The three-cheese chicken with marinara sauce and whole grain baby penne is assembled and resting in the refrigerator until 5:30 , when it will bake in the oven and fill the house with a primal, comforting, smell of garlic, red wine, fresh basil, and tomatoes. It is one of the scents of well-being; of fortitude. It builds us up.
Family cooks are lucky. We get an early infusion of the raw ingredients. They are stronger than sadness, sweeter than sunshine, amulets and talismans for the mountain climb. I feared the challenge of climbing a mountain until the first time I made it, panting, sweating and bleeding, to a ridgetop. Then, I knew joy beyond joy.