Wednesday, April 11, 2012
I still remember the January day more than a year ago when I walked out of the Goodwill store carrying a medium-sized stainless-steel pot. My mama waited in the car and gave me the look. You know the one. "What are you doin' with another pot? Where are we going to keep it?
I knew I'd get the look, so I was ready for her. Opening the door and getting into the car, handing her the pot, I grinned and said: "Hey, Mama. Look what I got! I can make us some fresh vegetable soup in this pot. It's not too big, so we won't have to eat leftovers for days and days!" She grinned then, satisfied with my purchase. I figured we'd enjoy meals cooked in that pot for years to come.
Turns out that we didn't get to share any meals cooked in that pot because Mama got her long-held wish the next afternoon when she lay down for a nap and went on home. She'd lived a good life and was ready. It wasn't until March and the opening of the farmers market that I was able to get that pot out and cook in it.
That glorious early Saturday morning, as I walked from booth to booth at the market, I couldn't resist the chard, spinach, onions, carrots and turnips. On my way home, I stopped by the meat department at a nearby grocery store and bought two boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
I planned to bake the chicken breasts, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper, and cook everything else in the pot along with some Swanson's chicken stock. Before long, the chicken was done and sitting on the stove in a covered glass baking dish. As I stirred the rough chopped chard and spinach into the nearly done mixture of onion, carrot and turnip, I had an epiphany. Why not cube or shred the chicken into the pot, too? Why wouldn't that work?
So, I did just that. My son, Lamont, a former sous chef, said the idea sounded French. Huh? Me cooking French style? I put down the phone and savored another bite of my vegetable chicken soup and smiled. Mama would have loved it.
Lamont came over the next day and ate leftovers with me. He agreed—his G'ma would've loved what I had concocted in that pot.