A lot of thoughts come to me when I’m sweeping the floor. I wonder if I should push harder for a smaller home because laundry would be so much simpler. I’d be more inclined to have less. I always have been. I dream about throwing away all my clothes and shaving my head. I sweep the leaves, dirt and strands of my long black hair that lay lifeless on the kitchen floor. “Into the dust pan,” I say. Hair. It means more to me than it should. Us women are more than our hair. In my country long black, well-oiled hair is the trademark of beauty. I know I fall for it sometimes but I’m proud that I don’t let it seep in.
My feet have a layer of mud oven them; my toes remind me of days when “wear your slippers!” was all that stopped us from taking over the world. We washed our feet under the leaky tap outside before going back into the house. I am not wearing my slippers today. I still want to be those kids that could walk and run barefoot on rocky ground like it was air. They were free and I knew it even at that young age. I land on my whole foot. Each piece of gravel that digs into my arch hurts. I pretend that it doesn’t. (I don’t HAVE to wear slippers! YES.) Dirty feet mean more.
I think about my liver. Liver disease, swollen liver, chicken liver, Liv52..that red pill I took before going to school after that time my parents say I almost died. Maybe that’s why I can’t keep more than a few drinks down. I have images of my grandfather pouring himself a beer and sharing the other half with my mother, his daughter. I haven’t yet clarified this memory but I hope it’s true. Doctors classified my mother as “alcoholic” because she told them she drank once in a while. She wasn’t given a middle ground: “Now deal with the consequences.” Doctors…
I go back to excess and the rooms that have yet to be cleaned, the tables that have to be dusted, the pile of clothes that is just chilling on top of the washing machine. I’m not going to deal with this yet, I tell myself. I put away the broom, throw away the sprinkling of DNA-laced insecurities, doggy winter coats, dirt and pine needles.
There’s is zucchini and cauliflower in the fridge. I think about my mother sweeping the kitchen floor every night before going to sleep. Then I think about the house and life they built with us girls, dogs, cats and an assortment of fish and birds at different times. I pull out the cutting board and get started on dinner.
I made this peach gazpacho after reading a Food52 article by Book Larder’s Lara Hamilton, in which she reviews a book called The World on a Plate by Mina Holland: “She mentions that Andalusians make big jugs of gazpacho that they drink all summer. So the next time our Seattle temperatures get too high, I’ll be pairing these two dishes, getting into the kitchen in the morning when it’s still cool, and letting my fridge do the work.”
After reading it while sitting at a small bakery in the International District in Seattle, I thought to myself: “What a bloody brilliant idea!” I’ve been holding off buying tomatoes for a while because of this silly notion that I need to be patient and wait for my own to grow. It’s ridiculous, I know. What I did have were the best looking peaches, raspberries (that I rarely buy because they always get smushed), and blueberries that I found growing outside in the garden. It’s a wonderful way to use stone fruit without doing very much with it. If you look up “peach gazpacho” on the internet, you are bound to find many other recipes but I like to think I made this up out of pure necessity. I only looked it up after I made it. I loved it. And I got to keep it in the fridge in a big bowl for a few days of summer until the tomatoes come around. Patience. 🙂 This kept well in the fridge for 3-4 days. I believe the vinegar + lemon juice helped a lot with the preservation. Stir it well if you’re eating it at a later date.
Edit: Here’s some more information about gazpacho. I like cooking from other cultures only if it helps me learn a little bit more about them through their food. Consider me better informed.
- 1 kg or 2 lbs ripe peaches, seeds removed and diced into large chunks
- 1/2 cup basil, coarsley chopped
- 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
- Juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon
- 1 big pinch of Kosher salt (I use my index and middle finger to pick up the salt)
- A handful of raspberries, blueberries and baby basil to garnish + A crack of fresh pepper, to serve
Place the peaches in a large bowl and add the basil, wine vinegar, lemon juice + zest to it. Cover the bowl and let the peaches sit on the counter-top for 2-3 hours.
Add the contents of the bowl into a blender along with the salt and blend on high until it has been pureed to a thick, soupy consistency. Strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve and pour it back into the bowl. Chill for 30 minutes to an hour before serving it up.
Add chopped or whole berries, tender basil leaves and a crack of pepper on top to serve.