Pizza with chard, golden raisins and pine nuts

IMG_3452“O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!”

“And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.”

I love this exchange. It is, of course, spoken by Hamlet and his friend Horatio, and it is, of course, followed by “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” I love the idea that a “stranger” is not just a new or unfamiliar person, but a wondrous strange person as well, and I love the implication that we’re all strangers. We’re all full of wondrously inexplicable ideas and emotions and inspiration. We’re all new somewhere, we’re all unusual to someone. And therefore we should welcome strangeness in others, even if they happen to be ghosts yelling at us from underneath the stage. Hamlet and Horatio are students of Wittenberg University, and are presumably deep in the study of rational thought, they probably both believe, as most students do, that it’s their job to understand everything and explain everything. But the ghostly visit teaches them that this isn’t possible for anyone. Nobody’s ideology is broad enough to hold everything on heaven and earth, nor even to hold dreams of everything. And this is why it’s important to welcome what you don’t understand, and make room for dreams of it in your own philosophy, because you’re asking others to make room for you in theirs.

Pizza with chard, pine nuts and golden raisins

Pizza with chard, pine nuts and golden raisins

This is my all-time favorite pizza! Why? Because chard, raisins and pine nuts is my favorite meal, and the only thing that can make it better is the addition of some melty cheese and a thin crispy crust, that’s why!

Here’s Stranger Blues by Elmore James

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Brioche-crusted pie with greens, butter beans, raisins and walnuts

Brioche crusted pie

Brioche crusted pie

Isaac woke up early with a nightmare. He wanted to cuddle, and it was a cold sleety slatey morning, I should have cuddled. But I mumbled something cranky about having to make his lunch and got myself a cup of coffee. He told me about his dream, but I only half-heard. He was on a field trip, and there was a train, and it left without him. He told me that last night, he and Malcolm were playing a game of catch with a stuffed dinosaur, and Malcolm told him they wouldn’t be able to play games like that when they got older. They talked about getting older, and Isaac told Malcolm he doesn’t want him to go away when he turns eighteen, and they both agreed to live in this house when they’re married and have children and dogs of their own. I think about time passing constantly, perpetually. The thought of it is a strange sort of weight, sometimes pleasantly grounding, sometimes like falling down on hard rocks. It’s so poignant to me to think about the boys thinking about time passing, thinking about this moment as something they won’t have forever. It’s so strange to think about them almost regretting this time even as it passes, and fondly remembering this illicit game of after-dark-dinosaur-catch even as they’re playing it. And, of course, I thought about how time works in such a way that by the time they’re eighteen they’ll feel differently about everything, when they’re married and have kids and dogs of their own they’ll see the world from a completely different center. And how when they’re older they’ll realize that they can still play catch with a stuffed dinosaur any time they like. And this being the day before Thanksgiving, I thought about how grateful I am that they’re good friends, and how thankful I am to have them as my friends. And I thought about yesterday at the doctor’s office. We went for flu shots, and Malcolm was near-tears-worried. We sat in the waiting room, which happens to be across the street from our house, and I looked at our house from the outside. It was just that time of day when the lamps came on, and the cars’ headlights made colorful splashes on the slick grey streets, but it hadn’t ever really been light all day. Our windows were lit and warm, and our dog was waiting in the doorway watching us. We waited over an hour, which felt horrible, what with all the anxiety and apprehension. But we were closed into a little room, waiting, and it started to be okay. The boys made each other laugh about stupid things, which probably seemed funnier because we were nervous. They were weighed and measured, and they’re growing about an inch a month, which seems crazy and beautiful, and I had that strange feeling of pride that starts when they’re tiny babies and put on an ounce or two. And I realized I want to be thankful for all the moments, not just when we’re gathered around an abundant table, but when we’re sitting in a waiting room, or stuck in traffic, or arguing over homework, or when they’re driving us crazy by playing catch with a stuffed dinosaur when they should be asleep. All of it, I’m so grateful for all of it.

Brioche-crusted pie

Brioche-crusted pie

I’ve gotten to the point where I call any yeasted dough with eggs in it “brioche dough.” I know! It’s not right! It’s lazy and inaccurate. So this isn’t really a brioche dough, but it’s a tender, rich, flakey sort of dough. And it’s nice and crispy on the outside. I filled it with my favorite combination of greens, raisins and nuts, but you could put anything you like in there. I used kale and chard, but you could use spinach or broccoli rabe. I used walnuts but it probably would have been better with pine nuts, and you could easily use pecans or almonds. You see, it’s very versatile. I think this would make a nice vegetarian Thanksgiving option, and in fact I plan to make something similar for dinner tomorrow, and maybe I’ll tell you about it some other time.

Here’s Bob Marley and the Wailing Wailers with Put it On.

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