Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What's Next?

It’s snowing in London. We heard shrieks from the street and when I turned my head, I couldn’t believe the white flurries right outside the window. Real snow, like in the movies, or Connecticut. Not London. London is grey and damp and … well, not as pretty as snow. But there it is, like a fat girl on her wedding day.

I’m in a daze and funk of feeling like a big old tub of lard, but somehow this time I seem to have retained a sense of humour – more or less – with uber-drama kind of kept as the sidedish that it was meant to be. Besides, you can’t exactly eat ice cream, cupcakes and bacon for a month and expect to look like you did on your wedding day, can you? Oh, and did I mention the bottles of deliciously yummy wine?

There is one in particular that has captured my heart these days. D and I would share a bottle of it from time to time in the final months of planning. I hadn’t realized just how many until we walked into the restaurant a couple of weeks ago and the manager jumped at me with an enthusiastic “so how did it go???”

It is called The White, made by The John Forrest Collection. Simple, Elegant, Kiwi, a perfect blend of eight or nine different grapes that fit together like Tetris blocks in the early nineties. Viognier, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Chardonnay,
Gewurztraminer, Chenin Blanc – like children, the grapes exuberantly wait until the teacher – in this case the palate – calls on them. Each will get their turn.

The planning is now over and although we refuse to stop celebrating, the party’s officially done. It’s time to return to normal life, whatever that is, was, has been, will be. What that means for a surprising amount of people around us is that they now feel it is appropriate to ask about the next stage: children. The more direct questions are are often less inquisitive and more demanding.
“Why are you writing to me?” one guy’s email bounced back at me within four minutes of my having hit send, “you should be busy making babies with your husband!”
Mostly, however, people just want to know whether we want a family, the “when” remaining between us, unspoken but no less present.

A few months before the wedding, we had a couple of friends over for Shabbath dinner. The wife, already showing, asked me whether I was ever planning to “do” anything. I was insulted by her question for a few reasons: First and foremost because I resent the assumption that I sit and watch sitcoms all day just because I don’t have a “proper” job (another charmer), and secondly, because although she is very much in a similar situation to mine – career-wise at least – she seemed to have, from her perspective, finally found, in her impending motherhood, what she was doing to “do”.

When you’re single, they want to know why you haven’t found someone – as if there is no way to be happy on your own. When you meet someone nice, they start clucking about rings and The One. Then, you get engaged and everyone just keeps offering their “help” by asking whether you’re nervous yet, or worse, telling you that you should be. Then – finally – comes the wedding. Beautiful, blissful, you wish you could float on that cloud for the rest of your life. You make a mental note to do so putting as much intention as possible into that thought. Sadly, the bubble must burst. Within seconds of breaking the glass, the same people who shouted “Mazzel Tov” at the top of their lungs, who twirled you around and lifted you in the air to celebrate your union, throw you back to earth with a sweet, inquiring “so… when’s the children?”

If it would only stop there…

But no…

Once there’s one in the works, they want to know when the next one’s coming, and then the next and so on. “What, only one / two / six?” they ask, as if there is something wrong with the decision, or the accident. Suddenly it’s not only OK to admit you’re having sex, people actually want to know about it.

Does it ever stop?

We talk about being in the now, but nobody, it seems, wants us to be. They’re too busy looking for the next celebration or piece of gossip.


In the spirit of staying ahead of the game, here’s a two-fer:

Sweet potato (a current favorite: it is not only balancing to women’s hormones and warming in the cold season, it is also a sweet vegetable that helps curb cravings as well as a good source of fibre and vitamin C) and kale, boiled, make a wonderful, flavorful, incredibly healthy broth.

That broth can then be used for a multitude of purposes (unless you drink most of it straight, like I usually do). Yesterday, I also used it as a base for a carrot and onion soup – slow roasted, caramelized, rich, deep, warming (there’s a theme these days and it’s very different from the one in the Middle East where it was thirty degrees)

I also used it to make sweet potato, kale and chickpea muffins (they ain’t pretty, but there are no eyes in your stomach anyway)

Boil two sweet potatoes and half a bunch or so of kale until soft.
At the same time, boil a tin of chickpeas with cumin powder (you can use dried ones, but for the sake of time, I used canned – just make sure to rinse well before using).

While boiling the vegetables and chickpeas, sautee fresh ginger, garlic, cilantro leaves and chili for as long as possible on as low a flame as possible.

In the food processor or blender, shred / blend the kale and the sweet potato (depending on the texture you’re going for) with a bit of the broth (have I mentioned how nourishing this broth is?)

Mash the soft chickpeas with a fork

Mix the chickpeas and sweet potato/kale mush together with the sautéed herbs and spices.

¾ cups of chickpea flour
¾ cups brown rice flour
salt to taste
½ t baking powder
1 egg (optional – I use it as a binder)
½ cup liquid / milk – fresh Brazil nut milk worked for me but I’m sure oat, almond, soya or regular would do the job just as well.

(I would have added green onion had I had any on hand, but seeing as this was more of a fridge-clearing, whatever I could find muffin (and it was seven in the morning), I didn’t bother trying to find any.)

Knead the concoction with your hands until the dough is thick and comforting but gloopy nonetheless.
If necessary, dilute with some more broth.

Spoon into a greased muffin pan (I use coconut oil) and bake at 170 degrees until muffinney

They do look like they would have special needs if they were human, but they are sweet and savoury and comforting and nutritious and they work perfectly as a snack or with soup, salad or steamed vegetables.

Now what’s next?


Andréa N. said...

People are so annoying. And try telling them you don’t want kids…ever. OMG the shit you’re going to hear… People forget that it has been long gone the time when women were baby factories. They didn’t have a choice. Now they do, but really, to a lot of people, they don’t. Well I do. And here’s a couple of suggestions for when someone comes up with the infamous “when are you guys going to have kids?” 1) Oh but we did- he was so annoying we had to drown him in the sink; 2) We do! It’s chained in the basement. Do you want to go see it?; 3) we’ve been trying for years (loud fake crying here), won’t anybody give us a rest???


Those muffins look absolutely delicious!

Anonymous said...

I love it when you can just be so honest with people that they barely believe what they're hearing.

When people ask me when the next baby's for (which has been since about 2 minutes after I had Jade), I love a simple 'No' I'm not thinking of having anymore right now or I'm not thinking of having any right now.

You're right, wer're supposed to be living in the now, yet people are always asking us about our future...My best response (and it really took me a while to figure this one out) is to bring THEM back into the present. I've been truly enjoying my daughter and being a mommy for a year or so (Jade is now 2.5 yrs old) this feeling is still new for me and I'm loving that. That's what I want to live right now and how can I know WHEN I will have the next one when I'm busy right now enjoying the first one.

All these subjects are still such a taboo but why is it that these people have such an effect on us. We should be the ones having an effect on them. We're the ones who are savouring what we are feeling good with now. They should walk away with something to think about. Not us