Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Horned Girl & Other Bedtime Stories

These pictures stir fleeting memories in various stages of my childhood - and  deeply, so that I am suddenly floating in someone's bed - maybe between Baka and Dedo, they are reading the Bible and I am looking at the pictures in my Grimm Fairy Tales book, snuggled or stuck in the middle of the warmth.  Baka is clucking, not so silently, one blue eye on the grimly lit strangely arousing illustrations while her finger follows the path of the psalms. I am five.

And, in love always with the maiden and the Bull Headed man..stories of the deep forest and the patiently waiting white horse....tricky territory in an adolescent girls mind. I am lounging in the small patch of grass by the pool, below the concrete balcony under the sleepy gaze of the maids' eyes. Maybe I'm eleven.

The horned girl reminds me of my Girl in the future. The Secret is so strong in them and they are mad for it and protect it at all costs. Beautiful. I maybe thirteen.

Back at four in Baka's kitchen. I'm pretty sure Bakica had a little picture like this taped on the inside of one of her cupboards. Lest she forget to clean, clean, clean...those stains of sin are hard to clean off, Boze sacuvaj, the sins of others against you even harder. "Scrub!" orders that Mean Father Sun.

As I grew up and returned to her kitchen with the ever patient and oppressive cross of Christ the Martyr in the corner I prayed to the moon in spite. Not the Son, not the Sun. That fat cat, always pushing his rays in your face and elsewhere, omnipotent Apollo, pushy motherfucker.

The Moon, instead, soft light & ghostly luminescence, white satin, teletransporter into magic, star studded liberty. Pliable. Willing to fly.

via @goldenagecb

Illustrations one, two and three are by Artus Scheiner and can be found on the Flicker stream of one Josef Skrhola

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Afternoon Cake

One of my writer colleagues in the Global Niche workshop I am taking, mentioned a blog called Sassy Radish the other day and I went and checked it out.  I found a recipe that was totally to my liking.

I decided to make it on the spot.

My 'afternoon cake' inspired by the Sassy Radish

It appealed to the time-starved/mom/domestic goddess in me. The link to this lovely recipe is here and I suggest not only that you make the cake but also that you stay a while on Olga's blog and check out the rest of her savvy. 

Pomegranates & Grapes

I took the Sassy Radish on her word when she said the recipe was easy. It was. I sighed relief when she said substitutions were allowed. I even believed her when she said no baking soda or powder, because as luck would have it I had neither. I also had no berries or nuts. I did have grapes and pomegranates and
I added coconut oil when I discovered I only had 3/4 of a stick of butter left 

Lemon zest in everything
My mom and I say 'the Bosnian way' - which pretty much means vague measurements. I'm sure its common throughout cooking history in every culture on the planet. Passed down through generations from elders with their busy hands to granddaughters with their busy eyes. 

Once out of the oven this cake was moist and dense, almost cookie like. I feel the butter might not have been cool enough when I stirred it in the flour so it seemed a bit gloopy at first. (which the SR specifically addresses...) None of which mattered at 2am in the morning when I ate a piece. Or at 8am in the morning when I had another piece, at which point it had solidified a bit and was nice and chewy.

Ok. It was good at 4 in the afternoon too, when I had to share some with The Girl who was fresh home from school.

As a writer who often writes about food and a home cook myself, I am so appreciative of the many dedicated and talented food bloggers who take time and love in the kitchen to bring warmth and goodness to our homes and families. 

In an ironic twist, this is probably the best chocolate chip
cookie I will ever make...
Ciao ciao

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Stain of Pomegranates


When I was a little girl I didn't like the taste of pomegranate juice like I do now. I just didn't know the value of the stuff. That's how it is when you are young.

When pomegranates were readily available and not expensive at the market we had them at our house.  My grandmother soaked them in the sink in cold water and then with lots of newspapers spread out on the kitchen table the two of them, she and my grandfather, would coax the pearly red seeds out of their fleshy home.  Into a bowl they went and then some sort grinding would go on.  After that, pouring and separating with colanders here and there and white cloth over  bowls and more pouring of juice with funnels. From this elaborate madness of mismatched cookware there would miraculously  appear six or eight or whatever, glass bottles of dark red stain - blue almost - so dark, the color of red.

In the afternoons, after nap time, the cousins from downstairs were called up and we would all sit in the tiny kitchen at the table with the secret drawer. Baka would put clean glasses onto the round tablet with her hands still stained and slowly she would measure out the scarlet liquid. She added ice cold mountain water from the faucet and carefully put our glasses in front of us. We drank, staring at each other, making faces and smacking darkened lips.  Baka looking out the window behind us, at the mountains, thinking to herself.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Little Boxes and Big

 I am sitting at my makeshift kitchen table with the mismatched Ottomans. Contemplating. The boxes behind the bakers rack have been piled up there now for more than a month. I plan to fold them up and put them in The Constant Storage for the next time I need to move. I will do this  because as lessons go, we learn that boxes, toilet paper, half bottles of expensive shampoo and all that 'crap' that you want to throw into the trash bin when moving so you don't have to schlep it around  - that crap costs money to repurchase. 'I have become money conscientious', I say to myself smugly. {My family who use me as a textbook example of wild abandon shake their heads collectively}

There is a subtler truth though. Zebra's don't really change their stripes, silly family.

It is this: even though I know it won't last long, I think I am muddling about in various stages of grief.

The scoop:
Recently we all moved out of the lulling Mother Home and my free spirit allowed itself to reawaken, giving in to my life long love of travel. Through my adolescence we moved to far flung places in the world with my dashing army officer father. During my 20's and 30's I made Europe and the two US coasts a priority. I opened up businesses, married,  researched, worked and had plenty of adventures. That was fun.
Now, more fun. Working the deep blue currents, taking care with family, dreaming and talking more than doing: that was over. The chance came. We moved. And the move changed everything.

But was temporary.
And we are back...home?

 I look at the boxes in my kitchen, so many I can barely get out the back door,  as sort of a talisman. For now, I am processing  'that which could have been but was not' and the boxes stay.  Everyday, a bit at a time, I guess, I will have to indulge in all the things that I experienced that brought me further along my path in the world by moving.  Soon, the boxes will get thrown away (I'm not really going to change my ways after all these years!) and eventually my emotions will have incorporated this constantly mentioned but still often unexpected motto: change must become second nature to an adventurous heart.