I’ve been wanting to share the recipe for these braised white beans since coming home from Europe six weeks ago. Has it really been that short, yet that long a time since our vacation? Time is such a fickle friend, the moments you love seeming to rush, while the more mundane and sad ones linger on like the last guest at a party that can’t take a subtle hint.
I’ve stammered here a bit these last couple of months, not knowing what this place is supposed to be anymore, or what I want it to be. I watched this again this morning, and was reminded of what In Jennie’s Kitchen was always supposed to be. A place for me, and me alone. The fact that it’s public may not be coincidence, but it is always an after thought for me. It poses quite the conundrum, especially these last few months. I’ve missed being here, but I haven’t missed the voyeurs who hide behind screens, picking apart a life, a person, a family they don’t really know—just the bits and pieces I make the world privy to.
I’m neither here nor there today. Somewhere in between, perhaps where all those lost things go before we find them again. It’s an interesting place to be, an observer looking out onto your own life. Everything looks familiar, yet different.
Yesterday, I took a long drive, winding along country roads, gazing at the thick blanket of snow covering farm lands. I thought about the miracle seasons bring with them. A bitingly cold frost that yields under the glow of sunshine as winter takes its final stretches, and makes way for spring. We’re a way off from that, being only mid-February, but this article in The New Yorker made me think about that drive again in the wee hours of the morning.
People, books, therapists often refer to the stages of grief, yet they are not that neat. You do not check the box, move on, and file away your list when the stages are complete. That’s because the stages are cyclical. The stages are really seasons, loss living with you, inside of you, stretch marks on your soul. But loss needn’t be an anchor of sadness or bankruptcy of happiness—that is what occurred to me while reading the New Yorker article.
Schulz writes that losing someone is different than losing an object. There is always hope an object will resurface. Dead people do not. Death does not give hope, or does it? To love so deeply, to have been loved so deeply—it would be foolish to give up on ever feeling that again. What I realize now is that the fear comes not in loving again, but in knowing, and accepting, the vulnerable nature of life. We lose things every day. What matters most is that we do not lose ourselves.
Braised White Beans
- 1 cup (200 grams) dried cannellini beans
- 3 cups water
- Thick glug of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 carrot, cut into half moons
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- Small yellow onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed
- Bay leaf, preferably fresh, but dried will do, too
- Generous amount of sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 325ºF.
- Add everything to a deep oven-proof pot. Cook, covered, 2 ½ to 3 hours until the beans are very tender, stirring only occasionally to make sure there’s enough water to keep the beans covered (and add a bit more as needed if it runs low).