Monthly Archives: January 2014

From the box to the pot to the bowl…

Recently we subscribed to a CSA (community-supported agriculture) service, one that delivers to our door a box of organically grown vegetables in the wee hours of the morning, in our case every two weeks. This morning I opened the front door to find the second box sitting on the step, full of my favorite kind of goodies. I spent a while thinking about which things to use immediately and which to put away in the fridge – also I had to browse recipes for beech mushrooms, which I found are too bitter to eat raw, and for radishes, which I didn’t feel like eating raw.

The two big bunches of broccoli immediately suggested a cream soup, so I worked on that while munching the sweetest Nantes carrots and washing some spinach leaves, which Mr. Glad put into his sandwich at lunchtime. After I poured the soup into a bowl I wanted to sprinkle a few chives on top, so I visited my huge clump next to the patio only to find that they had disappeared in the hard winter we had, and only a few short scapes (I just learned this name for the stems) were venturing forth at so far. I sprinkled some nutmeg instead.

The ingredients in this batch were: broccoli, onions, garlic, butter, chicken broth, black pepper, nutmeg, salt and cream. When the vegetables were tender I put almost everything into the blender, but I kept back some soft chunks for texture. After taking the picture, I ate the bowl of soup, and I’ll likely have another tonight for dinner. It might be my favorite way to eat broccoli.

We walked into a startling trap.


with my firstborn

The supreme adventure is being born. There we do walk suddenly into a splendid and startling trap… When we step into the family, by the act of being born, we do step into a world which is incalculable, into a world which has its own strange laws, into a world which could do without us, into a world we have not made. In other words, when we step into the family we step into a fairy-tale.

–G.K. Chesterton in Heretics

linking up with Weekends with Chesterton

My encounter with Churchill’s friend.

Almost nine years ago I was in the middle of a Winston Churchill immersion experience, in England with my daughter who is a big fan of the man. We visited the Churchill War Rooms museum in London, his country estate at Chartwell, his birthplace at Blenheim Palace, and his grave.

One of my favorite parts of the museum was a huge collection of quotes, unfortunately displayed in an “interactive” touchscreen format so that I couldn’t easily or thoroughly access them, and I didn’t have the time to write any down, but the essence of one stuck in my mind the way a tasty seed lodges between the teeth and surprises you later on with its savor. I counted on the trusty Internet to help me find the quote after I returned home.

From London we’d taken a side trip to Chartwell, Churchill’s beloved country estate in Kent. We were in his very library, with his own books and furniture. I could just imagine him sitting there enjoying some book that had nothing to do with the government or war; this was the place he came to when he needed to decompress from the strain of his usual days.

from the Internet

I told the docent about the quote I had read the day before, in which Churchill had advised us to think of our books as our friends, and if we couldn’t read them all, at least we could take them off the shelves and touch the pages, and perhaps read a line or two. She didn’t know of this quote, but it was permitted to handle the books on the library shelves, so I did take one down and try to follow his advice.

It was one of those times when I just want to sit down and be there. I’d have liked to read a few lines from several books, or a chapter from one book, or see how they all were organized.  But I was so nervous about meeting this book friend that I didn’t even catch his name. I was trying to keep up a conversation with the docent, and we needed to get through the house to the grounds before the rain started….Now it seems like a fairy story that I was ever there at all.

It’s the anniversary of the death of Winston Churchill, Anna reminded me on her blog that is a compilation of “Seven Quick Takes” on him today. I was going to leave a comment on her blog about how I never could find that quote — and I had tried so hard. But then I thought, it’s been a couple of years since I searched; maybe, just maybe if I look again….

And it came up in flash, on Goodreads. One of these experiences that makes you love the Internet.

If you cannot read all your books…fondle them—peer into them, let them fall open where they will, read from the first sentence that arrests the eye, set them back on the shelves with your own hands, arrange them on your own plan so that you at least know where they are. Let them be your friends; let them, at any rate, be your acquaintances.

The last Churchill place we saw was his humble grave not far from Blenheim Palace, at St. Martin’s Church, Bladon. It was more humble then than now, as it was renovated in 2006.

Mr. Churchill, I honor you on the day of your death; may you rest in peace. One day I hope to get back and spend an hour soaking up your library and making friends with your books.

Snow and Tears


Seeing the snowman standing all alone
In dusk and cold is more than he can bear.
The small boy weeps to hear the wind prepare
A night of gnashings and enormous moan.
His tearful sight can hardly reach to where
The pale-faced figure with bitumen eyes
Returns him such a God-forsaken stare
As outcast Adam gave to paradise.

The man of snow is, nonetheless, content,
Having no wish to go inside and die.
Still, he is moved to see the youngster cry.
Though frozen water is his element,
He melts enough to drop from one soft eye
A trickle of the purest rain, a tear
For the child at the bright pane surrounded by
Such warmth, such light, such love, and so much fear.

~ Richard Wilbur