As I write this there’s a master carver and a nature photographer in my kitchen. I hear the click of the camera and the soft buzz of conversation as Jim Calder and D. W. Maiden create the photo illustrations for the upcoming book, So You Thought You Couldn’t Cut It, A Beginners Guide to Wood Carving.
Bubbling on the stove, serving as a saucy backdrop to their work, is a large pot of tomatoes and spices for the pasta I’ll serve for dinner. The aromas of garlic, onion and basil waft through the house and escape through the open windows on the second floor causing our neighbor to pause and sniff the humid air. (The upstairs air conditioning unit gave out in the record heat late last week.) While the gifted carver and the photographer create a work of art in pictures, I stir up memories.
“It smells like home,” the artist declares. That smell is driving me crazy.”
He’s been saying that since yesterday afternoon when the first of the chopped aromatics met the hot olive oil, beginning a process that has been repeated for generations. Making sauce takes two days in this house. Slow simmering whets the appetite and thickens the sauce. It also provides a number of opportunities for impatient diners to dip a piece of bread into the pot to sample the “gravy” and add seasoning if needed. Everyone knows the sauce is fine and the tasting is a ruse. Nothing more than a yummy benefit of replicating the sauce made by my grandmother, my mother, her sister and now me. A wood-carver, a photographer, a cook, and a writer coming together to nurture the body and the soul in my home.
Life is good in Round Hill this afternoon. How are things where you are?