Friday Night Dinner 5

What We’re Eating–Stefan Salad


We visited Adams this past week. (Adams is a local gourmet grocer.) They are holding their Annual Garden Show right now and have transformed their greenhouses into super-sized springtime scenes. It’s like nature porn for those of us who have had nothing to look at but snow for the past several months. There are leafy trees and a (thawed) pond. There are rows of red tulips and purple hyacinths lined up beneath a multitude of blush-pink, blooming azalea bushes. There are paddocks of green, green grass. And the smell…oh the smell! Of dirt and leaves and flowers and….life! Noah and I spent twenty minutes just breathing in that space–realizing how limited our palate of smells has been this winter. I understood that our visual landscape was barren, but I hadn’t noticed how much I missed the musky perfume of the natural world. So, with sensory stimulation in mind (and because Adams stocks every variety of fresh vegetable known to me (and then some)) I decided we needed to break our “eating in season” rule and make ourselves a big, huge summertime salad. We bought tons of greens (which actually came from the high tunnels of local Obercreek Farm) and mushrooms and corn and cucumbers and tomatoes and green onions and avocados. We washed and cut and chopped and tossed and had the best (or closest-we-could-get to best) salad we’ve had since early last fall. It reminded us of all those warm and protracted Saturday morning brunches on your deck–though we didn’t drink rosé or go for a swim afterwards–and the memories made us smile. Crunching on fresh, raw vegetables after weeks of gumming all those soft, roasted ones (as delicious as they are) also did wonders for our spirits. Perhaps we will see color here again! (We call it a Stefan Salad because of the shallot-based dressing he taught us to make and, well, because we miss you.)

Gina: Man, that Adams merchandising team is earning their pay. I was trying to take it easy with my observations of the “S” word around here, feeling like I might be rubbing salt in a wound, but now, I think I can let it fly. Truth be told, I haven’t seen anything inside or out that sounds as gorgeous as the display that you describe, but I can feel it’s coming. We’re looking at another week hovering right around the 60°, with some sunshine!


What We’re Talking About – Substitute Teaching & What I Want To Be When I Grow Up


So, this week I was a substitute teacher. I taught kindergarten on Tuesday and 1st grade yesterday and I am exhausted. Not only because teaching children is hard work, but because teaching children you don’t know is even harder work. It’s like the first day of school (or the first day of parenting) Every. Single. Day. The kids don’t know you and you don’t know the kids (or their names), so it takes several hours just to figure out what country you’ve landed in together. That said, I had a blast with the kindergarteners. It’s the grade level I know best, and, if you don’t already know this, 5-year-olds are some of the best comedians on the planet. They are innocent and wise, but not jaded or cynical. They think adults know everything, but don’t really take them seriously enough to get annoyed when they don’t. And they see the world through these rose colored glasses that never seem facile. They live in the moment and concern themselves with playing, hugs, food and fairness in that order. They are simple, puffy, dirty, cherubic sages; theirs is an intelligence that can’t be rendered on the page. As you know from our conversations, I’ve felt ambivalent about going back to teaching. It’s a profession that I’ve left three separate times in my life, but one that I keep returning to–partially because it’s what I’m educated & licensed to do, partially because it fits in to the life that I share with a over-worked(ing) husband and a busy, needy kid, and partially because I’m good at it, which makes it somewhat easy. The importance of my liking it has been more difficult to discern–as has been wondering if my liking it mattered at all. What I learned this week is this: that I like it. Teaching kindergarten anyway (the first grade class I worked with was…more challenging to say the least). We’ll see what comes of this fourth time at bat. Substitute teaching is an entirely different beast than a full time teaching job, but is sometimes a way into a full time job. But, of course, in order to get a full time teaching job there would need to be an opening for one. And an open teaching position is a very rare beast in challenging economic times such as these. We’ll just have to wait and see what’s in store. (And you know how good I am at waiting for what’s in store….)


To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven

This is playing in my head as I read your Friday night news. It might be all that talk of Springtime above or it may in fact be time for turning.  Perhaps it is the season for teaching once again, at least in the part-time way that you’re tackling it now. But I can’t help but think that you’d be an excellent copywriter somewhere, and the change of environment and the use of different parts of that lovely brain of yours could be a thrill.  What about the publishing or editorial staff of a poetry magazine? There must be a few in NYC! 

This also reminds me that I too am good at something that sometimes annoys the crap out of me, but that, at other times, can be so incredibly satisfying… number-crunching! I’ve spent a few hours this week organizing and analyzing accounts for our businesses and household for 2013, and I caught myself thinking, “I could do this as a job again.” As uptight and nerdy as it may sound, there’s something very soothing about organizing numbers into grids and getting all your formulas to work the way they should. Did I just write that? I’m going to go draw something immediately…


What We’re Drinking: Domain Saladin Fan dé Lune Côtes du Rhône 


“Fan de Lune” means ‘child of the moon’ in local patois and is used to express surprise. I only know this because I googled it. Not knowing anything, I found this wine at the Artisan Wine Shop in Beacon. Noah had rock band practice so I had some time to kill and this was the wine they had on special. I’m always a sucker for specials because I don’t know that much about wines, but this one turned out to be good.

Gina: Looks like a good choice! I like Cote du Rhone. But what is this about a rock band?! I need more info! And pictures!


  1. Get out of that Polar Vortex and head out to, well the slightly warmer part of California I live in. My school is in a town with a population of 500 come next school year we are in need of two teachers! Hoping we get good applicants!

  2. Oh, Lena! I would move to California & warmer weather in a heartbeat. If only my family would follow. My husband and my kid, unfortunately, LOVE the snow and, inexplicability, DOING THINGS in the snow. (Ugh.) I could not tear them away. Maybe someday….

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