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Queen Anne's Lace

I just read the name of a recipe.  Pear Tart with Stilton Cheese and Cranberry Rash.  Cranberry Rash?  Ghastly.  Maybe they mean rasher, as in rasher of bacon.  Anything’s possible, just off the plane, train and automobile, getting from California to Illinois.

My head clears.  I look again.  Cranberry Relish.  The recipe is for Cranberry relish.

I hope the rest of my stay here goes like that.  My world upside down, but upside right if I read sideways and from left to right.  If I adjust to the sound of the breeze rustling through deciduous trees instead of clacking through palm tree fronds.  Adjust to the sound of the train going through town, which I woke up the first morning thinking was the sound of the waves and I was still at home in CA.

I’m here to work.  To write a book…or to put it more realistically, to scratch out the rough draft of one.  I’m here in the quiet of the IL countryside instead of the noise-infested summertime of Southern California to write about Paris in October.

I love the Queen Anne’s lace here.  It’s not out yet.  The photo was taken when I was here last year, when the first ME, MYSELF and PARIS was published.  M,M & PARIS DEUX is staggering to it’s feet.  So I musn’t get sidetracked by such things as Cranberry Rash…er…make that relish.

I was thirteen, and I was in Paris with my mother.  I wasn’t happy to be there. Being thirteen had a lot to do with it, and so did the fact we were living in Europe, and all I wanted was to be back in the States.  So, in this quintessentially Parisian cafe, instead of ordering French like my cheerful, and very pregnant, mother did, I ordered something called Filet American.  I prayed I would be served a nice big fat juicy American hamburger–

Instead I was served a mound of raw hamburger.  There were capers on top.  My eyes flew over to my mother.  I loved raw hamburger, but my mother rarely allow me to eat more than a tiny bit of raw hamburger, even though I begged.  Her eyes widened.  She quickly sought the eyes of the waiter.  He was casually serving the rest of the food as though nothing was wrong.  Her eyes moved back to the mound of raw hamburger.  Over to mine, which must have been shining, which would have been a first during the whole trip to Paris.  Maybe she just wanted a peaceful lunch for once–

“Okay,” she said.  And my world tilted sideways as I dug into what should have been an American hamburger but turned out to be something called steak tartare which was made of raw hamburger.

So here in the far western corner of Illinois, the breeze doesn’t clack through palm fronds, and hopefully it will take awhile before I wake up and know exactly where I am.

 

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  1. Minou Hassani says:

    : )

  2. pam b says:

    Loved this story Ruth. What a sweet memory of your mom.

  3. Ruth Yunker says:

    Thank you, Pam.