This has been a longer break from blogging than I intended, and returning to blogging has been infinitely harder than I expected. Shortly after my last post, my husband and I embarked on a long, nine day journey from the Sandhills of North Carolina to Oregon’s Willamette Valley – and once we and our dog, a tiny lemon tree, two cats and the horse had covered the vast expanse of our nation, it was like arriving at the unknown. Well, not completely unknown as we had visited the farm before, but aside from the 10 minute walk-through of the house and some fanciful strolls through the rain and around the fields, we had no intimate knowledge of the place. And so the minute we set foot on the packed gravel driveway, the adventure of our life began again. And once the horse had set hoof on the driveway, there was certainly no going back.
I wouldn’t say that it’s been a struggle – I am completely enamored with Oregon and believe that I have found the place I was meant to live – but it has been time consuming in the best possible ways. More than that, though, I haven’t posted because I wanted to remain in the moment. I take dozens and dozens of photographs when I cook something that I want to blog about. I could probably make better use of my time by taking a photography class or by learning the intricacies of Photoshop, but there’s still the styling (what little I do before I say screw it), the pauses for note taking, the converting of amounts to metric and back again, the writing, the revising, and the remarkable pervasiveness of the feeling that, once again, what you’ve written is terrible. Not just terrible, but pedestrian. Routine. Even sophomoric. And for that matter, so are the pictures.
You could say that I’ve loved living here and in the moment so much that I didn’t want to ruin it by scrutinizing it.
But here’s the thing: I love what I create, too. And I love to write about how I come to these creations, even if it’s just because I saw Ina Garten make it on TV and so I wanted to, too. And Oregon inspires me to create. She is so beautiful (and definitely a ‘she’) with her hills and valleys and ocean views and trees that go on for miles and skies that do the same. She is so abundant with her fruits and berries, cheeses and wines, nuts and mushrooms, the literal fodder for my blog is endless.
So I’m ready to recommit myself, even if it’s just for a while. This fall, mid-September actually, I’ll begin classes at Oregon State University. Having been awarded a teaching apprenticeship there, I’ll also be instructing one or two classes a term. If I fall off the blogging bandwagon again, it’s only because I’m writing far better stuff under the tutelage of people who really know what they’re doing. I’ll try to post from time to time; maybe not chicken-shaped cakes or how to dress out a deer, but something easy and good. Like this. And here’s to the first post from Oregon!
Strawberries and Cream (serves 1 or 2)
1 pint (0.5 L) fresh strawberries (sun-warmed and picked that morning are best)
1/4 cup (60 mL) heavy cream (or however much you want)
Sugar to taste
Remove tops and slice strawberries cross-wise; put into an attractive, clear glass or bowl. A martini glass is great for this.
Pour the cream over the top of the berries and sprinkle sugar over that, if you like.
Eat and enjoy.