Sunday, September 02, 2018

farmhouse brunch

It has become a tradition, and one that none of us want to mess with: Sundays are family meal days at the farmhouse. It is a rare Sunday evening when the young family is not here for dinner and it is a rare Sunday morning, or morning/afternoon, when the visiting youngest family doesn't end their Madison stay with a big family brunch around the now big family table in the kitchen of the farmhouse. And I have to say -- I love cooking for all of them, all of us on this day.

The farmhouse brunch doesn't vary much. I always make a frittata. These days I make two of them, because we've grown. Into this egg dish, I'll sauté vegetables of the season. Today -- well it's obvious: I do corn and zucchini. Ed tells me he'd like some mushrooms in there as well. Sure! No problem! And I add basil. (I am not too old to learn new tricks: only yesterday did I discover that you're not supposed to refrigerate your basil leaves. Put the stems in a jar of water and keep them on your counter. I should have guessed as much, but I didn't.)

The table is set: simply, with added chairs from other rooms. Snowdrop always complains when I give her the "black chair" and for some reason I do it anyway, just to tease her.

Note, too, that there are fifteen eggs from our hens. Perfect for one large frittata and one small one.

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The veggies are now ready for the egg pour. And a generous sprinkle of Italian cheeses. Frittatas love the Italian touch.

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As I finish up this terrific eggsy dish, the families gather. Here's Ed, wondering why Primrose's feet are so wet. Because she likes to stick them in her mouth! Oh, that's such a good thing -- he says with a smile.

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I think Primrose is a total ham. No wilting violet, she talks to you with a wide range of vocalizations and she adds emphasis to everything with her gaze, which sort of acts like an exclamation mark.

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Everyone's here! I add prosciutto and cold smoked salmon to the table. And plates of fruits and berries. And sweet buns and rolls. Nothing home baked today. Some weekends allow for it, but this time, we make do with store bought stuff. Shots of espresso and  milky cappucinos are always there for the asking. Snowdrop settles for orange juice. Many of the grownups love sparkling water, so there'll be cans of that everywhere you look.

Here we all are, all nine of us at the table, though only seven are eating brunch foods.

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(Primrose may well join in the next time she sits down at the table with us.)

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The meal is not rushed. This is crucial. Someone may want seconds, another person may get up to attend to a child's pressing need. But lingering is really important. The point is to be in the presence of the others. Just to be physically with them. At the table, then in the living room.

I want a photo of all my grandkids with me. It's great fun to try to get this done where no one is slumping, squirming, fidgeting, or pouting. We did okay here!

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I had hauled up some of Snowdrop's baby stuff and now we're trying them out on the younger kids. Both Primrose and Sparrow take a turn on the jumparoo. I remember when Snowdrop, at a somewhat older age (say six or seven months) would spend a very very long time jumping up a storm. Her brother here is not even three months, but he's giving it a good try. Because, you know, what the older sibling does must be just great, right?

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I have to hand this to Sparrow: he is the proverbial second child as he awaits patiently for his turn, even as the older kids and grownups talk up a storm all around him. Here, he looks appreciatively at his uncle, who takes the time to chat him up and make him smile.

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But I do have to turn again to Primrose. She's our visitor, our special farmhouse guest, if only because she is the one child we wont be seeing for several weeks now.

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How will we all change by the time we next gather here for a Sunday brunch? Perhaps those of us at the older end of the continuum (Ed, myself ) -- perhaps we wont change much at all. Same old stories, same old us.

Ed, take a picture!
daughter: do you feel like a matriarch yet?
Ha ha ha! I'm just the frittata cook with a few little ones bouncing around me!

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Here, at the farmhouse, the ingredients of this wonderful egg dish may shift and change. Everything else --  may it stay the same in all its glorious and wonderful essence always.