Daily Archives: August 23, 2012
We’re still figuring out where to put things in this boat. Our abundance of tools and spare parts have made this 3-bedroom catamaran into a 2-bedroom with garage. My jewelry-making supplies fill up the guest closet. And our overflowing pantry encroaches on the adjacent bookshelves. I’ve had to pile various bookshelf items on top of food containers, like my wireless keyboard, a pile of greeting cards rubber-banded together, and oh yes, the ashes of Jack’s dad and my mom, each in their own pretty silk boxes.
Tonight, the clutter started to get to me. I wanted to make hot chocolate but in order to get to the box I had to move things out of the way and balance them until I can pile them back in place.
“Everytime I make hot chocolate I have to move two dead parents!” I barked to Jack.
“That’s no good,” he said. “Mistakes could be made.”
We’ve been boatbound since Sunday afternoon because our dinghy outboard is being serviced. We’re in a quiet and beautiful anchorage and we’re taking the opportunity to catch up on normal maintenance tasks, like defrosting the freezer, changing water maker filters, ordering parts and supplies and reading up on Pacific islands so we can plan our voyage.
There’s a summer camp nearby and every afternoon when a little breeze kicks up eight or ten little sailboats tack away from their moorings. Sometimes the counselor gives instructions, but mostly the kids zip around, often sailing very close to Escape Velocity yelling “nice boat!”
When we moved out of our house we transferred a few precious items from the freezer to Jack’s brother’s house. Then in April when we went to Pittsburgh to arrange for movers and pick up Izzy we took the frozen items to my sister’s house in New Jersey. Last Saturday they brought them to us here in Rhode Island. Why go to such pains for frozen food?
It all comes down to how we feel about food and the part it played in our Pittsburgh life. For twelve years we subscribe to an organic CSA farm. For those who aren’t familiar, CSA stands for community supported agriculture and is very popular in many areas of the US. We paid for a share of the farm’s output at the beginning of the season and every week we received a crate of whatever was harvested that week. A typical week would include corn, tomatoes, beans, zucchini, various greens and herbs, broccoli, cauliflower, cider, strawberries, blueberries, apples, etc. The haul would vary with the season, more lettuce and spinach early in June, more tomatoes and zucchini in mid summer, then winter squashes and apples in the fall. We loved our CSA and the fresh produce was the key ingredient in our diet. We miss it so much.
If the farm had a bumper crop of something they would offer it in quantity for an extra price. Every year we bought a half bushel of basil and spent a day making batches of pesto for the freezer. This frozen pesto we considered fast food, because if we needed a quick meal for unexpected company or we were late thinking about what to cook for dinner, there was always pesto in the freezer. Cook up some pasta, add sundried tomatoes and corn and olives and oh my! Great dinner. We had quite a few batches of pesto left in the freezer when we moved and we weren’t about to toss it out.
Every week in the fall our farm crate included a bag of apples, mostly obscure heirloom varieties, and no matter how I tried to use them all in baking, we ended up every couple of weeks with a big pile of apples that needed to be used now. When that happened I made a batch of the most delicious apple sauce and froze it in meal-sized bags. There was some of that left in our freezer too, and you can’t throw that out!
When Jack’s parents died we took on the job of clearing out their house in Florida in preparation for sale. We spent a week cleaning and sorting and taking many trips to Goodwill and the church and the neighbors. When we were about to leave we took one last turn around the garden they loved so much and I saw that the lemon tree was overloaded with ripe fruit. We filled a giant carton with as much as we could and drove it back to Pittsburgh where I squeezed all the lemons and froze the juice in 2-cup bags. We used one bag in making food for the house party the day before Drew and Ericka’s wedding, and we’ve used some here and there for other special occasions that remind us of Jack’s parents. There’s some left, and you can’t throw that out.
So there you have it. Three things from our old freezer that we couldn’t give up. We were thrilled to finally have it all in our new freezer and last night we pull out a bag of pesto. We opened a fine Barolo and had a dinner worthy of Gettysburg street but with a better view of the horizon that beckons us.