It was a good idea gone awry. I bought 4 persimmons at the grocery store because that deep orange color was a siren's song and I couldn't resist. I knew there were other orange fruits out there but there was something about that particular orange that grabbed me. I had one small problem— I had never cooked, cut into or eaten a persimmon. They sat on my counter for four days until I googled 'persimmon recipes' and found this James Beard recipe on David Lebovtiz's blog (recipe here). However, I made one game changing misstep— I forgot the baking soda.
I had hoped to impress two women with my persimmon bread— my Mom and Paula Deen. My Mom was coming up for the weekend and I thought a slice of a slighty exotic quick bread with her afternoon tea would be a lovely. As for Paula, I had planned to submit my blog as a contestant in her Deen Team blogger contest; as proof positive a woman from the northernmost (almost) tip of Wisconsin knew what to do with Southern fruit like a persimmon. Well, onto plan b, as in biscotti. Yet another game changing step— I forgot about the 'biscotti' in the oven and left to go to a six course dinner and wine tasting.
I got home at 10:30, walked into the kitchen and thought, 'gee, it smells so nice in here'. That lovely thought was quickly followed by, 'oh my god, I forgot the biscotti (aka quick bread gone awry) in the oven'. At that point, I started to reconsider my choice of blog post for Paula. Maybe I should showcase my low country shrimp boil, my love of butter, my nicoise salad in a jar on Long Island or the night I met Emmylou? Then I looked down at my feet, saw Seamus and thought, 'dog biscuits' and that was that. If Paula didn't like it, I knew four dogs who would be thrilled.
I owned a restaurant for four years and there is a common thread among people who cook for others. We know that food is so much more than sustenance— it's about nurturing, ritual, community and a pause in an otherwise noisy life. I moved to Bayfield five years ago to re-open Good Thyme Restaurant and I learned so much along the way. I learned living near one of the world's largest bodies of water is a blessing, community provides precious structure to my daily life, knowing where your food comes from is more important now than ever before and watching my kids set down roots in a place I hold dear means the world to me. As Gabrielle Hamilton said, in Bread, Bones & Butter, 'And that, just like that, is how a whole life can start'. My whole life takes place in a town of 490 people and the depth and breadth of every day's cadence is astounding. Hopefully, Paula will agree.