“Bring our recipes home.” Kathy said. “Back into community. They’re lost on big sites.”
We’re drinking Russian Caravan tea and eating peach pie. Kathy’s my cooking friend, and I love how she thinks about food. Of course, tea, pie and philosophy— what could be better?
“When recipes are in their cadence, we taste them. They tell us stories, but unlike food porn, leave something to the imagination. It’s like a play; we enact and wake them through cooking. Together, recipes and cooks are magical, because we make words into actions, and actions into yumminess.”
Earlier, we’d walked the hedge row of blackberries near home, but had noticed few ripe berries amongst the clusters of red and green.
Never chew a blackberry, press it against the roof of your mouth, with your tongue, extracting the juice and quickly swallowing seeds. At first it’s sour, but then all berry.
Of all fruits, it’s the berries; they hold memories—weighing down a salal branch with a string attached to a stone, so my toddler son could pick to his heart’s content, or visiting a blackberry patch, with children, for a year. We kept journals and sketchbooks of its life cycle from October, when the molding berries are called Devil’s spit, to June when star petaled flowers await their bees.
Or my own childhood of blackberry stained hands, right cheek painted, with vivid lips and purple teeth. How I knew the microscopic bugs were there, but were too small to care about and didn’t stop me from popping berries in my mouth. How the blackberry thorns grabbed and held me fast as I’d try to push up higher into the canes.
Somewhere, I learned that blackberry leaves are medicinal, and the roots can be used as food. I like to pay attention to how plants live their lives. I want to know the details, so when the blackberries reach my kitchen, the realm of the recipe, there’s a firm foundation between us. Then I can go ahead and ask—How are you going to taste roasted, or what happens when you’re frozen?
It takes six cups of berries to make a pie. I’ve known for sometime that tapioca starch makes the best thickener, and that blackberries have an affinity for cinnamon. Although, I must confess, with all this pie talk that blackberry syrup’s my favorite. I have this memory of how delighted I was, tasting it for the first time—fresh blackberry syrup on pancakes. I’m always trying to recreate it.
The blackberries weren’t ripe, but the peaches were juicy and calling us to pie dough and more good conversation.
Sidonie Maroon is a Recipe Developer, Food Writer, Chef and Culinary Educator.She also blogs at her recipe site: abluedotkitchen.com and for the Port Townsend Food Coop