Monday, June 11, 2012

a matter of taste

it was a mommy-son weekend.  steve and diana took off for their daddy-daughter trip to san francisco; ander and i enjoyed a stay-cation at home.

the energy of our home is noticeably different depending on who is here at the time.  being a person who is renewed by quiet, solitary activities, i can sometimes be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of sound in our household at times.  don't get me wrong, i really get into our singing and performing for each other and responding to the "mommy, look at this" from both of my children, usually at the same time.  but just as much, i am happy to have the chance to sit and read a book on the couch while diana reads one of her own and ander builds another lego rocket, humming happily to himself.

i attended more to ander's rhythm this weekend because i could.  the only schedule we needed to follow was our own based on what we mutually agreed upon to do.  he had a swim lesson on friday afternoon; i wanted to walk up to main street afterward but he was tired.  so we took our time on the way back, pointing out interesting things to observe.

i was pretty tired when we returned, not having slept well the night before, so we snuggled on the bed and read a few stories and listened to mozart and vivaldi.  with remarkably little protest, he let me take a nap and played on his own, then came to wake me up later to let me know he was hungry.  i was, too, and i knew exactly where we could go - top himalaya.

we learned about this place last year at the woodland farmer's market.  i already knew ander was fond of saag paneer - he calls it spinach rice - and the sauce from chicken tika masala - he calls it orange rice - from eating it at picnic in the park last summer at the davis farmer's market.  i was so pleased to find a place locally!

i love this place.  i wish they could attract more customers to ensure they stay in business.  the guys are really, really nice.  after the science fair we went for lunch there with a couple of other families and the kids watched with avid curiosity as they saw the naan dough pounded out, placed into the cylindrical tandoori oven, then pulled out with long tongs to be quickly cut and placed into a basket, ready to dip into delicious sauces.

it's nice, though, to be able to walk in somewhere and not have it be crowded.  way more relaxing for me.  and ander and i watched all the cooking, including the naan.  we shared our fragrant sauces over rice with each other; he liked the chicken this time and kept asking for more.  i love how ander shares an appreciation for that kind of spicy indian food with me.  the flavors are so comforting, and though i could tell the spice was getting to him, ander breathed through it, took a drink of water, and dove in for more.

this morning we went to impossible acres to pick fruit.  it was good that we were together, ander and i, because left to my own devices i might have picked ten pounds of cherries.  instead, we first searched for plums but found ourselves tempted by apriums.  they are a cross between an apricot and a plum.  so are pluots, but the former fruit has a texture and taste more closely resembling an apricot, while the latter is more like a plum.  anyway, they were just so pretty we tasted some right there and decided to fill a basket.  then we hunted for the cherries.  i was hoping that the difficulty in finding that fruit was due to a late ripening, but it turns out that the trees have been pretty well picked through with lots of people coming and getting as many as they could (that was me last year), so there aren't many left.  that's probably just as well.  i almost gave myself carpal tunnel syndrome in my right wrist from pitting about 20 pounds of cherries last year.  i froze them and ate them pretty much by myself.  mmmmm...

but i digress.  ander amused himself trying to spot trees that were worth investigating and then urged me to keep moving to find more.  we learned when we paid that the plums were farther along than we had traveled, but despite the fact that the plums were the main draw for ander coming to the orchard in the first place, he was not inclined to head back out again to find them.  it was a good call.  the wind and rising temperatures would have made us cranky if we pushed on.  we have enough fruit that we can eat it fresh.  i indulge myself sometimes in daydreams of canning and making preserves and all that, but then i wake up to the reality that i'm the only one who would it eat it.

my children have discriminating tastes.  ander turns his nose at apples that have soft spots or bananas that have gone mushy.  diana will only eat berries that are at the perfect point of ripeness, any more than that and they start getting squishy and the flavor begins to turn.  it makes it difficult to purchase acceptable ones at the store, but it does mean that we enjoy picking fruit ourselves in season, where we can determine each morsel's suitability by looking at the variations in color and testing the firmness using gentle pressure and sensing the ease with which the fruit falls off the stem.  our reward comes from tasting the fruit right at that moment, warm from the sun.  it is the epitome of whole foods in their natural state, and i am glad that diana and ander have developed a preference for that.  it may cause inconvenience because i cannot provide that year-round for them, but i consider it a positive that they will not settle for mediocrity or that which is commonplace because they know what is possible.

i'm sensing an allegory for life here.  looking for what is good, feeling happiness when we find it, and being restless when asked to be satisfied with the status quo.  maybe it's just a matter of taste.

1 comment:

  1. Ander and I have the same favorite dish! Your times sounds very sweet : )