I like rhymes when they occur unexpectedly, particularly slant rhymes. I am using a term from poetic analysis, but I am really focused on describing an event that echoes an earlier event in some way.
In the slow days after Christmas I accidentally came across the print-out of a recipe that I had known had to be somewhere among the papers from my move in summer 2008. I had almost resigned myself to keeping a particular red lentil soup as a fond winter memory and nothing more.
Of course I could have searched the online archives of the newspaper in which the recipe had first appeared. However, that would mean that my usual reasons for sitting in front of a keyboard had somehow coincided with a longing for red lentil soup.
That longing usually emerged on the rare occasions that I handled the squat, compact white cups from a set of dishes I had purchased for my first apartment in 1981. The cups do not hold enough coffee to displace the hearty blue mugs that have done service every breakfast since August 2008. The white cups are, however, an ideal size for a taste of something – a soup that will accompany a sandwich, an appetizer away from the table.
As though I have had enough guests in my rooms this past year to suggest habitual uses!
What did coincide this week, though, was the surfacing of the recipe and the time to shop and cook and test on a Saturday morning – yesterday morning, January 9.
This fond winter memory moved back onto the calendar. The kitchen counter still cluttered with food processor and cutting board, ends of carrots and a spray of chili powder, I contentedly ladled the red lentil soup into a white cup after its final half-hour simmer. I even brought a sample later to a neighbor who had trusted me this past year with occasional tastes of his curries.
A simple enough recipe to balance the sunny January snowscape outside the window.
And the rhyme?
The date at the top of the newspaper article that had first featured this recipe was January 9, 2008.
I like the idea that the year 2010 can be about bringing life back to sounds and flavors that I may have lost track of, to special moments and enthusiasms that bear remembering and playful reviving.