Southerners Win With Beef!
It is the Peking Salad. And why it is a Peking Salad, I am not sure unless it is the presence of the snow peas, the Chinese cabbage, the one tablespoon of soy sauce.
Y'all- this recipe is probably from the eighties. We were not so sophisticated then. Thank god. Because it is exactly what a woman who has just given birth needs. The iron in the spinach and in the beef, the B-Vitamins in the mushrooms, the fiber, the protein! And of course the dressing, the "goop" as we call it around here- the fat, the sugar, the complete, decadent deliciousness.
So I made that and the prune cake, moist and filled with spices and nuts, and the giant glorious loaf of Challah which rises with all of the glory of the mighty manhood of a god, brushed with egg yolk and sesame seeds.
I made these things, these foods to take to my daughter who has just given birth, for her and her husband and even as I cooked and I baked and I stirred and I sauteed and I blanched and I kneaded and I chopped, I hoped that all of my love would go along with the protein, the fiber, the iron, the B-Vitamins, the deliciousness, the decadence, the fat and the sugar.
We who often confuse food and love can sometimes find the sweet spot of too-much and just enough and this meal does it for me.
I loaded up all of the food in the car and went and picked up Lily and Owen and Gibson and we arrived at Jessie and Vergil's house and completely disrupted their sweet, calm time. I know it was okay, but I still remember that fatigue from loss of blood and sleep, that heightened, almost psychedelic state of mind after the baby comes and I desperately wanted us to visit, to love, and then to go and let the new family be. May and Michael showed up just as we got there too, and so it was a bit of a crazy time and it was us-our family- children and titties and a dog and kid-yelling and hugging and stroking and loving.
Too much/just enough.
August was just a peach of a prince and let us all hold him and admire his toes, his fingers, his curls and swirls, his softness, his beauty. There's May, holding her nephew.
Owen, holding his cousin. He looks like he knows what he's doing, right? He does. He loves that new baby.
And Lily, so becoming-full of baby herself, remembering, looking forward, showing him to Gibson who said, "He so pretty!" And then he touched him gently and said, "He have bones!"
Later, when I was holding August and he was back wrapped in his blanket, Gibson came up to me and said, "Take that blanket off him."
"Why?" I asked. "Do you want to see his body?"
"Yes!" he said.
"But he's so cozy," I told him.
"He no want to be cozy," Gibson said.
I did not unwrap him but it made me swoon a little that Gibson wanted to see all of this new child.
Finally, we all left, and I hope that we did not upset August too much. He seemed fine. He pooped and peed while we were there and we all praised him, and he looked around with his dark, dark knowing, wondrous eyes and he allowed us to love him.
I love how Jessie and Vergil are rolling with it all, accepting the chaos with the love.
And Greta was so happy to have her boys to play with her.
So yes, it has been a very good day and I won't lie to you- there have been moments when my heart felt as grated as the nutmeg I put in the cake.
This is life and the way of it. If you want to feel the deepest of the deep of love, you have to have a heart open enough to feel the deepness of all of it.
And the heights. Those too.
I wish us all peace and I wish us all love and I wish us all the sweet, fat decadence of what this life can offer and the softness of a new baby's skin and the fierceness of a new mama's love and the tenderness of a new family's hearts and the wonder which is reflected in a new baby's eyes.
All of that. Yes. I do.