Gathering Dinner

a daily harvest in the family bowl, 2014 ~

Wandering in from the garden, one hand holds snips and the other a heavily-laden pouch — the bottom of my tee shirt gathered up and around.

Garden bounty. I’d forgotten once again the old wooden harvest bowl, passed down from a line of great grandmothers to my grandmother, my mother to me.

The large, formerly circular, now oval bowl as harvest vessel is a newish tradition, if only I could remember it before heading outside; its former use as bread-dough-making vessel long since retired after an overnight in watery sink and resulting jagged crack.

Re-inventing family ritual has been my own tradition for decades.

Stories stretch way back in my clan; this bowl was hand-turned by a carpenter ancestor in upstate New York in earliest 1800s. The carpenter was named David and the first recipient of the bowl, his wife, Sarah. The breaddough making began with her. I’ve tried to remember family stories told to me, to pass along to my kids, maybe one day to grandkids.

When eyeing the bowl’s long crack and thinking of belongings passed down, I feel that twinge of guilt I’m not the most careful steward of belongings in my family’s female line, not of this bowl, at least.

The shirt-pouch filled with dinner makings from the garden contains four Cherokee Purple heirloom and sixty or so orange Sungold cherry tomatoes. There are forty-three long, stout green beans, but only two of the purple variety today, each of them looking rather spindly, dwarfed on the pile of green.

I pinch off some basil tips and head for the kitchen.

Inside, secondary colors in vegetable form spill onto the counter — a small smile plays. Combinations are imagined for this evening’s meal.

Mood lightens.

Forehead smooths.

Dry curries are a favorite this summer, amateur hodgepodges, really, I don’t use a recipe and am not even sure at which point to add some of the spices used, to bring out best flavor. Dishes manage to taste pretty good, usually, so again tonight, sauteed veg and curry it is.

A little coconut oil begins to warm in the pan, the scent wafts into the room.

Shoulders relax.

Tofu cubes are browned and spiced. Green and purple string beans chopped. Red peppers. Pizza-slice zucchini wedges, as one son called them years ago.

Add to the pan and toss.

Inhale aroma…

exhale the day.