Sunday, January 10, 2010

A winter walk, a glimpse of gold, and something to cook

So this is what it looked like, when I was warmed enough by layers of clothes and the briskness of our pace to be able to focus the camera. The wind was not quite howling, but was blowing hard and steadliy, as though it had promised its mother to do so and was afraid one of its aunts might drop in unexpectedly to check. This meant it was damned COLD at the beach, but considering the sudden, brilliant appearance of the sun and the astonishing blue of the sky, Rodney and I found we couldn't stay away. If you look closely at the sea shells you'll see a fine lace overlay in rainbow colors, the residue of the sea foam cascading all over the beach like wet tumbleweeds. We walked half a mile or so to the south, just a few hundred feet to the north, gathered a small collection of fossils, and began to think about a nice fire, a cocktail and the golden hour.

Clean up awaits, at home. Thanks to the continuing cold, the detritus accumulates and changes; the fallen branches need to be cut and stacked, the sad, melted cannas and elephant ears trimmed away, and so much more. But it's too sad, and anyway, it's too soon; there may be still be protection afforded by fallen plants to those growing in their shadows. So we wait. And today, waiting, we walked down the narrow path that connects our front yard with the delicate finger of the Tolomato River that folds back in upon itself and winds its way to us as Stokes Creek. The light changed quickly, as it does this time of year, and Rodney took photos.

I thought about what to cook, and though in the end we ate leftovers, I was prevailed upon by Dylan to share this favorite of his. When you have boneless, skinless chicken breasts, part of a bag of potato chips and some butter, this is the easiest way in the world to please the still-maturing palates of the young. Cut the breast meat into fillets and dip in melted, cooled butter, then dip in crushed potato chips. When I say crushed, I mean you should have your youngest family member take the bag of chips and do with it what they've always wanted to do: roll it around, crush and smash (taking care not to tear open the bag). When the chips are very fine indeed, dip the chicken in, and place it into a lightly greased baking dish. Bake at 350 or so for about 40 minutes or until lightly browned. Why do they love this dish? I have no idea, and I suspect my own mother may have learned it from Woman's Day or Ladies' Home Journal or some such magazine in the 60s. But though I can't explain it, no matter how many times I ask my sons how they'd like chicken breasts cooked - and I am telling you I have some perfectly marvelous ways to cook them - this is invariably their request. Kids. Palates. What a mystery. Never fear, my loves: I shall soon tell you the story of Julia Child, Le Pavillon, Jacques Cousteau, exotic birds, a Boxer dog and the Lamented Claude Sinatsch. Soon, soon.

For this evening, move a bit closer to your warm fireplace, wrap that soft, warm blanket a bit closer around your shoulder and if you have the luxury of a love to hold you close, do. Here is one last look at the fading view of the golden hour at our house tonight, and a look at another kind of cold-evening blanket, this one called Meg. But this, my darlings, is a tale for another evening.


  1. Y'all are so brave to get out and walk in that ocean-wind. Good for you!
    Lovely, Angie. Just lovely.

  2. Thank you so much, Ms. Moon. I'm not sure if we're brave or crazy, but coming from you, I'll take the "brave" diagnosis.


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