If I'm lucky I get to gather one egg from the hens these November days. I usually go out to the coop anticipating nothing at all and there it sits, one brown egg, like a small trophy, covered in bits of hay and chicken dooh dah, only to be carried back to the kitchen and set aside for the baking. Four days to bake a cake with fresh eggs.
Still, this time of year brings about the moulting and the change for the hens and I have to say they do paint a miserable picture, shedding their feathers and fussing about as if lost to the cause. H thinks we should get a rooster and there is some wisdom to his suggestion and I do like the thought of a big brash guy befriending the girls and making them happy. We might just do that.
I went to the grocery store to buy some Mascarpone. I make the most amazing cake with Mascarpone and coconut and coconut milk and eggs, when I have them, that is. It is the most delightful cake you will ever eat. It is featherly light and totally decadent. I wanted Mascarpone because it goes both into the cake and in the frosting. I was fussing around the cheese section and this sample lady was fussing around with the little booth she had set up in the aisle. She wore a bright pink sweater and over that she had a white coat that made her look like a Dairy queen and she also wore a white hat that resembled a shower cap. She smiled at me and asked if I would like to try some Cracker Barrel and Ritz. Now it's been years since I tasted that combination. I mean, hello, we've all moved on, right?. Feta took over and Comté, sweet and nutty seduced us and a mass of Irish home produced cheeses tempted me away from the humble offering the lady in the shower cap proffered to me.
But not wanting to appear rude, I stopped in my tracks. Distracted from my Mascarpone hunt. And she said to me, 'you're creative, aren't you? I can tell straight away. I meet tons of people in my job. I always know'.
I looked at myself then. I wondered what it was that made her say that. Was it the beads I wore and the embroidered fish that hung down from my neck? The amber gris ring that was too big for my fingers? The strange array of goods in my shopping basket? Aubergines. White chocolate. A glass bowl. Vanilla paste. Coriander. A tube of toothpaste.
We talked for a while. The woman in the strange shower cap told me all about her love for Caravaggio. We talked about painting. Her passion.
I tasted the cheese and the Ritz. It immediately brought me back to my bed sit flat in Dublin all those years ago. The heady nights when a bowl of crackers and a slice of cheese inflamed the spirit of youth, made me feel sophisticated and confident of the future and insisted that my dream of what was to come would only be as simple as walking straight on into it, as if there was nothing to stop me only myself.