I push the cart around the grocery store and add a pint of cream and I’m thinking, I have to have a ham, right? My accompanying menu: navy bean and bacon soup, hot cross buns, lemon asparagus, garlic-seared broccolini, scalloped potatoes, stuffed mushrooms, and cold pea salad (the latter item thanks to the suggestions of friends I ran across last evening). Dessert: a three-layer yellow cake with homemade chocolate buttercream frosting. Since I don’t know how to cook lamb (and I’m unsure if anyone besides my mother would be enthused to eat it) I’m wandering the aisles figuring: ham. In my naivetÃ© I’m unsure if I’ll even find one in the store. Indeed I encounter a large chest with so many variations in price and style and preparation, it’s a bit overwhelming. I choose the priciest one (I think, the Paula Deen, wrapped in becoming blue foil) and throw it in the cart with a thrill of the unknown (although even I know enough to know not to be nervous about a ham).
It feels so funny to be able to cook with competence and – it must be confessed, a kind of calm delight. I no longer worry no matter what my brain is apt to scheme up; the fact only an hour previous I’d even generated the idea for this meal, and that the next day we’ll be on a roadtrip much of the working day, deters me not. I know I won’t screw anything up and I’ve developed a preternatural sense of timing such that as we check out I already know that when we drive off on our daytrip I’ll have the cake and scalloped potatoes in the fridge, the beans soaked and the bacon fried and ready to cut, the peas thawing and the dough rising both under cotton cloth on the counter.
Of course Easter, to me, is about family and food. Isn’t everything?
We plan, we toil, we suffer – in the hope of what? A camel-load of idol’s eyes? The title deeds of Radio City? The empire of Asia? A trip to the moon? No, no, no, no. Simply to wake just in time to smell coffee and bacon and eggs. ~ J.B. Priestly