Longleaf Stories

full circle in the hundred acre wood

I usually jot down a few “thoughts on the week” menu planning on Sundays, but life happened outside of food thoughts yesterday, thank goodness, and here it is a rainy Monday morning instead. Of course, some weeks, I don’t do it at all, and have to rely on near daily trips to the grocery store or buried treasures such as spaghetti sauce or soup stored in the freezer. The only reason I try to plan at all is that I hate to have to go to the store in order to eat. So I plan, keep buried treasure in the freezer, and a few things in the pantry that can make lunch or a simple supper.

Case in point: this weekend. We didn’t feast like pashas, but we ate well and didn’t have to shop. Don’t get me wrong. When a general outline for the week is thought out and a grocery list developed, I love to go to the store. But on Saturday, I raided the pantry, hopeful I could come up with a supper-like experience. And so it was.

Sliced cucumbers, salmon patties, canned corn with a can of chopped green chilies thrown in. Okay, so I don’t really like canned corn or canned chilies, but it was there, we ate it, and it was better than I thought it was going to be. The supper was sparkled up by the nice surprise of one last, very fragrant, sweet tomato from the Western North Carolina Farmer’s Market. Canned salmon is a great thing to have in the pantry. Get red sockeye if you can. It’s more expensive, but the texture, taste and level of Omega 3 fatty acids (yum) are significantly better than the mushy pink stuff.

Sunday night was a gift. We found a container of that good, spicy spaghetti sauce in the freezer, a bottle of decent red in the cupboard, a loaf of country French from an Asheville bakery (also pulled from the freezer), and luckily some fresh salad greens and Greek Feta cheese from the fridge. The sweet man and I enjoyed supper at our little table pulled up to the fireside. Moonlight streamed through the window wall.

Reading this in the here and now of 2013 from our home in the pine woods of Pensacola, I can’t help but think of Frank McCourt’s iconic memoir, Angela’s Ashes, and the passage about an egg at the family dinner table:

Mam says, “This egg is for your father. He needs the nourishment for the long journey before him.”

It’s a hard-boiled egg and Dad peels off the shell. He slices the egg five ways and gives each of us a bit to put on our bread. Mam says, “Don’t be such a fool.” Dad says, “What would a man be doing with a whole egg to himself?”

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