Living With Poetry | Burning Your Fingers

Living With Poetry is an occasional series where we explore how poetry infuses our everyday lives. Catch up with past features here. Interested in sharing your own story about how poetry inspires you (in the kitchen or otherwise)? Contact me.

chive frittata2.jpg

The day after my birthday, our little pup Emma wasn't feeling well, and we decided to take her to the vet on Saturday morning. Walk-ins began at 7:30 am, so we woke early, got dressed (translation: I threw on yoga pants and a hoodie), and wiped the sleep from our eyes. It turned out she was just fine. Whatever bug she had went through her system (I'm convinced she swallowed a piece of her chew toy), and with her energy back, we decided to treat ourselves to a croissant at a new bakery in our neighborhood.

Chaumont Bakery is a little Parisian-style spot serving simple egg dishes, sandwiches, and French breakfast items like a baguette with butter and jam. We sipped on tea and coffee, pulled flaky layers of our croissants apart, and talked the morning away. It was a perky start to the day.

chaumont bakery1.jpg

Around 11 am, we had watched a few episodes of Parks & Recreation and were feeling almost hungry for lunch, so I decided to make a frittata.

As any cook will tell you, sometimes things burn. I have a scar on my left forearm from an oil splatter, a faded scar on my hand from something I can't remember, and now, a bruised ego and a glossy finger from reaching for a hot pan.

If I pull a cast iron skillet out of the oven, I always cover the handle with a towel to remind myself (and anyone else nearby), that it's hot. But I forgot my own rule, and wanting to transfer the frittata to a cutting board, turned from the sink and picked up the pan with my right hand while setting a wooden spoon down with the other. It took all of two seconds for my body to register the heat, and I quickly ran my hand under cold water in the sink. I proceeded to hold an ice cube for the rest of the day.

All in all, my middle finger survived. The burn wasn't serious, and after the skin glossed over for a day or two, the pain went away and my finger is back to normal now. But incidents like this remind me that cooking plays an ever-evolving role in our lives, and just when we think we've got something covered, we're surprised. 

That same day I was browsing through Elizabeth Bishop's Collected Poems again. I still had the book by my bed from reading it the day before, and I landed on her poem "Going to the Bakery," written when she was living in Brazil. It reminded me of our morning, the quietness and hopefulness of it all. 

"The bakery lights are dim. Beneath
our rationed electricity, 

the round cakes look about to faint--
each turns up a glazed white eye.
The gooey tarts are red and sore.
Buy, buy, what shall I buy?" 

chive frittata4.jpg

Chive Frittata

8 eggs
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes 
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper
1 bunch of chives, minced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk the eggs, Parmesan, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Melt butter in an oven-proof sauté pan.  then gently pour the wet ingredients over the butter. Scatter the chives over the eggs and cook for just 1-2 minutes, then transfer it to the oven for 15-18 minutes, or until the frittata has puffed and is just cooked through. (If it's slightly underdone, best to take it out and let the residual heat finish cooking the eggs. There's nothing worse than an overcooked frittata.) Using a towel or kitchen mit, carefully slide the frittata to a cutting board to slice and serve.

chive frittata1.jpg