I love avgolemono! So great is my yearning for a bowl of this Greek lemon soup that I will deliberately plan to meet colleagues at Fronimo’s, the Greek restaurant that welcomes working customers along with those who are strictly going out to eat.
The daily soup is their avgolemono—tangy, thick, but not lumpy and, oh so tasty. When I order it at an eating meeting it arrives hot, a hint of that flavor and comforting swirls of steam curling up to my nose.
To continue the experience at home means order take out and drive home very fast. Or buy take out, finish my loop of chores, and simmer my lemon treat on the stove at home.
Simmering. Even the sound of the word is appealing to me. It evokes slow careful cooking just like grandma did over her iron stove when I was a tyke. Not really, but I wish I did have a grandma like that.
My colleague at Fronimo’s even said “simmer” soft and slow when she gave me my home prep instructions.
“So if I boil to bubble, then lower the heat, will that do it?”
“Bah,” she interrupted, “that will burn your tongue and boil out the taste.”
I foolishly posed my plan B. “What about just nuking it?”
She reached out to take the soup container as if to protect it from such corruption. Her nostrils flared. “This soup cannot be nuked.”
“Okay okay. I’ll simmer.” Her grimace softened to a smile and she relinquished her hold on the bag.
The same is true of my writing. I usually walk around getting ready to write. It doesn’t all come rushing and boiling to the top. So I scan through some books. Scrap paper ready. Pen ready. Clean computer screen. I can’t just jump into it. Sometimes I even lemon Pledge my desk. Then I sit and begin. When I gathered the stories for Seedlings, Stories of Relationships, I looked through folders of stories I had collected which had been simmering for years; I jotted down bits of conversations I heard in the last few months; I looked at photos that jogged memories from other places. Then I wrote them out, adding the ‘spices’ of visual words, letting it all simmer to get the full flavor. I turned to other writing but always went back to the seedling stories that were simmering on the back burner. Slow down. It can’t be rushed. Stir in copy edits with punctuations, stir in more words. Read it over. Stir some more.
When I thought it was cooked and ready, I just let it sit. Closed the laptop and went off. Came back the next day to check. I stared at the computer for almost ten minutes. It was ready to go to the publisher. This was a long, slow, delicious process. It had to simmer.
Simmering, stirring, tasting, and then dividing it into three portions just right for reading. Seed, shoots, and blossom stories. Seedlings.