in honor of valentine's day this week. i'm embracing love, love of all kinds.
centerpiece: roses in a paint tin
when i was eight i opened my brown paper lunch bag sitting on the cafeteria bench to find a post-it with familiar handwriting tucked next to my PB&J and capri sun. i miss you, love mom. good luck on your spelling test, love dad. see you after school, love mom. be kind to others, love dad. those notes continued through high school, sometimes tucked in my gym bag or slid in my algebra book. good luck at your cross country meet, love mom. you'll do great on your anthropology exam, love dad. we'll be at the finish line tonight, love mom. see you in owatonna after school. your #1 fan, dad.
:: love notes.
appetizers: prosciutto, arugula & fig crostinis, crab stuffed mushroom caps
we were playing an away varsity basketball game in mankato to a sold out crowd. i had started the game prior and had been playing really well in practice, all my hardwork and dedication was paying off. i was 15 and basketball was my life. my parents drove the two+ hours and i remember spotting them in the stands during warmups. the game started i was waiting for the nod from coach. the nod means take off the warmups and pull up the kneepads cause your going in next whistle. starting minutes turned into halftime, then from halftime the game buzzer- no nod. coach decided to mix things up, he did things his own way, on his own terms, when he felt like doing it. when you are a sophmore you are learning how to deal with life's disappointments, about life being unfair. and trying to do so with pose and character while inside really wanting to kick, scream and cry big tears. the bus ride home i put on my headphones and stare out the window at passing exits waiting patiently for ours to arrive. finally at the school parking lot, i get off the bus and into my parent's van. my dad drives us home and i cry big tears the entire way. after all, dealing with life's disappointments does take time. once home, i throw my bag in the entryway and look up. at the top of the stairs my mom was holding a 6 week old golden retriever puppy.
:: to love someone will always trump loving something.
main entree: rosemary & garlic tenderloin, sautéed mushrooms, mashed potatoes & side salad w homemade vinaigrette
it was halloween 2000, after changing out of our costumes we drove to perkins and packed into a corner booth. i slid across the pleather bench and hunkaroonie followed. our friends gathered around milkshakes and fries at two in the morning, exactly what college dreams are made of. then somewhere between do the fries need more salt and could you please pass the vanilla shake, hunkaroonie slid his hand under the table and reached for mine.
:: love that makes my knees weak.
if i make a list of things that matter most to me, food would be on that list. it would of course fall after hunkaroonie but then maybe somewhere before natural and organic products. the smell of sizziling sliced potatoes and onions takes me back to my grandpa's garage, always does. a can of budwieser sits next to the oil filled skillet waiting for fresh fish fillets to be dropped inside. sitting around in lawn chairs hearing about his fishing trip and tasting the rewards of his adventure. that smell, of fried potato and onions, takes me there. and when i miss him that smell comforts. this week hunkaroonie stopped by the grocery store and one thing is his bag when he returned home was coconut water. we twist the top open and while the taste left me wrinkling my nose, i close my eyes and am instantly on a beach- the sound of waves crashing, the smell of banana boat on our tanned skin, holding a fresh coconut garnished with a straw and umbrella in my hands. then i open my eyes and remember i'm in our kitchen on a cold winter night far from the ocean & even that second sip of coconut water is rather unpleasant. coconut water makes me happy because it takes me to mexico celebrating hunkaroonie's birthday, not because i like it. good or bad, to smell or to taste, homemade, farm raised, or drive thru craves, i love the power that food holds, the memories it stores. and so on a night when there was no limit to the amount of money you'd spend on good food- on my birthday in a small hot resturant kitchen eating beautiful farm raised food with the chairs around the table full, i could literally feel my heart swell. food, it's all of these things and more.
:: love through the stomach and into the heart.
(all pictures are from a better homes & garden feature dinner party mamasis hosted in our honor.)