I love a good recipe, especially one I’ve committed to memory. I’m busy, like most people, and a lazy cook at the end of the day. Skipping the part where I hunt through a tiny-fonted index and instead beeline for the bottom crisper drawer with a single mind (lentil soup) satisfies me in a way that’s so fundamental, I can’t name it.
I’ll mention – briefly, because it’s all my heart can manage – that memorized recipes and a sense for what goes together without a lot of fuss helps in the wake of bad news. I’m tight-stomached thinking of the victims in Boston and now those in Texas. And my eyes are narrowed at the Senate. How do you say? You voted against background checks with Newtown families standing before you? Who can cook in the wake of such brass and cowardice? It’s staggering.
At a time like this something beautiful helps. Cheryl Sternman Rule’s cookbook, Ripe, is a heart-lifter (the produce-focused recipes are organized by color) with ideas that pop off the pages like pins on a game wheel slap-slap-slapping against the flapper.
There’s a story preceding each recipe, a snappy little essay that leaves you feeling like you were the one on a Texas porch eating chunks of fresh pineapple.
One of my favorite features is the “Simple Uses” section at the end of every story, three suggested combinations for the star ingredient. There are no measurements, no instructions. You already know, the plus signs between each ingredient imply, how to make a curry, a crostata or a Caprese. Now, try them with this combination of ingredients. It’s an aside from a friend. A suggestion from the woman you met in the produce department. A recipe scribbled on the back of a receipt and tucked into your hand.
This is how I cook anyway, the plus signs tapping into my impulsive approach to family dinners. Find, combine, give it a whirl.
So here is mine for you, an offhand suggestion using that sign of hope and of positivity itself, something we all need a good deal more of this week.
scrambled eggs = morels + white wine + coconut oil + eggs + parmesan + cilantro