This was a weekend full of persimmons. The very bitter and the sweet. And it was all very Martha. Well, not really…but I certainly can pretend.
So, here’s a little of how it goes when you’re only hours removed from loss and trying to follow a Martha recipe like “me”.
You know, like a rock star.
First, I have no idea what’s coming… I’m wandering sad and aimless through our local supermarket, checking the usual clearance spots when I stumble upon bagged persimmons for a steal (6 for $1)!
This is when I find myself diving in to uncover every last one (and then sheepishly offering some to the older lady peering curiously over my elated self asking what I’ve found).
And these perfect little fruits remind me to be happy.
The leaves are almost gone, the gray of Winter is setting in, and we could all use a little happy right now. Am I right?
When I haul them home and unbag and wash them (because that’s all I know I’m supposed to do with persimmons), that’s when the Extreme Googling begins. Laundry is left unattended, things bubble over on the stove, babies pull things out of cupboards…but all that was kind of happening anyway.
And I hunt for the perfect recipe.
I’d eaten a persimmon once.
20 years ago. I was a still-fresh Floridian transplant in the middle of some N. Georgia woods with a bunch of homeschoolers on an early morning walk. I only remember a mouth-puckering bitter. And all these recipes are telling me that once they are fully ripe, when perfect timing is achieved, they will be sweet.
Some of those early morning walkers (I haven’t seen in forever) will join us at the funeral that is happening decades too early later this week.
I’m struck by how everything in life comes full circle but not sure that anything will be sweet again.
Then, by the following day, I find THREE recipes that **aren’t** that complicated and decide on a special trip to the store to get needed ingredients. One for each recipe.
But I need to drop the baby at my sister’s house because I no longer shop with babies.
Along the way, I find myself reaching out to my other sisters, my mom, the sisters-in-law, some cousins, and an aunt (it just kind of grows) for a girls’ night. Which is perfect because my sister can just keep the baby and bring her later to the house. (She will, I don’t need to ask.)
So, I lug the baby into my sister’s house where she quickly disappears with her cousin and I get sucked into one of the kitchen remodel projects that have been spreading like a virus in this family ever since people laid eyes on my fabulous new granite countertops.
Time is dwindling, so I tell my sister about all the wonderful persimmons (which could possibly be rotted by tomorrow, desperation usually gets the better response) and how I think I’m gonna make this awesome girls’ night out of it, because we all need one.
Then I wish her luck with her project, and yell over my shoulder that I’ll see her for Girl’s Night at seven.
(And, as I chuck a car seat out onto her front lawn, “Remember to bring my baby!”)
A few calls, a hurried voicemail, and several follow up texts later it’s all settled.
But I slow down in the store and wonder what I’m doing anyway. (Oh! There’s two more bags of persimmons!) I’m running. Staying busy because I’ve held vigil for four days while another someone I loved slipped away. Exhaustion has left me wired. And feeling utterly powerless has kicked control into high gear.
But I keep telling myself that good food (and good deals) need to be celebrated.
The good food that’s coming anyway…because I’m only a few ingredients short of perfection.
And when I’m home, realizing how easy it is to put up groceries and start a potato soup without a baby, I’m also realizing there’s no way I’ll get it all done by 7p.m. not three persimmon recipes. Not Martha Stewart ones.
And when I get a phone call telling me that Girl’s Night has to be cancelled (it’s the sudden and widespread discovery of the third plague, of which we alone are spared), I settle for one persimmon recipe.
And I look around at my out-of-control kitchen and half empty sacks of groceries and acknowledge the sadness that has really start to catch up to me. I find myself quietly thanking God for the timing of this plague.
And I’m not sure I’ve broiled them long enough. And I do everything by the book, except that I squeeze limes over my persimmons before the broiler. But the persimmons don’t seem to mind, and neither do we, because they’re good.
Then, after a long winter’s nap…
I wake up ready to tackle the next two persimmon recipes. And nothing goes as planned because it’s just going to be that way for a while, I know it. So I finish the dressing for Mixed Chicories with Persimmons (now that I know what chicories are and can make an executive decision to substitute clearanced organic spring mix).
And it’s good…and it almost looks exactly like Martha’s but I didn’t take any pictures so I can just go ahead and make that claim without worrying that anyone will ever challenge it. Smart, eh?
Clearanced fruit won’t wait forever…and the fresh bread is hardly a “day-old” so putting off Martha’s Persimmon White Chocolate Bread Pudding for tomorrow is a delicate balance.
But I wait.
On Sunday morning I wake up to a blue screen and have to look up everything for the rest of the day on my Ipad (you know, the one that only ever has 5% power because it no longer charges). I have so many technical difficulties.
I pull up Martha Stewart’s Steamed Persimmon Pudding recipe after lunch and want to shoot myself. Very complicated. Until I realize this was not the same as the Persimmon White Chocolate Pudding I was planning to make. I thank God again. And I’m not making this up, I really do thank Him, because I feel very close to Him right now, and all my stoic stifled anger turned busyness finally melted into sobbing.
And I realize He can take from us whatever He wants.
Even people we love.
Halfway through I’m calling my sister and saying, “This recipe has been CRAZY-hard to put together, and I doubled it and only saved three eggs without thinking! So bring three more when you come over?! When ARE you getting here?!”
She’s all like, “Yeah, whaddya expect with Martha Stewart? Easy-peasy?”
And I’m like, “NO, I GOT THIS! JUST BRING ME THE EGGS!”
A few more hours (interrupted by a quick Home Depot run to buy a backsplash – very necessary for White Chocolate Persimmon Bread Pudding) and three additional eggs later we’re eating Friday night’s recipe, on Sunday night, with heavy cream. No persimmon garnish, and some of us didn’t even have our own plates.
They’d never heard of “brioche” at the Kroger so White Mountain Bread stood in.
And there was no “freshly grated” nutmeg so I settled for “newly opened”. But if it’s all the same to everyone else, I’m a rock star.
Despite the fact that my very discriminating palate chastises me for making the persimmons taste like pumpkin and my very condemning mind tells me it’s wrong to enjoy anything right now.
I make room in the frig (I did double the recipe) and tuck some into my husband’s lunch cooler. But not before I ate enough to make me feel a little bit like I never want to hear or see anything about persimmons ever again.
And I’m heating it up on a sad gray Monday and wondering what it is that ever made me so excited about cooking anyway…
When a text from my husband breaks though like sunshine and reads: “bread pudding is incredible”
Just to prove it to you (the text part, not the sunshine), here’s the text.
And though there’s no punctuation, nothing is misspelled or abbreviated (so you know he took time and care with this text, and meant it).
And now that I feel like a rockstar again (although a still very sad one who still needs a girls’ night), I have just a little advice for my admiring fans:
Make it a great new week.
Don’t take anyone or anything for granted today because you don’t know if you’ll have that luxury tommorrow.
And go easy on the nutmeg.