I walked into my bedroom after a busy day today and realized I hadn’t had time to make the bed this morning – a typical daily ritual before heading downstairs. It triggered the memory of the lines of a poem.
I wrote it years ago, the day after the man I eventually married left my little apartment in the mountains to go back to his hometown and work for the winter. We’d been together awhile, loved each other in our crazy young heart ways, and he said he was coming back for me the next year.
If you had been wondering about my busy day …….it had included making a big batch of the most luscious tart filling on the face of the earth. Lemon curd.
It’s a wonderful recipe I’ve made countless times (sometimes with limes or blood oranges) during my restaurant and catering years. I haven’t told you much about these years, yet, and this probably isn’t the post for that – although cooking in restaurants for me was a definite kind of love story – wild and intense, full throttle and incredibly rewarding. A love story or two actually sprang up during in those years. And the man in this poem was one of them.
Ribs and Branches
It is the damned extent
of not being alone
Even when observation proves obvious
that proves how superior vision is
but I am alone,
and so with that abandon
kneel, then sprawl
over his old pillow,
wishing it was water,
the one he sweated and opened his mouth
to loosen log rafts of dreams.
I dive from memory
to smell the burning booted notion
he living with me;
balm he rubbed into his chest and back — farm mint,
to find a sawdust gold hair: I did this,
wanting so. I had not made the bed that,
this last morning,
wanting uneven keel and furl of sheets.
I draw up the blankets now
just before I intend to climb back in,
willing to pull the sleeping ribs of a waterway smooth
and alter my breath.
I see geometrics of his arms and legs
sink as soaked branches deep into the mattress.
Hearing night answering snow wind
I walk to the door, covering his handprints with mine
and open it
for singularity’s sake,
the storm a chorus I’ll remember
in snatches of cloud and wavelength.
And just as this lemon curd is plain irresistible, so was he. Did he come back? Yes, yes, dear reader, he did. He came back on the 4th of July. He wrote and said he was going to be back that day, and I waited. I waited until the afternoon was beginning to wane, then I got fed up and drove off in my old turquoise Chevy pick-up, winding up through the mountains and a super steep switchback road. I was going to a party, and just because he didn’t come, I wasn’t going to let that ruin my day. Driving around the first curve of the switchback, grinding into low gear to make it up the rest of the hill, my heart flipped. It was him. His red and white ’54 International pick-up truck was heading down the mountain. We both stopped right in the middle of the switchbacks, and hugged for about 5 hours. Really just a couple minutes, a car or two backed up behind him. And then, we got back in our trucks, I put it in reverse, turned around, and we drove back down to my cabin.
So my unmade bed today has been an inspiration to write, for the second time, I guess, in my life. If you have a love story of your own, and you’d like to fuel it, perhaps a lemon curd tart (I love it with a shortbread crust) and time with your beloved could have a very happy ending. I hope so. I wish it for you! Here’s a little slideshow to get you in the mood, and then, the recipe:
Inspired by the recipe in the amazingly comprehensive Doubleday Cookbook by Jean Anderson and Elaine Hanna. Makes about 1 quart
- 1 cup best quality butter
- 4 organic eggs
- 2/3 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3 tbsp. lemon zest – minced
- pinch of salt
- 1 c. sugar
Melt the butter in a large pot. Whisk eggs in a bowl until frothy. When butter has melted, stir in lemon juice, zest, salt and sugar, whisking until sugar melts over medium heat, about 2-3 minutes. Slowly pour about 1 cup of this mixture into the beaten eggs, thoroughly blend and then drizzle into the pot, scrape the bowl quickly, whisking all the while. Continue whisking until the lemon curd has thick bubbles over the surface, about 7-9 minutes. Turn off heat, and pour into small sterilized glass jars, or cool and use as a base in a fabulous tart recipe. Perfect as a filling for cakes. Excellent also served with scones or muffins.
Irresistible…don’t you think?
Leaving you with a link to an interesting post including the history of lemon curd : Fruit Curd / British Food: A History Enjoy!