Queen Sugar: (Forgiveness)

June 23, 2014

From Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile, 2014, a book about the sugar cane industry.  I grabbed it off the New Books shelf at the Kent County Public Library and it totally grabbed me back.

…Up and down the rows, farmers loaded air compressors, old sinks, and batteries into their trucks.  Standing alone in the shade of a shabby oak, Charley was afraid to check the parking lot for Denton’s truck.  Just the thought that he’d quit made her light-headed with shame.  She’d acted foolishly.  Now she had to go home and tell Micah and Miss Honey how badly she’d blown it….

The empty Coke can still in her hand, Charley walked toward the parking lot, braced for the sight of the empty spot where Denton’s truck had been.  But his truck was there, and yes, thank God, there he was, leaning against its door….She had never been so happy to see those Liberty overalls, the bald head, or that raggedy old truck, as she was right now.  Her first impulse was to run over, hurl herself on the ground, and beg for forgiveness.  She would apologize for everything…all of it — if he’d just give her another chance….

‘I was afraid you’d gone,’ Charley said, chastened, and then, ‘Oh God, I’m so sorry.  I’m such an idiot….I don’t blame you for quitting.’  If she thought Denton wouldn’t find it girly and manipulative, she’d cry.  And for an instant, she thought she might.  Her head was buzzing and there was that tightness again, like some gigantic, soggy wool sock was being wrung out inside her.  But then it lifted.  Just enough for her to say one word.  ‘Please.’

Nothing.  No reaction at all….

…Well, Charley thought, that’s it.  It’s over.  She stood clear as Denton back up and swung around.  A furious spray of gravel flew out from the tires and there was that awful grating sound, the sound of spinning tires over loose rocks and dirt, the sound of someone who couldn’t get away fast enough…..she listened, ….wondering if she could hold off crying until he was gone.  But the sound never came, and when Charley opened her eyes, Denton’s truck was idling right there in front of her and he was leaning across the seat.  And now he was reaching for the handle, and the door was swinging open. It wouldn’t be until later that night, when she was at Miss Honey’s and had time to think back on it, that Charley would understand there was a difference between kowtowing and letting people’s assumptions work against them; that there was a beauty and honor in the Japanese bough that bent but didn’t break, and she finally, truly, appreciated what a decent man Denton was.  That just when she thought her life was over, just when she thought she’d screwed things up (again), forgiveness and grace would be bestowed upon her with two simple words:  ‘Get in.’                       pp.  170 – 171

Basil Ice Cream

June 16, 2014

The basil ice cream is steeping on the stove just now:  step one of the process.  I like to keep this in the freezer as a staple this time of year.  Fresh berries go up a notch with a small scoop of this special surprise at breakfast time!

My parents used the old-fashioned crank ice cream freezer, and it was always a treat in the summer time.  Our family of four worked together, with Daddy always making it fun!  After my mother had finished cooking it on the stove and it was poured carefully into the silver-colored, cylindrical container that fit into the middle of the freezer, it was almost ready.  The ice would be layered with the rock salt, again, carefully, so as to keep the inner container perfectly balanced.  When the ice reached the top, sprinkled again with salt, it was ready to crank.  The three of us took turns turning, (my mother being exempt, since she had done the stirring of the cooked custard base).  It did seem to take a long time, but our watering mouths and anticipation made it OK.  Besides, Daddy was there, cheering us on.  When the turning became more labored, it was TIME.  Again, carefully lifting it, Daddy carried it inside to the kitchen counter, wiped the lid, then gently pulled out the paddles.  They were then our’s – my sister’s and mine – to lick until all ice cream was gone.  Sometimes it was chocolate and sometimes it was peach or strawberry, but it was always wonderful.  My process isn’t the same, since I have a Cuisenart, but the results end up pretty much the same.  Except that you’d better believe we didn’t get it for breakfast.  Who knew that was possible back then?  Aaaah, change.  It really is OK.  🙂

Basil Ice Cream

2 cups half and half

1/2 cup sugar, divided

1/4 cup basil (pressed into the measuring cup)

pinch salt

4 large egg yolks

1/2 cup whipping cream

Bring to a boil the basil, half and half and 1/4 cup sugar.   Remove from heat; cover, and allow to steep for about a half hour.  Squeeze basil leaves with your hands into the pot.  Beat yolks on medium speed in the mixer.  Add 1/4 cup sugar, then beat till thick and pale, for one minute.  Pour the half and half mixture, in a slow, steady stream, into the egg mixture, while continuing to mix.  Then pour back into the pot.  Place onto the stove again and cook, stirring constantly, till the mixture coats the back of a spoon.  Chill in fridge.  Then freeze.

Location, Location, Location.

You might notice the WAC Administration Building cupola out of the corner of your eye as you walk onto Simply Bed & Bread's brick path, since our house is just a stone's throw away from the college. Or it might be the ...
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