Saturday, June 02, 2007

The Optomistic Salad

Recently friend Mimi spoke of her everything but the kitchen sink salads and somehow she managed to create a conduit in my mind. You know, just a thought, about something that everybody does or has or is, a snapshot, but still something that hits. Mimi's salad last month somehow slithered in like a probe and found the route to where the essential thoughts wait. Now there is a path that I walk down these days, kind of like the path to the swimming hole. A place to take a dip, to think about and develop perhaps a character that does their thinking there.

Last year, Mimi sent me some American Spoon Cherry Butter made by nice folks out in Michigan. I am not from Michigan and have no memory or experience with Montmonrency cherries, or this traditional Michigan favorite. But retrieving the package through the post and coming back to the house and seeing her handwriting and taking this foreign vessel of sweet breakfast spread into my palm recalled annother time. Even the jar seemed strange in its classic American simplicity. While I stood near the fireplace in the midst of ancient boiserie surrounded by a French tune on the radio sung swiftly and tersely along precise hexagonal metre, I felt extremely and at once very far far away.

The jar was glowing with something so simple and so strongly home it amazed me. I did what I normally do in these circumstances. When we were in L A California, real unpastrurized properly aged very simple cheese like camembert could only be had in the city from a boutique on Beverly Drive. At the time it was plain that Camembert was not really a common thing there, but an icon, which was a sad thing for Loic, because to him it was the simple homely thing he had fixed in his mind.

We were completely out of place on Beverly Drive, but we went there because this shop's specialty was cheese. We closed our eyes and bought the common Camembert which at the time would have cost pocket change within its proper context, but which featured a markup of approximately 17 times its normal retail price. We paid, because it was important. And Loic held it in his palm. Precisely the way I was holding the curious jar containing America that came from Mimi last summer.

A razor thin shaving of camembert goes a long way. And a couteau à tartiner has scraped ever so gently across the top surface of Michigan cherry butter so many times I cannot count now, and then it is spread completely, turning the knife first one way and then the next until the knife is clean. How I relish the process.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Jann said...

how fortunate you are to have Mimi as a friend~and then for her to send you the chery butter! She saved the day!

2:13 PM, June 03, 2007  
Blogger Sharon said...

very nice, Lucy. i made a trip once to traverse bay, michigan, american spoon foods, with my grandmother,who was alive then. heh. i had another correspondence today about bing cherries, from michigan. sera sera.

2:24 AM, June 06, 2007  
Blogger Mimi said...

Lucy send me salt from the Camargue, which I still have, and which I will use to enhance the rice from the Camargue that I brought back from Paris.

Gosh, it all seems like a long time ago now. . .

Thanks for the mention, Lucy. I am a bit tardy in all my visits, something I hope to be able to explain one of these days.

4:43 AM, June 10, 2007  

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