30 December 2007
Where I Come From
These are my people. This is where I come from. Sometimes it's good to remember where you come from, even if you never lived there, even if it's only where your mother grew up. Roots, deep, buried. So deep, sometimes we forget them. Even if you know you'll never live there, if you don't fit in there, if it's different than your memories have painted it. It's good to hear the accents, the drawl that can turn "bill" into a three-syllable word. Bi-iieee-uulll. The rocky landscape and the mountain springs, the smell of barbeque, the taste of country ham and biscuits, sorghum syrup, tomato aspic and green beans cooked all day long with a bit of fatback.
With all the wonderful gifts this year, the fancy phone, the camera lenses, backup hard drives, more books than I could dream of (yes, I was truly spoiled), it was a little teacup wrapped in tissue paper that brought tears to my eyes. The gift of my Grandmother's china set, bequethed from my aunt, the antique cream soup bowls with their delicate double handles that speak of responsibility and roots. I promise I'll give them the care they deserve.
We fed the horses and the burrow, played with the dogs and were entertained by a four-year-old on the trombone. We drove through towns with names like Lebanon, Smyrna, and Carthage, New World versions of Old World titles. I told my cousins about how I went to the original Smyrna, Ismir, in southern Turkey; they looked at me like I was crazy. We ate caramel cake and fought over the Sunday crossword puzzle while sitting by the fireplace. It's good for a city girl to get her boots muddy sometimes. I hope your holidays were as enriching, belly-filling, and relaxing as ours. We're looking forward to the new year!
Grapefruit, Avocado, Pomegranate Salad
Every year my uncle sends us a whole crate of Texas pink grapefruit and so begins our annual quest to use all 18 of them before they go bad. The one thing they are destined for is this salad with avocado and pomegranate seeds that my Grandmother always made around the holidays. In our family it's simply thought of as "the Christmas salad."
1 large pink grapefruit
1 large ripe avocado, peeled and sliced
mache or butter lettuce, about 6 cups
1 cup pomegranate seeds
3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1. Section the grapefruit: Cut off the peel from the top and bottom of the grapefruit. Working from top to bottom, remove the peel and pith in strips, so that the grapefruit flesh in completely exposed. Discard peel and any white pith. Working over a bowl, use your knife to cut between the white membrane so that the grapefruit flesh is released into the bowl in sections. Squeeze juice from remaining flesh and discard.
2. Get another large bowl and whisk together the vinegar, oil, and salt in the bottom. Toss the lettuces in the bowl to coat. Divide lettuces among four serving plates or leave in the bowl. Arrange grapefruit sections and avocado over lettuces. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds over salad. Serve immediately.