Entries in italian (5)
"They are so other
from what we say they are
they might as well be hidden."
Three lines from today's poem precisely describe the plight of the radish. The poor, invisible radish. Some are lucky, pulled from the stem, dipped in salted butter, and eaten while sitting under the shade of a willow tree, preferably by a river. These are the most adored of all radishes. But most are forced raw into our salads as something of an afterthought, greens hastily discarded to the garbage bin before they have a chance to scream, wait, I'm useful!
So it goes.
When I was eight years old my family took a long summer road trip through Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico. Late one evening, we were driving through Arizona during a rain storm. There was so much rain that off in the distance, several miles away, it looked like a long gray curtain stretching out over the desert. My mom and brother were asleep in the back seats, so only my dad and I saw the rain. In those minutes before we entered the dense rain cloud, I couldn't imagine us driving through it. We were barreling toward this gray mass on the highway, but I couldn't see us coming out the other side because it seemed more like a wall built from the ground up, not something you could pull back like tucking a piece of loose hair behind your ear and push through unscathed.
Of course, we did. We drove through it and arrived at our next destination as if the rain had never been an obstacle at all. The fear did not claim victory. This story was fresh in my mind when Ashley Rodriguez wrote about fear in a recent post and also offered a simple recipe of melted leeks with ricotta, which I've taken inspiration from for today's post. Turning back to fear, here's what she had to say about the topic.
In the latest issue of Gather Journal, a small haiku was tucked away on the bottom corner of page 45. Turn the page too quickly, or fix your gaze on the potato and leek tart it was paired with, and it would have been easy to miss the haiku entirely. But when I noticed it there like a crumb on the page, I knew it needed to be here, too.
A Leek Haiku
By Fiorella Valdesolo
Onion it is not.
Slender. Mild. Ribbons and roots.
Beauty in a stalk.
From Gather Journal, Fall/Winter 2013
I remember the evening well. I was sitting with my parents and boyfriend on the shaded patio of an Italian restaurant in Santa Barbara. This was one of those "let's take you out to dinner to be sure you're eating well" meals parents often take their children to when they're still in college. By this time I had been cooking for myself out of necessity for at least a year, but wasn't the most adventurous when it came to trying new dishes. When I scanned a menu, once my eye paused on Pasta al Pomodoro, the decision was made. But this particular evening, I couldn't shake the price. Although I wasn't paying for it, fourteen dollars for a bowl seemed somewhat unreasonable considering I could buy a bag of spaghetti, two pounds of tomatoes, some basil and cheese for less than $10 and have multiple servings. Suddenly, my mentality shifted as I began to realize that my favorite restaurant meals were achievable in my own kitchen.