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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Honey roasted potato salad with arugula and pecans

Honey roasted potato salad

I had the strangest moment yesterday. I went to buy a loaf of bread on a balmy spring evening. A time of year and a time of day that you can feel things changing all around you. I saw a boy walking toward me on the street. He’s very tall, taller than me, and I was hit by a powerful memory of seeing him asleep in a crib ten years ago. We were living in Boston, but planned to move to this town, and his mother was showing us around the apartment that would be our home for two years – all through my first pregnancy and the first year of Malcolm’s life. I thought of how hopeful we were then, and how different. I thought of how happy we’d have been to know we’d be living here now, and to know about our boys. I imagined myself then, seeing myself walking down the street on a spring evening, feeling so at home. And I thought about my dog, who had been such a good friend to me at that time, and who had been very well-behaved when we met our future landlady, and who died a month ago. It was such an odd, slowly-passing moment, which combined the past and the present, the present as the future. It hit me hard!

That moment of tension, the feeling of things changing, is what makes spring and fall so exciting – why they make you feel alive. And now, you’re wondering, how is she going to make this about potato salad? Well, friends, this potato salad is like an edible little mix of contradicting factors that work well together. Roasted potatoes are such a cool weather food, arugula salads so warm weather. The warmth of the potatoes contrasts with the coolness of the arugula, and even wilts it slightly. The potatoes are pleasantly soft, the pecans and roasted lentils delightfully crispy. And the mellow sweetness of roasted honey and balsamic plays against the peppery sharpness of arugula and water cress. Ta da!!

Here’s Cymande with Changes. A remarkable song!

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