Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Favorite Fellow Muncher ❤️

"To stop...and see...and munch on"

Because that is why we are really here-to feed ourselves something delicious and sometimes that delicious thing can also look beautiful, too. The creating, slicing, spreading, constructing and stepping back to admire. add just one more flavor. Then sitting down to savor it all. I love this poem written for me by my favorite fellow muncher, Ava ❤️

Ava's tastes and palette have evolved and expanded. She may still be super sensitive to merely a few dried chili flakes added to an entire pot of pasta, calling out dramatically for a glass of milk if even one minuscule speck ends up on her plate. But she is more adventurous and excited to try new things. She has advanced to the point that I now find myself reluctant to share my latest culinary find lest she devour it all before I can have a second helping.

To say that I was surprised the day she agreed to taste sliced fresh radishes on a buttered slice of baguette and sprinkled with flaky sea salt, the ruby orbs' peppery bite marrying with the soft butter and chewy bread is a severe understatement. More recently, her discovery of smoked salmon with capers and fresh dill adorning a smear of cream cheese on a toasted bagel blew me away. Is this my child who would only eat chicken nuggets and oven fries doused in ketchup? She admonished marinara sauce on her pasta, preferring lightly buttered noodles. The only vegetable I could serve her was inoffensive and bland frozen corn.

Imagine when she asked me last winter to teach her how to poach an egg to rest a top her avocado toast. She then proceeded to garnish it with pea shoots. During that same holiday break, she tried roasted asparagus dipped in lemony hollandaise and now orders Eggs Benedict when she is out for breakfast. These dishes may not seem overly exciting and new but believe me when I say, that we have come a long way. Blueberries, licorice, gravy and dipping a brush into a creamy egg yolk, would never before have crossed her mind as options to use to paint a picture of food. 

Before I know it, Ava will be boarding a plane next fall to study abroad in Rome. I am excited for her to see incredible works of art and architecture, to experience another country and culture, to immerse herself and discover someplace completely unknown. There she will be able to find some familiar flavors but I am confident that she will dive head first into tasting everything that is offered. And when her semester is completed and she is ready to come home, I will welcome her with a favorite comforting meal: a grilled hot dog with ketchup or perhaps some mild and creamy mac 'n' cheese. Because while we all love to wander and explore, there is nothing like coming home.

(Previously published under "French Breakfast" 5/21/15)

Smoked Salmon Tartine
(serves one)

1 slice pumpernickel bread
2 tablespoons cream cheese ( I prefer jalapeno cream cheese, Ava prefers plain)
a few slices smoked salmon
2-3 teaspoons capers
a few very think slices of red onion
fresh dill fronds (or any other herb/pea shoots, sprouts)
sea salt

Lightly toast the pumpernickel bread. Remove from toaster and spread with cream cheese. Top with smoked salmon. Add capers, red onion and herbs. Sprinkle top with sea salt. Serve whole or cut into 4 strips. 
Enjoy with your favorite fellow muncher!

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