The trip was special in that it began with my daughter-in-law’s graduation from medical school and ended with a wedding of close family friends. In between it went something like this.
I took a class in Tai Chi while visiting a friend in New Jersey, and it was all about balance and the ability to shift your weight from one foot to the other while still in motion, and without effort. For almost three weeks I traveled around the East Coast and each day brought a change in scenery and tempo. Five states, four museums, historic sites and centers, cities and countryside. I stayed in seven different places during my trip and enjoyed each one. Some days were filled with activity and celebrations of one kind or another, other days were quiet and peaceful. Some days were devoted to cooking with old friends and family members, others were spent eating wonderful meals in restaurants, pubs, and inns. I even managed to stop for lunch at one of my all time favorite “food” places, Reading Terminal. With too many memorable meals to mention, here are just a few. A post-graduation lunch at Bar Boulud where I ate a dish of homemade pasta with cippolini onions, spring peas, and cheddar. Mother’s Day (the day my brother-in-law’s newest grandson was born) was celebrated at Minetta Tavern. I had Brandade, a dish of salt cod cooked with potatoes and milk, mashed into a creamy purée. There was crisp duck with a balsamic glaze at a kosher restaurant in Teaneck, smoked fish from Acme in Brooklyn, halibut with mango and avocado salsa in West Orange followed by a delicious cheesecake, filet of flounder sautéed in panko crumbs in Philly followed by ripe cheeses and many glasses of wine, blintzes in Greenwich, and fish cakes with rémoulade sauce in Marshfield.
My cousins in Marshfield have a beautiful garden filled with flowers and vegetables. One morning Janine picked some rhubarb, enough to make a pie or two, with no cookbook in hand and no recipe card on the counter. It reminded me of the way my mother baked but this time I made sure to take notes. It had been twenty-seven years or so since I last visited Marshfield and I left hoping that my next visit would come sooner. Ready to get back to the fast pace of NYC, I first made sure that I took some home-grown rhubarb with me. On our last Shabbat in NYC we enjoyed a vegetarian feast prepared for us by Heidi and Rob, friends of our children. The meal ended with a strawberry rhubarb crisp that I made with Janine’s recipe and her rhubarb.
Then there was the wedding. It was magical, set in the Hudson River Valley, not far from where I spent summers during my childhood. Everything felt familiar, the air, the trees, the food, and the music. We returned to Brooklyn in the early evening on Memorial Day and we celebrated with a BBQ in the park. Norm and I were going home early the next morning and as I prepared to shift once again, I found that it was not without effort.
Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
4 large stalks rhubarb, thinly sliced
1 quart strawberries, cut in half or quartered, depending on size
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 Tb tapioca
1/2 cup sour cream
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
Mix all ingredients and put in the bottom of either two greased 8″ round pie plates, or one large greased 8 x 10 pan.
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
Mix ingredients together with your finger tips until you get small crumbs. Sprinkle over fruit and bake at 375 till golden and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Can serve 2 or 6, just depends.