11.11.2016

To my family,


First of all, to my readers,
It's been some time since I've written. But, for me, our country's election results have caused family and politics to cross. As a result, I felt strongly that I needed to put some words "to paper." These words could very well be relevant with regard to differences many of you may be having with your own family, friends, neighbors or co-workers in lieu of recent events.
So I thought I would share them here...

To my family,


Ever since I can remember my family has been of paramount significance and importance in my life. Mom and Dad, obviously. But aunts, uncles, cousins, first, second, and third, grandparents, every single one of you, I looked forward to seeing, catching up with, sharing a meal every Christmas Eve, and now, just any time I can get. I have greeted all of you, all of you, with smiles, hugs and love each and every time I have seen you throughout the forty-two years of my life.

It’s no secret that, out of the lot of us, I have likely been the farthest away from all of you both geographically and politically. Until now it has never seemed to matter, at least not to me. I’m sure there have been conversations, or just internal judgments about my political leanings, my life choices.

And yes, it goes both ways. I have rolled my eyes so many times hearing classist, racist and sexist comments from many of you, it’s a wonder they’re still attached to my head.

But you are my family. We share a name, blood, history, love, loss, joy, birth and death. I feel genuine elation when I hear good news about your lives and, equally, genuine despair when it’s bad. And as family, over time, it is inevitable we experience both extremes and everything in between.


When my uncle passed away a few years ago, a man who may have said the most incendiary, extreme socio-political comments I have ever heard in person, I was overcome with sadness. He was family. It was heartbreaking to lose a piece of us, all of us, and to see my aunt’s pain and loss of her husband. Though I was unable to attend his memorial service, I wrote a piece about him, for myself, for his widow, my aunt, and our entire family. It was intended to point out the good, the funny, his positive attributes. I was told excerpts from it were read at his memorial service.

That said, looking back, I have spent a great deal of my words on you guys, my family. How important you are to me, how much I cherish each and every one of you. Fun anecdotes, bits and pieces of our history, our experiences, together and separate. I have never, would never, publicly show one bit of disapproval or disdain for your choices or your politics.


It startled and disappointed me that, in the wake of the election, someone in this family, someone I love, has done just this. I do not generally parade my opinions on social media. From me you see a majority of food-related topics and photographs of my daughter. Many of you choose to use social media as a spectacle for your politics, and that is AOK, expected even. But unless it’s a bit about the pretty cake you made, or the excitement of your daughter getting a scholarship, or a cute kitten video, the most I will ever do is hit “like”, or say “that's awesome!”. So to find a thinly disguised bit of aggression and glib flippancy to an article I found interesting and relevant and chose to share not only made me angry but hurt me. I deleted it, which I now regret as I wish the comment were still there for all of you to see. For all of my peers to see.


This election lead-up and aftermath has brought out some vibrant, true colors in every one. I imagine if the results had gone in another direction, most of you would be angry, furious, even, perhaps claiming it was rigged. You wanted blood, death, months ago, I can't imagine the rabidity that would have been elicited from an unwanted President-elect. I cringe just thinking about the memes. Then maybe you would also feel despondent, scared, feel your country left you behind, fear for your children, your grandchildren. Really, legitimately feel those things. They would be your feelings, your thoughts. Yours.

I have seen some downright violent things coming from some of you on Facebook for a long time now. I have seen them, I have considered them, I have disagreed, but I have kept out of your space. And I have continued to love all of you.


Please, if you cannot understand or relate, just know that this week has absolutely shattered me and those close to me. You do not have to align, agree or sympathize. But please do not attack the quiet opinions I may post. If you need to unfollow, unsee me, please don’t hesitate to do so. But I caution you, do not make it so that when we see one another we no longer understand family. That we cannot find the love.

America is a place for us all to have our opinions. I’m not asking you to keep yours to yourself, but I am asking you to not attack mine. Or, if you want to talk in real life, have a real conversation, we're family - let us do just that.

I thank and send compassion and warmth to all of you.

Love,
Elliott


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I comfort cook. The more involved the recipe, the deeper into my self, and the farther away from distractions, I can go. I extra love to comfort cook comfort foods. Usually that falls into soups, or big, one pot meals that allow for a lot of kitchen riffing, scatting. But I also like to bake sometimes. It's more exact and precise, but the focus can be welcomed.

I know many of the women in my family are big into kitchen times, and some particularly love to bake. This is a recipe I found in a recent issue of Saveur that caught my eye primarily because of the honeycomb. That and I had never even heard of einkorn flour. But the imagined mingling flavors of buttermilk, honeycomb, toasted hazelnuts and rosemary stopped me in my tracks. I was in such a hurry to make this recipe the first time, when I couldn't find honeycomb in my immediate vicinity, I overnight ordered it online. That and the einkorn flour. I have since made these scones a few times. Next go I plan to substitute rosemary with lavender. I bet it would work well. Regardless, these scones are staggeringly exquisite; muted, sweet, complex, craggly and soft. Warm with some butter, they are like a cozy hug.

And at times, we could all use that, right?


Honeycomb-Einkorn Scones with Hazelnuts and Rosemary
(Recipe from Saveur, September 2016)

Makes 8 scones
INGREDIENTS
1 cup hazelnuts
1 stick cold unsalted butter
3 cups all-purpose einkorn flour, plus more for dusting
1⁄4 cup granulated sugar
3⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
1 Tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
1⁄2 cup buttermilk
1⁄2 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing
3 Tablespoons honeycomb
Turbinado sugar, for topping
DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 350°. Toast hazelnuts on a baking sheet until the skins are dark, 10 to 12 minutes (you can usually smell when they’re ready). Take out of oven and set aside until they’re cool enough to handle. Rubbing between hands remove and throw away as much skin a possible, then coarsely chop the nuts.
Meanwhile, grate the cold butter on the large side of a box grater; chill.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, salt, and baking powder. Add the butter, mixing briefly with fingers to distribute. Add the chopped hazelnuts and rosemary, tossing to coat.
In a medium bowl, combine the buttermilk and heavy cream, then slowly add the mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring with a spatula to incorporate. Break up the honeycomb into small pieces with your fingers and mix into the dough by hand to distribute throughout.

On a parchment-lined baking sheet that's been lightly dusted with more einkorn flour, turn out the dough. Using floured hands, shape into a 12-inch-long, 1-inch-thick rectangle. Chill until firm, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 400°. Using a sharp knife, make a diagonal cut crosswise through the dough every 3 inches to form 8 triangular scones. Separate the scones across the baking sheet, leaving at least 2 inches between each. Brush the scones with heavy cream and sprinkle each with about 1⁄4 tsp. coarse sugar.
Bake until lightly browned on the top and golden-brown on the bottom, 18 to 24 minutes. 
Remove and let cool 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.


One year ago: Arroz con Pollo
Five years ago: Cranberry Nut Bread
Seven years ago: Bouchon Beverly Hills


5 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. What an honest, complicated post! We are all trying to navigate this challenging time. . . It sounds like this has been very personally painful for you. I wish you the best in refinding equanimity with your family, especially with the holidays coming right up. We do really need each other more than ever. And each one of us needs to find our way individually to balance what we need inwardly; good for you for knowing that your path to wholeness is through the magic of cooking.

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    2. Thank you, Linda. I think we are finding our way. Fingers crossed! xoxo

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  2. I actually unintentionally arrived at your blog and this latest post. It's really unprecedented how this election has affected people of all stripes and walks in life. I feel the same uneasiness and uncertainty that many feel across our beautiful country. I also feel what this new president-elect has wrought with his campaign platform and incendiary speeches. I'm not sure how to navigate this new terrain with the few Trump supporters who I do know. So I get it, Elliott, and I respect that you posted this very personal piece. Thank you and good luck.

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    Replies
    1. Eddie,
      I'm not sure how I missed your comment. But I did! Until now! Thank you for reading and understanding and taking a few moments to comment. I hope you are well and that you and yours have the warmest and happiest of hilidays. xoxo

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