This past weekend I was at my home in Amagansett and was taken aback by how abundant the foliage seemed after being away for just a few short weeks. Almost in the blink of an eye, what seemed to be dormant had come alive. It was practically impossible to not feel inspired by the rite of passage mother nature was experiencing. It got me thinking about the awakening in us all, synchronizing with the rhythm of the season.
There is some certitude about what spring, or every season for that matter, will bring. Even still, I get a bit nervous that the buds will not appear, that the flowers will not bloom, that the crocuses will not push their way through the earth. But, as sure as I can count on the sun rising, they all bud, they all bloom. Suddenly the crocuses reveal their dainty pinks and yellows with pride, a striking juxtaposition against the darkened soil. The trees in my yard become greener than green, creating a woven verdant blanket that surrounds my home. It is quite remarkable, really.
My intention this Memorial Day weekend was not to be out and about at dinners or barbecues with friends, but instead to be at home with my family. You see, I just returned from a 10-day trip to Marrakech and Italy. It was simply breathtaking, but this little lady has never been away from my family for that long and desperately needed to reconnect to those that I love, and do for them the things that I love. For me, the greatest way to reconnect with them and with myself is to cook and create memories as we gather around the table.
In preparing a meal I explore what this new season has to offer, losing myself in the rhythm of chopping herbs, breathing in their intoxicating aroma. I delicately peel back the casings of vibrant spring peas. I plant the season’s herbs, delighting at how last year’s chives have returned, purple bulbs, fragrant blossoms and all. And I roll out pastry so I can nestle the season’s star fruits and veggies in a buttery and flaky crostata.
What never ceases to amaze me is how concepting and concocting a meal continually feeds my soul, in more ways than one. The season guides my culinary expression – asparagus, rhubarb, garden and snap peas, and those perky chive flowers find their way into my recipes. And while I experience quiet pride, an artful meditation of sorts, in these moments of solitude in the kitchen, there is nothing that gives me more joy than sharing these creations with my family. It is no small thing to make a meal for those you love, the ones you turn to for each and every rise and fall of your life, and then to dine with them.
A memory is born each time we celebrate a moment of togetherness around the table. From the first signs of the season to the prep to the creation, culminating in gatherings with those we hold dear, it’s these little moments of life that are exceptional. This is what I look forward to whenever I am away from home. Here is a visual diary of spring moments too extraordinary not to share.