Friday, February 12, 2010

Love Is ...

Love Is …

By Allison Adams 02-06-06 / Submitted to The Greeneville Sun (as “I Love Ya’ Gallons”) on 02-07-06

While you all are standing elbow to elbow in the Hallmark store, plucking one heart-shaped, rose-embossed, greeting card after another from its place on the rack, and reading through line after line of someone’s idea professing Love in perfect prose, I’ll be at the BP using my $2.99 to buy something meaningful … like a gallon of gas.

Long ago, I abandoned the ritual of combing through stacks of mass-produced Valentine’s Day greeting cards searching for just the right one for my mister – surrendering the notion that I would ever find one that sufficiently describes what Love means to me.

For some of you I know that Love is blind – its a red, red, rose – its all you need – its in the air – it’s the answer – it “completes” you - it makes the world go ‘round.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

For me, Love is most perfectly described using a series of run-on sentences:

Love is understanding that when I say “I’ll be ready in 5 minutes” it’ll really be 15 (or maybe even 20) and then waiting patiently in the house for me to be ready instead of sitting behind the wheel of the car parked in the driveway with the engine running.

Love is remembering which sections of the Sunday paper I enjoy reading as I sip my morning coffee and then pulling them out and setting them aside for me to read first.

Love is tolerating my habit of watching a wee bit of TV before I go to sleep each night even though you’re a “reader” and would prefer to do so in the quiet and then taking care to lay the TV remote on my pillow when you turn down the bed.

Love is accepting that I’ve volunteered you to help with one of my “projects” without first asking you if you had other plans like watching the Big Game and then cheerfully coming along with me and acting as if there’s nowhere else you’d rather be.

Love is patiently allowing me to agonize over the crossword puzzle even though you’re dying to take a crack at it and then when I finally surrender, pretending to also struggle with 29 across even though you knew it right off the bat.

Love is agreeing that the floral quilt I bought for the bed looks very nice despite the fact that the only request you made was that I please buy one with no floral print and then also noticing that the crowning touch of the bed ensemble is the addition of ten fluffy, fringed, tasseled, ruffled, pillows, placed “just so” that are only there for decoration and not meant to lay your head upon.

Love is taking the time to go through the production required to make that bed look “just so” every morning before you leave for work even though you’re not the housewife.

Love is understanding that I’ve been so busy with extra-curricular activities that I haven’t taken the time to tackle the laundry and then knowing when your dresser drawer is empty that you need to fish clean underwear out of the dryer and while you’re in there you just go ahead and fold the whole load.

Now, there’s a Valentine’s Day card I’d pay good gas money for.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Recipe Box

The Recipe Box

By Allison Adams 02-05-10 / Submitted to The Greeneville Sun 02-07-10

Decades ago my dear daddy gave me a crystal clear Plexiglas recipe-card box for my birthday. He had my first name engraved in uppercase script letters along the front. It was very sleek and modern-looking. If a recipe-card box could be considered chic, it was this one.

For several years I collected recipes and carefully copied them using impeccable penmanship onto 4x6 cards that had an ivy border. I kept each one neatly filed – in alphabetical order – behind its appropriate category card divider. It would have only taken a few seconds to walk my fingers across the cards and pull out the very one I wanted – if I’d wanted one.

My recipe-card box was a source of pride and so I kept it I prominently displayed it on my kitchen countertop. It made a statement. It said: I neatly collect recipe-cards.

I’m not really sure what happened or when, but my once trendy and tidy recipe-card box is now a source of personal embarrassment. The outside of it is so covered in fingerprints and food splatters that my monogram is hardly recognizable. Inside the box, barely contained, is a collection catastrophe.

I keep it behind closed doors. It makes too much of a statement. It says: I am disorganized and could stand to spend a little extra time using a dishcloth.

These days my recipe card box contains cards of all shapes and sizes, along with bits of paper shoved in-between folded-up magazine pages and newspaper clippings. Years ago when I realized that I needed more space in the box I looked for superfluous items to omit, and so naturally the category card dividers got the heave-ho. Probably around that same time I also quit bothering to label some entries so I have to play the home recipe version of “Who Am I” with the haphazardly handwritten list of ingredients. Many of my recipes are so cryptic that only I can translate them.

When I need a recipe out of that box you’d better believe it’s a major event. I’m not talking about the making of the meal, but the hunt for the how-to. The only way to find anything specific is to empty the entire box and study each and every item inside.

As I sat down to begin the hunt for one of my favorite recipes I realized something had to give. I decided to sort and cull as I searched.

Out came the recipes that I’d knew I’d never-in-a-million-years get my family to eat – like Barbequed Stuffed Fish, Curried Cream of Mushroom Soup, and Artichokes with Yogurt Mustard.

Out came the ones that I knew I’d never-in-a-million-years attempt to prepare – like Lobster Fricassee, Iced Pear and Apricot Souffle’, and Rabbit Terrine. Rabbit Terrine? It’ll never happen.

Out came the recipes for things I’d never-in-a-million-years learn to pronounce – like Turbot En Bourride, Taramosalata, and Zabaglione.

Out came things that had no business being there in the first place – like the receipt for our artificial Christmas tree, most of the lyrics to “Desparado” written on a bank deposit slip, and what looked to be about half of an article entitled “Don’t Let Your Rug Become Dinner”. I am not kidding.

Although it’s a chore, flipping through my recipe file is also like walking down memory lane. I love when I come across one of the recipe cards that my mother painstakingly typed out on her reliable, manual typewriter. Some of them have wonderful names like “New Twist Dish”, and “Shrimp Secret” – names that require one to read further in order to discover the “Twist” or the “Secret”.

At last I came upon an envelope on the back of which was scribbled: 4 T butt, 2 on, 1 carrot, 6 gloves carlic, 2 70 oz toms, 1T oregno, sug, s & p, 4c chic stock, 2 c ½ ½ . Tranlsated … that, my friends, is Sherry Miller’s Terrific Tomato Soup recipe. More or less.

Having successfully found what I was looking for, I shoved everything back into the Plexiglas box except the never-in-a-million-years recipes, the receipt, and the song lyrics.

And as a precaution, I hung on to the article entitled “Don’t Let Your Rug Become Dinner”, just in case I’m ever tempted.

I am not kidding.