I leaned over and looked at my alarm clock. I plopped my head back on my pillow. I did not need to be awake at 5 a.m. on a Sunday morning. The previous evening, we had moved all the clocks back an hour to switch from Daylight Saving Time to Daylight Standard Time. In anticipation of the time change, I stayed up a little late because I would have an extra hour to sleep. That didn't work. At 5 a.m., my body thought it was 6 a.m., my usual wake-up time. My brain was wide awake, but my body was unwilling to move.
"Can you say 'muy bellissimo'?" the participant said after taking a bite of the soup. I did my best to pronounce it exactly as he did. However, I wasn't getting the accent quite right. By the third try, I was kind of close, I think. He grinned, anyway. Maybe he gave up on my pronunciation skills. I knew what he meant. He thought the soup was very good. Actually, he said the soup was "very beautiful." His wife smiled at me. Maybe they will make the recipe back home.
The other day, I was sorting through some clothes that are too small for my kids. I found the small clothes in a dresser in a basement bedroom. I kind of forgot about this stockpile of clothes, which brought back memories I looked at a tiny pair of socks that would fit on my son's big toe now. I thought back to those busy earlier days when we had two kids in elementary school and a baby at home.
"What are you doing with this?" my husband asked, as he held up a plastic bag of fresh dill. I smiled sweetly and replied, "Thank you for finding that, dear." I am kidding. Trust me: My response was not sweet at all. I was upset with myself because I forgot to put the dill in the "pickled dilled beans." I had just placed the jars in our boiling water-bath canner. I figured I could save my efforts if I acted quickly. My husband seemed kind of amused watching me move so fast.
Some things touch our lives in more ways than we might imagine. Soy-based products are all around us. If you read a newspaper this morning, it may have been printed with soy ink. You may have had cereal with added soy protein or topped your cereal with soy milk. If you had eggs, chances are the chickens responsible for your eggs ate soy-based feed. You may be driving a vehicle fueled with soy-based fuel. For lunch, a stop at a Chinese restaurant could include soy sauce, miso (fermented soy) or hot and sour soup with tofu (high-protein soy curd).
When I was growing up, a few food items always were in our refrigerator: milk, cheese, sandwich meat and a jar of some kind of homemade pickles. Whenever guests dropped in, something pickled appeared in a fancy glass serving dish. A piping hot casserole (hot dish) magically appeared in short order, too, along with sandwiches and a fresh dessert.
"Be sure to lift the bean plants," I instructed as I picked string beans. "There are lots more beans under here." "I was going to let them plump up," my husband said. "I think most are ready to pick," I said as I flipped the plant and began plucking the ample numbers of beans hiding in the foliage. "I'll go and water plants," he said. Note to self: Do not offer too much advice to a husband or anyone else who is helping you harvest beans or other produce. You might lose your help.
"Do you know what that is?" I asked. My intern Larissa and I were strolling through a grocery store gathering her ingredients. "That's a pitaya," she replied without hesitation. I kind of expected she would know because the fruit is common in South America and Central America. My summer intern is from Brazil.
"What smells so good?" one of my kids asked. "It's a surprise," I said. Everyone gathered in the kitchen at the sound of a mysterious meal with a delicious aroma. My kids were quite a bit younger at the time. They've lost some of their youthful enthusiasm. I was enjoying the attention. I didn't think that chopping some fresh rosemary and sprinkling it over a pork loin would garner this much interest. "This is a gourmet meal, Mom," my older daughter said when we ate. "This is the best pork ever!" my younger daughter exclaimed.
"I smell cilantro!" someone said. I had been clipping the flowering tops from the cilantro plants at a community garden. I should have worn gloves. The scent on my hands was letting people know what I had been doing. "I love cilantro, but my roommate can't stand it," another person commented. I sniffed my hands, then washed them twice with soap. My hands still smelled like a bowl of freshly made salsa. Next time, I will wear plastic gloves.