I long for connectedness, wanting to hold on to the people of whom I’ve let go. In a move, in growing up, across the country, across time, I think that’s what we do when we cook. We don’t only connect with people across the table; we connect with people across our lives. Food is magical that way; it’s memory.
It’s true for music and movies, too. Books. I love the idea, for example, of snuggling into bed knowing that a loved one is snuggling into his bed, falling asleep to the same movie, the same talk radio station, the same anything. It’s a way to connect when we can’t. Cooking the same recipe on the same night, each in our own kitchen, is a way to touch. Drinking the same wine. There’s an intimacy there, a sleepy tangle of closeness when you can’t be.
It’s also a way to stir up the comfort of a past life. Your mother’s spanakopita, your grandmother’s latke recipe. It’s why for Thanksgiving I’m reaching out, asking friends and readers to share their favorite staple, can’t live without it, dish. A friend from Texas told me she couldn’t survive Thanksgiving without her mother’s Hot Fruit Casserole. “A staple!!!” I now need to know about it, something to do with a can of cherry pie filling? This both disgusts and fascinates me. I love this idea of bringing those for whom you’re most thankful right up to your Thanksgiving table, all without encroaching on your elbow room. True, it’s unrealistic to imagine loading up my table with a dish to represent each meaningful friendship, but I wouldn’t mind trying. Perhaps we play the same dinner playlist, make the same “tablescape,” set the kids table up with the same crafts. I’m sending this post to friends, asking for something. A dish, a song, a photo of a table setting–I’m not picky. I want more of you in my life.
It’s also fun to think, “What would my signature dish be?” The dish others would have on their tables to represent YOU. I need to post this signature dish this week.
In the coming month, perhaps I’ll post each day the movie to which I’ll be falling asleep, so we can have a sleepover, experiencing a little of the same life, despite living different ones. Much love and toasty snuggly cheers, smooches and hugs from a lush who’s ready to plan her drink of choice in advance, just so we can share that, too.
Tonight’s cocktail: “Saucy Apple for a Tart”
1/4 gallon apple cider
1/2 cup dark rum
1/2 cup cinnamon schnapps (or Starbucks “Cinnamon Dolce sugar-free” or regular to taste + 1/2 cup vodka)
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cut into large chunks (using a Honeycrisp)
1/2 lemon, juiced (I don’t have one, so I’m using the lemon juice from the bottle because it’s just to keep the apples from browning)
Mix the cider, rum, and schnapps in a large pitcher. Add the apples to a small bowl and toss with lemon juice. Thread the diced apples onto skewers. Pour the spiked cider into glasses filled with ice, then garnish with an apple skewer and serve. That’s me tonight as I watch Homeland in my jammies.