Saturday, June 26, 2010

Mountain Range Salad

With sharp crampons, stress creeps up soft elastic shoulders. She grapples the muscles with hooks and lines, pulling and twisting as she goes. When she reaches the throat she hangs and rests, gripping tightly, her legs and arms spread eagled. She makes you swallow hard. Up your jaw she continues, and you clench tight to support her weight. She drives her pick into your temples. She kicks open your eardrums, and the once filtered, clean sound enters in a wave of white noise. She is a subtle visitor, but the path she treads is jagged and rough. It is not until she dives from the summit, and you feel her little toes as they spring down and lift off from your forehead, that you realize she had ever set camp. When she is gone, you miss her weight, to which you had grown accustomed. Without her, you find you move easily and you have to relearn how to shift your balance. I stood in the middle of the crowd, feeling my new weight as stress repelled off of me.

I felt myself standing, I was a mountain among mountains. In my right hand, I was carrying a single ear of roasted corn. I held it by the husk, the charred black pointed leaves stuck out beneath my clenched fist like straw on a scarecrow. I had just finished a morning of work at the market, and for the first time in months I had nothing due, nowhere I had to be, no one I needed to meet with. I thought about how, if I wanted to, I could sit down on the stone wall and eat my corn while watching the people go by. I could eat it kernel by kernel if I felt like it. The thought made me giddy.

Walking through the market with nowhere to be, really made me feel connected. I stopped and asked questions. I tasted cheese from 3 different vendors. I pulled in the carnival smells. I shopped for salad ingredients. I was a mountain among mountains.

As I was leaving, I noticed an old Hmong woman sitting on a stool. She had deep wrinkles on her face. She wore a long dress with a kerchief on her head. She was shelling peas and smiling with her eyes. I thought to myself, 'that looks like a fun thing to do', so I bought some shelling peas.Then I made this salad.

Garlic Scape, Red Potato and Pea Salad
4 cups diced, cooked, red potatoes (cook in boiling water, drain, and then rinse to cool)
4 garlic scapes
1/2 cup shelled peas
2 green onions
2 Tbsp fresh dill
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 tsp soy sauce (for color)
1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
Toss together and serve. Garnish with chive blossoms.

Christina's vote: "From God's ears to my lips"

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