I didn't have long to wallow though, as I suddenly remembered that I was scheduled to perform in a show the night after the wedding and had failed to learn my lines. "I'll just have to carry my script!" I declared despairingly. "You can't do that," Mom said. "It's a performance. You'll have to make time to learn the lines."
I woke up, sweaty and only somewhat relieved.
Because you see, while there's still time, and I promise you I will not be doing a show the day after the wedding, and I'm sure I'll find a florist and put together some kind of a meaningful ceremony, all of this is dependent on me--no, US--actually living through the next nine months. And with the way things are going, I'm not sure I will.
I realize I'm being a tad overly dramatic. And I tell myself to shut up and check in with reality on a regular basis. I mean, seriously, I found the person I want to spend my life with, and incredibly enough, he feels the same way! And now we're getting married. Which means we get to have all the important people in our lives together in one place, to celebrate us and bear witness to this big, lovely, loving step. Does it really matter whether this occurs under a big white tent or a ceiling with exposed steel beams??
When I was in third grade, I think, we had a computer class, where each student sat down in the library in a tiny plastic bucket chair, basking in the green glow of those old PC screens. We were taught how to open a new word processing document and instructed to write whatever we wanted--a story about anything we liked. It wasn't a writing exercise, just an attempt to get our fingers familiar with the keyboard, to learn to connect the cursor with the place we wanted to add a word. During parent-teacher conferences, my teacher told Mom and Dad about how frustrating this was for me. While all the other kids clicked away happily all period, writing about dragons and princesses and beating up their little brothers, I twisted in my seat, furrowing my brow, crossing my legs, examining my nails, and generally brooding in an elaborate attempt to foster the inspiration necessary to write something really worthwhile. By the time I had settled on an idea, lifting my pointer finger to strike the first key, the period was over and we had to go to lunch.
Well, it seems not much has changed. Saying yes to the Fiance's proposal took about two seconds (once I realized he wasn't joking).
Choosing the location, date, and every other detail of this wedding is taking what feels like a lifetime.
Making choices has always been part of an agonizing dance I do with myself which involves the weighing of pros and cons, the mourning of the roads not taken, the imagining of all possible unexpected considerations, and a healthy dose of self-examination, emotional gymnastics, and snacks.
I realize, though, if I ever want to fit into a wedding dress, I cannot snack my way through every decision. That is, not if the snacks continue to be salt and vinegar potato chips. So, instead I plan on making and eating this salad as much as possible. I'll need the vitamins to get through this phase of planning. Take that, wedding industry! I refuse to be swept up in your tidal wave of white poof, archaic anti-feminist customs, hideous rental chairs, MOST IMPORTANT DAY OF YOUR LIFE, nonsense. Talk to the kale.
(shown above with sausage and peppers over garlic bread)
This was inspired by a salad Chef Josh served one night, and a recipe he has for a "Winter Panzanella Salad with butternut squash, croutons, and kale. If you email him, I bet he'd share the recipe...
It never occurred to me to eat kale raw, as I'd previously only cooked it down into near oblivion to soothe the bitter bite. But it turns out, it's fantastically delicious in this form, and makes for a great hearty winter-time lettuce alternative. And since it's raw, you're getting the maximum dose of all its healthy leafy green properties. I made a version for our Christmas dinner, and its crunchy, acidic, and inescapably healthy flavor was a perfect foil to the rest of the rich meal.
Here's how I do it:
1 Bunch or so of kale (I like Lacinato or Tuscan Kale. I think the curly variety you often find in supermarkets is better cooked.)
Remove stems and spines, and slice thinly.
2 large shallots, sliced thinly
3 T or so of Cider Vinegar
6 oz grated cheese like very sharp cheddar or gruyere might work
6 T or so of Olive Oil (for both sauteeing shallots and to finish salad)
(optional: couple handfuls of sliced almonds)
(optional: add 2 T of chicken stock)
Clean kale and remove stems and spines, slice thinly and put in bowl. Slice shallots thinly and sautee in a good amount of olive oil over medium high heat until translucent and fragrant. Pour shallots and oil over kale while hot. Squeeze lemon over kale, add cider vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Add a bit more olive oil, and toss. Taste it and adjust with more lemon or vinegar if it needs acidity, or more salt and olive oil or chicken stock to your taste. Add cheese and almonds (if using), toss and serve. I find the kale tastes best if you let it sit with the dressing for a bit before eating.