Chickpea flour, herb, and goat cheese “flan” (with chard, fennel and white beans)

Chickpea flour, herb, and goat cheese "flan"

Chickpea flour, herb, and goat cheese “flan”

On Independence day I read an article about American Expats the world over. It had a picture of a little boy with his face painted like old glory, and the caption said something like, “I’m not a gun-toting unthinking patriot,” implying that people were fleeing the country because it was being taken over by gun-toting unthinking patriots. The caption turned out to be a little misleading. In fact most people had left the country because they fell in love with somebody from somewhere else. Which is why plenty of people leave plenty of countries, and even why many people come to America. People talked about eating burgers and drinking beer, and one fellow said, it’s just like any holiday, an excuse to take some time off and enjoy your family and friends. Which is what we did. It started drizzly and blustery, but in the afternoon the rain stopped and we walked to see our fledgling bald eagle, which seemed in keeping with the situation. When we reached his aerie the sun came out with perfect cinematic timing. And then we came home and drank beer and ate (french lentil and chard) burgers. While we were cooking, David put on a Tom Waits album, and I thought, this is what we should be celebrating today…our own unique brand of eccentric genius. What makes American eccentrics different from any other sort? I don’t know! Maybe nothing. But I think there’s a wildness to the madness, a roughness. We have none of the refined eccentricity of an Oscar Wilde. American eccentrics are ruggedly strange, maybe even ignorantly or naively so, at times. But we’re strange in many languages. We combine the foibles and superstitions of all the different nations that chatter across our land. There’s a freedom to our eccentricity, a freedom of odd speech. American eccentricity knows no class and has no class. So to honor the fourth of July, today’s Sunday interactive playlist is on the subject of American eccentrics. You could nominate songs by an out-and-out eccentric, or just strange songs by a relatively normal artist. Add your songs to the playlist or leave a suggestion in the comments and I’ll try to remember to add it through the week.

IMG_3697Speaking of eccentrics! Our local antiques flea market is a delightful collection of characters. This weekend I bought some beautiful flan pans and cake pans from a couple of lovely Belgian ex-pat bakers. I love their wares! I was so excited to use the flan pan that I put this together even though I got home from work late and exhausted. It was super-easy and super-quick and quite tasty! I used some of my favorite herbs from the garden, but you could use any herbs you like. We ate it with chard, fennel and white beans, and with a simple salad of arugula, tomatoes, basil, and fresh mozzarella.

Here’s a link to your American Eccentrics interactive playlist.

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Almond cake with blackcurrants, cherries and bittersweet chocolate

Almond cake with cherries, black currants and bittersweet chocolate

Almond cake with cherries, black currants and bittersweet chocolate

We’re watching L’eclisse at the moment, so today I’m going to wander around town in low-heeled but surprisingly noisy shoes, looking serious and wistful but bursting into laughter at life’s absurdities. Also, it’s my birthday, so I’m going to claim birthday privilege and write the most nonsensical rambling post ever. First of all, here’s a scene from L’eclisse that I like a lot. We haven’t watched the whole film so I’ll reserve judgement, but this scene I found surprising and beautiful.

Second of all, let me tell you about my lunch. I’m very excited about it. It was: a saltine cracker topped with brie, avocado, tomato, castelvetrano olives and lots of black pepper. I don’t usually eat lunch, but I’d been thinking about brie and avocado for a while now, and I had to try it. Everything tastes good on a saltine cracker.

IMG_3538

Finally, I’ll admit that this birthday is a hard one. 45. The only good thing you can say about turning 45 is that it’s better than not turning 45. For some irrational reason, birthdays ending in five or zero are harder than any other birthdays. So I’ve been in a blue mood all week. And then one evening after dinner the boys and I walked to the store to buy ice cream novelties. I was feeling heavy and tired and discouraged. We walked through a big open space in town, and Malcolm said, “Mom! Sky Dive!!” He grabbed my hand and flung his other arm out. Slowly, I caught on, and stretched my arm out, and then he took Isaac’s hand and Isaac stretched his arm out. We were flying and buoyant and weightless in the sweet air of a perfect June evening. And I feel alright, I feel grateful for all of it, for everything.

Almond cake with blackcurrants, cherries and bittersweet chocolate

Almond cake with blackcurrants, cherries and bittersweet chocolate

Our blackcurrant bush is bonkers. Full of fruit. You pick a bowlful in the morning, and it’s completely laden again in the evening. The berries seem to ripen as you pick them. So I boiled them for a long time with lots of sugar, and then pressed them through a sieve and ended up with a thick beautiful sauce. I added this to a custard one night and made ice cream. And yesterday I made a cake. I made a soft almond cake, and put a layer of blackcurrant sauce, fresh bing cherries and bittersweet chocolate chips. The whole thing is tart/sweet/soft and juicy. You have to eat it with a fork, though, cause it’s delightfully messy.

Here’s Nina Simone’s Feeling Good. Sounds like a June day, doesn’t it?
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Warm salad with potatoes, butter beans, spring rage, fresh mozzarella and herbs

Warm salad with potatoes, butter beans and greens.

Warm salad with potatoes, butter beans and greens.

It’s movie week here at The Ordinary! I seem to be talking about a different film every day, and today will be no different. Today’s installment features Le Corbeau made by Henri-Georges Clouzot in 1943. The film is about a small town plagued by anonymous poison pen letters, which threaten to tear the very fabric of the town to pieces. Everybody feels guilty about something, everybody tries to blame somebody else, everybody becomes plagued with fear and suspicion. It’s a fine film, in many ways, beautifully shot in black blacks and white whites. It’s suspenseful and mysterious, almost Hitchcockian. It’s still oddly relevant considering that the internets are full of anonymous trolls. But the thing that really stuck with me, strangely, is the way the setting is described in the very beginning. A small town, “ici ou ailleurs.” Ici ou ailleurs! Here or elsewhere! This phrase has been stuck in my head for days. I love the sound of it and the meaning of it. It makes any story into a fable or a myth, showing how our fears and hopes and passions are the same no matter where or when we live. It makes the story Ordinary by showing that it could happen to anyone, anywhere. Ici ou ailleurs. Of course Jean-luc Godard beat me to it, he made a film called Ici et Ailleurs. He made it with Anne-Marie Mieville, and it’s a reworking of footage they shot for Jusqu’à la victoire, a 1970 pro-Palestinian film. I haven’t seen it yet, but the trailer juxtaposes “simple images” of French children watching television with shots of Palestinians, and a woman’s voice tells us, “We should learn how to see here in order to be able to hear elsewhere. Learn how to hear yourself speaking in order to see what the others are doing. The Others, the elsewhere of our here.” Godard! Ici ou ailleur.

Warm sa;ad with potatoes, butter beans and greens

Warm sa;ad with potatoes, butter beans and greens

It’s so much fun to make dinner when you just return from a CSA with your arms full of fresh vegetables! Yesterday I made them into this sort of warm salad with potatoes and butter beans for substance. The potatoes, beans, and broccoli rabe were warm, the tomatoes, mozzarella and herbs were cool, and they all melted together when combined. I picked some bronze fennel, which was new to me and very lovely, and I minced that and added it for a nice mellow anise-y flavor. We ate it with a loaf of crusty bread, and Malcolm made it into a big sandwich.

Here’s Eddie Harris with Listen Here.
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Cashew-almond tamari sauce

Cashew tamari sauce

Cashew tamari sauce

Seibei Iguchi is a low-ranking samurai in mid-nineteenth century Japan, in an era when the notion of Samurai as a way of life is fading, confused, dying out. He’s employed as a bureaucrat in a grain warehouse, literally counting beans. His co-workers call him “twilight Seibei” because each evening at the close of the working day, when they go out and drink and consort with geishas, he rejects their invitation to join them and returns home instead. He’s a widower with a senile mother and two young daughters and he needs to be home to care for them, he can’t afford to go out. But this is not a hardship for him: he loves to be with his family, he loves to watch his daughters grow. He is content. This is Twilight Samurai, by Yôji Yamada, and it is a beautiful movie, and it is a very Ordinary movie! It’s not unique in showing samurai as displaced or unglamorous–Kurosawa’s nameless Samurai in Yojimbo is hungry and lousy. But I believe it is the first film I’ve seen to show a Samurai so quietly and contentedly engaged in ordinary everyday activities, going from day to day feeding his daughters, showing them how to make cricket cages, leaving for work and returning home, and noticing that the azaleas are in bloom. This is a quiet samurai movie with little (though beautifully filmed) fighting. Seibei Iguchi doesn’t hunger for glory or political advancement or financial gain. He’s full to bursting with the business of everyday life, with its pleasures and its responsibilities. Because twilight is more than just closing time, it’s the time of day when we become acutely aware of time passing, of the poignance and value of each moment, and we sense that Seibei Iguchi feels this aching beauty at all times.

My boys liked this sauce! It’s got a nice balance of sweet, tart and umami flavors. It’s good with steamed broccoli, with spinach, with carrots. It’s nice with rice or long noodles. And it’s very easy to make! We have quite a few basil plants outside, and this is a nice non-pesto use for the leaves.

Here’s a song from Twilight Samurai by Isao Tomita.

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Potatoes with honey, sorrel, and lemony herb sauce

Sorrel, honey, and lemony herb sauce

Sorrel, honey, and lemony herb sauce

Hello, Ordinary friends!! It’s been a while since we’ve had a Sunday interactive playlist, for the simple reason that we’ve been trying to observe screen-free Sundays. But I noticed a similar line in two songs that are on heavy rotation here at The Ordinary, and I decided to post the world’s first Saturday Interactive Playlist. The Songs were Doomsday, by Elvis Perkins, which I love love love, and Train to Chicago by Drink Me, which has long been one of my favorites. And the lines were…

    Man, I went wild last night
    O, I went feeling alright

and

    the train lurches left, lurches right
    drunk on the train to Chicago, I feel alright


I made this video!!

So I started thinking about the feeling of alright. It’s a good feeling, and I think it’s more than just okay, it’s more than a mediocre feeling of nothing bothering you too much. In fact, I think it’s a feeling of well-being despite the fact that things might not be going that well for you. It’s a feeling from inside of you, despite what’s going on outside of you. And it has a sort of memory-of-childhood comfort that despite your current woes, everything’s going to be alright. So today’s playlist is alright songs. Add them yourself, or leave a song in a comment and I’ll add it for you. Bonus points for songs that don’t have “alright” in the title. So far we have a lot of VU, Bob Marley and Bob Dylan, and you can’t go wrong with a list like that!!

Potatoes with honey, sorrel, and lemony herbs

Potatoes with honey, sorrel, and lemony herbs

Sorrel! It’s delightful! It’s a little tart and lemony, but mellows when you cook it. It also darkens and thickens, which accounts for the strangeness of my pictures in this post! Our CSA, Sandbrook Meadow Farm has a plethora of lemony herbs, sorrel, savory, lemon thyme. I made a sauce of these with some white wine and honey. It’s a picante sauce, very flavorful, so I used it with some mild boiled potatoes. I think it would be nice with white beans or chicken or in an omelette. You can adjust the tart/sweet balance to your own taste. You could add shallots and/or garlic and I think capers would be nice, too, but I kept it simple this time.

Here’s a link to your ALRIGHT interactive playlist.

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White beans with sorrel and chard

White beans with sorrel and chard

White beans with sorrel and chard

It’s so strange sometimes to be an American. In many ways we’re taught that we’re the center of the universe, the richest, smartest, most advanced, most imitated, most moral country in the world. With the biggest, best-prepared military. No amount of statistics will prove otherwise, because this is just something we know, it’s a gut feeling. And although we’re proud of the fact that America was founded by a bunch of rebellious forward-thinking intellectuals, we seem to have arrived to a point where it’s treasonous to question anything. These last few days I’ve found myself unaccountably moved by the story of Bowe Bergdahl and his father, Robert. I suppose, on one level, it’s not that surprising that as the mother of two boys I sympathize with a man saddened and anxious that his son is a prisoner in another country. And admittedly I don’t know many of the facts of the case, but nobody else seems to, either, and that doesn’t seem to stop them speaking with self-righteous idiocy about it. I believe that, in part, I’m reacting so strongly because the whole affair seems to demonstrate how skewed our values have become, or at least how different from my own. How can we accuse a young man of cowardice for questioning the legitimacy of a war we know we know we should never have started in the first place? How can we question his morals and judgement instead of jailing members of the administration that cynically lied to us to persuade us to enter an unnecessary conflict that would result in the deaths of thousands of Americans? I’ve heard Bergdahl criticized for saying that he’s ashamed to be American, but sometimes it seems impossible not to be. I’m ashamed to be American every time someone on Fox News claims to speak for all Americans. This passage is (supposedly) from en e-mail Bergdahl sent to his parents, “I am sorry for everything here. These people need help, yet what they get is the most conceited country in the world telling them that they are nothing and that they are stupid, that they have no idea how to live. We don’t even care when we hear each other talk about running their children down in the dirt streets with our armored trucks…We make fun of them in front of their faces, and laugh at them for not understanding we are insulting them…I am sorry for everything.” Who would tell their child to shut up and carry on in this situation? Who would tell them to stay put and not to question anything? Who would tell them that it would be cowardly to leave? The same people who criticize him now as a traitor and a coward, the same people who have never lost a child or witnessed the nightmarish chaos of war. I suppose it’s easy to have clear-cut answers to questions you don’t let yourself ask. Robert Bergdahl describes this decade of war and what led to it and what we’ve taken away from it as “the darkening of the American soul.” Right now it feels that he is not wrong.

White beans with sorrel and chard

White beans with sorrel and chard

I’m sorry to go on and on, by by god, it’s been on my mind. We will turn, instead, Candide-like, to our garden. We have such a lovely garden this year, and it’s a great solace to walk through our tomatoes and peppers and salsify and herbs. We’re growing sorrel. I love the word “Sorrel” and I like the idea of it as an herb. It’s lemony to bitterness when raw, but it mellows when cooked to add a bright tart citrus-y bite. I included it with mellow-flavored potatoes and white beans and earthy chard. I kept the seasoning quite simple–white wine, salt, pepper, and a little rosemary. We ate this over farro, but it’s hearty enough to eat as is. Or you could eat it with rice, couscous, bulgur, anything you like!!

Here’s Alice’s Restaurant by Arlo Guthrie, which I heard all the way through for the first time just the other day.

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Ricotta pistachio tart with crispy eggplant and castelvetrano olives

Ricotta pistachio tart with crispy eggplant and castelvetrano olives

Ricotta pistachio tart with crispy eggplant and castelvetrano olives

The other day Isaac asked why gold is valuable, and we instantly answered, “because it’s rare.” By this same logic, it’s more thrilling to see a cuckoo than a sparrow or a wild rose than a blade of grass. When I was little I had a small notebook with a mouse on the cover. I loved it. And I collected different kinds of grass, I pressed them in the book, and I was going to try to identify them. Well, it’s hard to identify different kinds of grass! Similarly it’s hard to tell one sparrow from another. They’re not widely varied in color or size, and we see some kinds of sparrows so often it almost doesn’t seem worth our while to determine which particular type each is. We almost don’t notice them anymore. But sparrows have some of the prettiest songs. And not just remarkable for their sweetness, but also for being virtuosic, haunting, with a beautiful tone unlike any other bird’s. And when you see them sing, (which isn’t hard to do, they don’t need to hide because nobody is looking for them, except for other sparrows, of course!) they look joyful, they look happy to be singing. And grass is some of the prettiest, sweetest smelling vegetation on the planet, though it’s not often brightly colored and showy. The true grasses, and the sedges and the rushes, cereals, bamboo and the grasses of lawns. And grasses are among the most useful of plants, giving us food, drink, thatch, even paper. And each blade of grass and each sparrow is unique, is unlike any other, and has experienced life as no other has, which makes them rare, which by our original logic makes them valuable. And being a human, I can’t help thinking about this in human perspective, and thinking about how each person is unique, is wonderfully rare, has a whole world of thoughts and experiences and feelings inside of them that nobody else has ever had ever. And as any grammatically minded person will tell you, it’s impossible to be more unique, it’s a word that can’t be modified. We don’t have stages of uniqueness, you’re not more unique, or somewhat unique or quite unique. Either you’re unique or you’re not, and, as it happens, you are. Which makes everybody equally rare, equally valuable. The thing we all have in common is that we’re all uncommonly precious.

Ricotta pistachio tart with crispy eggplant and olives

Ricotta pistachio tart with crispy eggplant and olives

This is a tart on a pizza crust. The thing that makes it a tart rather than a pizza with strange toppings, according to my own definition, is that it has eggs in it, so it’s almost like a wide shallow quiche. You can put any toppings you like on it, but I highly recommend this combination. Make the eggplant one night, and you can use the leftovers in a million different ways.

Here’s a lovely little film about Django Reinhardt playing j’attendrai. He’s my new favorite!
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Chocolate chocolate chip almond, pear, and pimms cake

Pimms cake with chocolate, almonds and pears

Pimms cake with chocolate, almonds and pears

May is bird watching season where I live. David and I have ventured out a few mornings into the wild and winding path that is the other side of the other side of the canal. We’ve seen some birds: parulas, yellow throats, red starts, orioles, hummingbirds, thrushes, too many warblers to name, and catbirds, catbirds, catbirds. Of course we’ve seen the nesting bald eagles, who are so much more important than any other bald eagle in the world because they’re our nesting bald eagles. They’re our neighbors. We’ve stumbled on a valley of new ferns so fragrant you could get drunk on the smell, we’ve seen a magical tree full of warblers of every description, a glowing field criss-crossed by swooping tree swallows. And we heard a cuckoo. A cuckoo! Cuckoos are famously hard to see, because they’re lurkers, they’re shy. Once, we thought we saw one, but it was very far away, and suspiciously similar to a kingbird. But I thought, if it’s just the two of us, and we both want to see a cuckoo, and we both decide we’ve seen a cuckoo, then we’ve seen a cuckoo! I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, about people seeing what they want to see and hearing what they want to hear. (In fact it’s a theme of my novel, but I promised myself I wouldn’t talk about that any more.) It’s such a tempting and dangerous practice to read the universe around you as you want to read it. We all do it, on some level, it’s unavoidable. I suppose the trick is to be aware of it, and then to expand and bend your universe-reading powers to the light, if possible. Everything talks to you, if you listen. The birds say “Sweet sweet sweet,” on a sweet morning, my dog sings “hello,” and “I love you,” because I think she does. The oracle of delphi sits on a stool above a chasm in a rock, inhaling vapors from the earth. She makes predictions, in a gibberish language, and then a priest interprets them and predicts the future. But we don’t need a priest, we can hear what we want to hear, we can predict our future as we want to shape it, as everything around us is telling us it can be, if we listen carefully. Eventually we did see a pair of cuckoos, startlingly handsome, in plain view for quite a while. And you’ll never guess what they called us!

A friend of mine posted a picture of herself on a train drinking pimms. I’d read about pimms, but I had never tried it, and I became completely obsessed. I love it! We drink it with ginger beer. It’s spicy, surprising, almost savory. I thought it would make a nice flavoring for a cake, and I thought it would go well with almonds and pears. It did, and it did!

Here’s War es also gemeit, a poem put to music by Schubert, about a miller who hears what he wants to hear in the voice of a brook.

Was this, then, what you meant,
My rushing friend?
Your singing and your ringing?
Was this what you meant?


Now, however it may be,
I commit myself!
What I sought, I have found.
However it may be.

After work I ask,
Now have I enough
for my hands and my heart?
Completely enough!
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Red quinoa& farro croquettes with roasted red peppers and hazelnuts (and hazelnut rosemary sauce)

Quinoa, farro and red pepper croquettes

Quinoa, farro and red pepper croquettes

Hello, Ordinary friends! It’s been a little while, and I’ll tell you why. I gave myself a short sabbatical to finish my novel! And now I think it’s finished! What a strange feeling. Finishing a story feels like a real sense of completion, a real end to something, and usually leaves me feeling a little bit weepy. Finishing a novel is just confusing. It’s so sprawling, and I started it nearly half a year ago, and all the characters have been alive in my head so long. Also I don’t really have a sense of it–I don’t have a sense if it would make sense to anybody else. I know it’s strange, but it’s not strange in a cool and calculated way, it’s just strange like I’m strange. I just don’t know! I feel like I want Ezra Pound to be the first person to read it, but he’s dead and he was a fascist, and he’d say, “Girl, you stole one of my lines!” Yeah. Any way, there I was feeling very happy but all confused about it, and we went for a bike ride on the canal and passed a writer friend who yelled, “Happy birthday!” And I realize that’s what it felt like, it felt like giving birth to this thing that’s been growing in my head for such a long while, and is now mewling and puking and still demanding attention and keeping me up all night. The bike ride was part of Malcolm’s plan for our perfect first-day-off-together-as-a-family in ages. Since he’s my son every part of the plan involved meals. We were going to go for a bike ride to the next town and get egg sandwiches, then go for a hike with a picnic, then come home and make a nice dinner. On the bike ride I stayed behind Isaac who cried, “Not too close, I’m afraid of heights and I have a lot of fears!” And I said, I have a lot of fears, too, but I promise I’m not going to bump into you. As ever, Isaac talked as if his voice kept his feet peddling–nonstop. He live-reported the whole event. “That was a fun ride!” “It’s still a fun ride.” “Yeah, but so far, so good!” And then he started talking about time. He couldn’t believe how quickly we rode four miles. Four miles! It was like no time had passed at all! But remember last year when he was slower and had a different bike? And this bridge is 150 years old, and that’s almost as old as our country, which is not that old but is actually a very long time. And isn’t everything going so fast? So fast. And then on the hike part of the day, Malcolm had a little black book and he was writing all of his good ideas in it. And he’s going to have a whole collection of books full of ideas, and he’ll lock them in a crate. When he has kids, if they want to know how to do something, like make a giant papier maché dog head, they’ll look it up in his book. And they’ll find so many good ideas that they’ll never be bored. What a strange day it’s been, warm and bewilderingly bright and ridiculously springtime-fragrant bee-buzzing and full of memories for ourselves and our children and our children’s children.

I made a meal with quinoa and farro cooked together as a side dish, and the next day I mixed it up with roasted red peppers, hazelnuts and some smoked gouda to make croquettes. I really think that quinoa makes the best croquettes–crispy and flavorful. These smelled like bacon when they were cooking!! We at them with tortillas, lettuce, avocado, tomatoes and this wonderful hazelnut rosemary sauce.

Here’s Two Soldiers by Monroe Gevedon and Family (1937!) for Memorial Day.
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Roasted mushroom, pine nut and olive pizza with a mashed potato crust

Roasted mushroom and olive pizza with a mashed potato crust

Roasted mushroom and olive pizza with a mashed potato crust

Sleepy John Estes had a “…tendency to withdraw from his surroundings into drowsiness whenever life was too cruel or too boring to warrant full attention,” according to blues historian Bob Koester. In a strange way, when I read this I thought, “I know what that feels like!” I’ve always gotten very tired when I feel nervous or confused, and I sometimes I think I feel tired all the time because I don’t sleep very well…I’m half-awake all night and half-asleep all day. I wonder if Sleepy John Estes felt that way, too, because he sings, “You know I worried last night and all night before/ You know by that I won’t be worried no more/ I was worried for you, I was worried for me/ You know by that I’m gon’ let it be.” It’s a beautiful song with a kazoo, and I love to hear him say that he’s not going to worry any more, but we all know that’s easier said than done. There’s something about Sleepy John Estes songs that makes them easy to relate to, that makes them very powerful though they’re often quite simple. He talks about his life, he talks about the people he meets, and the events that effect him from day to day, and though the subject is quotidian, his language is resonant and the music is perfect. He’s another patron saint of The Ordinary.
By R. Crumb

By R. Crumb


He talks about waiting for the mailman, hoping for some good news. “Now I been waiting on the mailman : he usually come around about eleven o’clock/ Now I guess he must have had car trouble : or either the road must be blocked/ Mailman : please don’t you lose your head/ You know I’m looking for a letter from my babe : some of my people might be dead.” He tells the story of a fire in his town,”When you see the chief : boys please clear the street/ Because you know he’s going down : save little Martha Hardin’s house for me/ She’s a hard‑working woman : you know her salary is very small/ Then when she pay up her house rent : that don’t leave anything for insurance at all./ Now I wrote little Martha a letter : five days it returned back to me/ You know little Martha Hardin’s house done burnt down : she done moved on Bathurst Street.” It’s almost as though he’s reporting on the local news, but though the details are small and specific, the words and imagery are so urgent the tale becomes more universal. In Floating Bridge, Estes tells of a time he nearly drowned during a flood. It feels dreamlike and mythological, he talks of the flood and of drowning and rebirth. “Now I never will forget that floating bridge/ Tell me five minutes time under the water I was hid/ When I was going down I thowed up my hands/ Now they carried me in the house and they laid me ‘cross the bank/ “Bout a gallon-and-half muddy water I had drank/ Now they dried me off and they laid me in the bed/ Couldn’t hear nothin’ but muddy water runnnin’ through my head/ Now, people standin’ on the bridge, screamin’ and cry in’ People on the bridge was screamin’ and cry in'” It’s so beautiful and wild and surreally real. One of my favorite songs is Clean Up at Home. It’s a rare sentiment in any kind of music. It really is about cleaning up your home, but it’s also about taking care of yourself and what you have and who you have, it’s about tending your own garden.

I wash my clothes, I hang ‘em by the fire
Get up in the mornin’ they be thoroughly dry
CHORUS: Clean up at home, clean up at home
Clean up at home, I ‘clare you can’t go wrong

I went to the beer tavern, tryin’ to make me a dime
Said, “Go ‘way, boy, clean up and git on some time.”
CHORUS

Five cents cap and ten cent suit
Then y’all think I’m tryin’ to act cute, I want to
CHORUS

I was doin’ somethin’ that you can’t do
Go ’round on State Street, get a woman for a pot of stew, you have to
CHORUS: Clean up at home, you have to clean up at home,
Clean up at home, I ‘clare you can’t go wrong

I played for the colored, I played for the white
All you got to do, act kinda nice, you got to
CHORUS: Clean up at home, you got to clean up at home
Clean up at home, ‘clare you can’t go wrong

Yeah. I was worried last night and the night before, but I ain’t gonna be worried no more.

THE PIZZA:
I was feeling sort of wobbly all week last week, so I kept making bread, comforting foods. Here’s one! It’s a sort of pizza, but it has a mashed potato crust. This makes the crust quite soft, it’s more of a knife-and-fork pizza. The crust is comforting, but the topping is quite flavorful–roasted mushrooms, olives, and a mixture of sharp cheddar, mozzarella and smoked gouda. A nice meal for a reluctant spring.

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