Wednesday, July 27, 2005

tasty blooms

Sometime in the middle of each semester I make my way downtown to teach a seminar at the Department of Justice. The seminar is always on Wednesdays, always in the mornings. There are many benefits to rubbing noses with real lawyers now and then, especially those who are representing you and me in the numerous cases filed against the State of Wisconsin. It's good to keep informed about these things.

A secondary benefit is that I get to go to the downtown Wednesday market on these DOJ days. It is scary how you can go with a list of two items and come back with a truckload of foods. What can I do… I am starting to prepare the Last Supper for this week-end, fittingly named (by me) because of a bunch of rites of passage to be commemorated then, though none of them quite as horrific as those about to take place on the heels of this meal (cunningly displayed on someone's lunchbox, possibly as a reminder that every meal could be, indeed, your last):

This post, however, is not about that. It’s about asking vendors for edible flowers. I need edible flowers and not many fit the bill. You can make yourself sick by eating the wrong kind of pea flower, for instance, whereas a nasturtium or a violet will go far to create a culinary masterpiece.

Unfortunately, most vendors are shocked when I press them on this topic. And most are suspicious when I say I only want one particular flower out a huge bouquet laid out there for me. And it is hard to explain the whys and what fors. Why do you want to eat flowers when there are so many truly wonderful other foods there for you, in stall after stall?

If I had to search out the reasons for why I do the things I do – it would keep me up all night and scare you away. Best to just assume that I get these notions and they stick and if an edible flower is one of them, then I will chase it down until it is positioned on the palm of my hand ready to be plunked into … the dish under consideration.

So, just one photo today, taken during a discussion of how I can have more of one kind of flower so that I can EAT IT. (In the end I bought the whole bouquet – so pretty, how can anyone resist...)

Madison July 05 348

Taking care

In this world, there are people who are destined to take care of you. I’m not talking about parent types. I’m talking about those who peer into your eye and notice that you are indeed far more grateful for that act of taking care than you let on.

I’ve never actually admitted to liking this. It is a rare person whom I will allow to tilt the balance so that I am not the one marmishly looking out for them. People with deep anxieties about life are like that – they appear fiercely independent and they can’t ever owe anything to anyone. I’m not saying this is good or bad and I’m not saying all good friends should assume care-giving tasks. All I am saying is that some have gently pushed aside the recently wobbly sign I find myself routinely hiding behind...

hearty ppstock
...and I am grateful.

Of course, it would be the case that much of taking care of another for me orbits around food and beverage. And indeed, there have been many lattes and Macaroni Grills and scrambled eggs in the past months that have been direct answers to my often unexpected and often pesty calls for company.

And then there have been these two who have taken the art of taking care to another level: for the past several months, Tom and Suzanne have taken to cooking dinners for me on a fairly regular basis – like just about once a week. And when I bike over there, I am, predictably perhaps, in some state of tumultuous anxiety. So that it takes more than one bottle of wine tucked into Mr. B’s pouch to get us through the evening. And they appear to not mind. Maybe they do mind, maybe they are doing this out of some vow that they made, in the manner of: dear deity (or whatever), if only you allow our hostas to grow, we promise we will cook regularly for any loser who comes our way in the months to come, maybe I wreck their routines – but they do not let on.

I feel that I cannot thank them enough for this period of feeding. Last night, after a supper of gazpacho and blueberry pie (because, of course, they would have picked up from my blog that I am all about blueberries) I biked home late, reflecting on this and I knew that the next blog post will be about the act of taking care: because really, if you have a friend who is resisting being taken care of, don’t take them at their word. Do it anyway. Being looked after, at least for short periods of time, can be awesome!