Thursday, November 24, 2005

Making pie and giving thanks

Last weekend, Robert put his head in his hands and said, "Mum always used to make a pumpkin pie!"
I rolled my eyes. And if I didn't actually roll my eyes, I'm sure I wanted to.
"Well," I said, "should we get your recipe and make a pie on Thanksgiving?"
His whole face lit up. "Oh, would you?" he said. "We'll invite my sister and do a whole Thanksgiving dinner." He dug his mobile phone out of his pocket and called Anne Louise. "Come over on Thursday evening for a home-cooked meal, Sarah's making a pumpkin pie. And I'm doing the main course."
When he hung up, I raised an eyebrow. "What 'main course' are you planning to make?"
I would love to write that Robert blushed but, alas, he looked right at me as he said, "I'll pick up a couple of lobsters."
"On your way home from work?"
He nodded.
"Robert," I said, "There's a difference between putting forth effort and throwing money at a problem..."
And we laughed.

This morning, we went downstairs to the fish shop and bought one and a half kilos of mussels, to be cooked in a cup of white wine and olive oil with shallots and no salt and then sprinkled with fresh parsley, and three fish cakes. After Rob went to work, I went to the cheese shop and bought pecorino and fresh bread to sop up with the mussels. Robert's mum emailed us her Prize Pumpkin Pie recipe and Robert dashed in and out of the apartment between meetings to help me make the crust. I toasted pecans to sprinkle on top of the crust and bought whipped cream to mix with a tablespoon of maple syrup before serving.

Nothing in the dinner belongs with anything else (pumpkin pie and fish cakes?) so I'm also making a roasted butternut squash salad with rocket, proscuitto, and pecorino. The grocery store was filled with more American women than I've ever before seen in London, all of us pushing carts around and bemoaning the dearth of ready-made crusts.

We don't have any napkins but it feels cozy here for the first time that I can remember. I had been so afraid that this apartment would break me open somehow, after last month's visit. In Paris, I looked at Robert and said, "If someone asked you if you'd ever been engaged, would you even say yes?" And he said, "I just want that whole thing to disappear."

Just now, up to his elbows in dough in the kitchen, I touched the hair above the nape of his neck and said, "I love you." He looked at me, he said, "I love you so much." I am grateful to be here today. I am grateful for the warmth and loyalty and graciousness of my friends and family. For my father's enthusiasm, Suzie's sense of humor, Phoebe's ringing laughter, Julianne's unwavering faith, my sister's gentleness. I am grateful for my friend Sarah in North Carolina, my friend Liz in Atlanta, Rebecca in Chicago -- and the way, with these women, we talk honestly about the sorts of things I could never talk about with anyone else. What it's like to be lonely in a crowd, what we're eating for dinner, who we love, what we're reading, what things were like when we were in high school and college and how we are now. God, Robert doesn't have the patience for those conversations and I love him for that. At heart, he is a giant goofball, my personal space-heater, a man who wants the best for me.

I want to remember the way it feels right now, to have everything I need, to give thanks for our pie crust that looks scrappy from the outside but tastes so good.


Blogger Urban Barbara said...

nice post, sarah

4:21 PM  
Anonymous camille said...

i wish i was there with the mussels and pecorino and pumpkin pie.
i love the sentence where you say he is a space heater. sometimes...

9:34 PM  

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