I ask my son to go to the linen chest and to dig out a table cloth for the dining room table. He asks which one and I say it doesn't matter as long as its big and cotton and colourful. I am making Sunday dinner. Two medium chickens in oven, roasting, stuffed with thyme and sage stuffing and once I have squeezed the lemon juice over the birds I force the lemons inside the roasts to join in the succulence that is assured.
Sunday dinner can be like this. Randomly delicious. Depending on the weather. Today it rains non-stop and so I am in the mood to bake as well as cook. Rain does that. Compels me to weigh and sift and measure and beat and add and fold. I make Apple Cinnamon Cake. I grate up the apples, sour apples a plus. I measure out the eggs into a bowl. The hens were generous today. The albumen is thick and promising. I beat the butter. I add Muscovado, the colour of sand on a far shore. My tin is lined with parchment paper. I measure out sultanas and walnuts and baking powder. Nothing is to be taken for granted. I study my map. The rain lashes down on the town land and I throw Bach on for solace. He comes in lifting me up and bringing me back to reality but only for a second. I am a woman with food on her mind.
I dice up a large sweet potato. I put it in the oven to roast, tossed in olive oil and sea salt. It doesn't take long. Then I dice up onion and garlic and sweat it down in a large pan. I add the risotto rice and stir in a long lingering motion. I add chicken stock in gentle increments, like I am holding a new born baby to my breast, it is a tender act. I stir. I watch. I wait. I add some more. The rice unfolds. It becomes something else. Evolving before my eyes. I add the sweet potato and defrosted peas. I add some salt and pepper. I stir. I add more stock. Everyone watches. H makes a salad. The chickens rest on the countertop. I add thickly grated parmesan to the rice. Everyone watches. I stop stirring. I stop the cooking process. My son lights a candle. Today is a special day for no reason at all. We celebrate our food. Our unity. Plum coloured wine seduces my eye. Three sons. One love. Dogs at my feet. And risotto. It is like something to cling to my soul when I need it most. My mouth is in love. A fork raised in triumph.