Succotash, Sprains and Syllabub

Until today, I could not have told you just what it was that Daffy Duck was blithering about. And to be fair, his mama’s succotash could have been a suffering and I would not dream of diminishing his pain by speaking with too much enthusiasm about the succotash I made for the first time today. But oh my. Let’s just say, I am a fan.

There is more than one way to skin a cat (I am seriously curious how this came to be a phrase we use. Kind of gross no matter which method you choose, isn’t it? Unless one of the ways is… to not to…), and so even as I have been exploring creative ways to draw in more of the spondulik (the blood draw puns and plays on words are seriously bottomless), that the Beloved’s teeth may be rooted and whatever else, I have also been making every endeavor to make the existing household coffers stretch further.

I don’t know if I have ever mentioned this before, but we farm vegetables. Which is to say, it is August and if there is a grocery item I have access to it is… wait for it… vegetables. And thus, I have been making a determined foray into what I am calling Unprincipled Vegetarianism — aka, cooking with whatcha got with zero intent of saving the planet, the whales, or anything else that is whining about possible extinction or getting chilly toes when hanging out on ice caps. I am a lover of red meat. The bloodier the steak, the happier my soul hums along, so this is an adventure and my standards are high: it has to be so satisfying that I personally do not crave a meat chaser, that I do not finish the meal eyeing the above mentioned cat as a viable dessert. I am pleased to report that fresh summer succotash, made with borlotti beans, corn, tomatoes, Walla Walla sweet onions, garlic and basil (with a splash of malt vinegar) does the trick.

Especially if you eat ice cream right after. Ice cream covers a multitude of vegetables.

The succotash was just finishing up when my boy quail came in from playing baseball in the backyard with the eldest. He obviously wanted my undivided attention, but his presentation lacked urgency. He was ready to spin the tale (have I ever mentioned that living with my son is a bit like living with a more flexible and easily bruised version of Dick Van Dyke?). I remained at my leisure as he told the dramatic story of the backyard baseball game right up until the last moment, at the end of the narrative, when he hits the dramatic conclusion: “and there was a loud pop and she fell down and she is still on the ground, and can’t get up!”

There are instructive words coming his way about the nature of storytelling and timing.

The eldest quail does indeed appear to have a sprained ankle, nice little goose egg on her ankle bone, and I found myself thankful for all the injuries that I have personally had over the years, because we are now a household equipped with ace wraps, ibuprofen, KT tape and crutches (named Boris and Natasha, in case you were wondering). She ate her succotash propped up with ice piled on the wounded appendage, and so the wild ride of Braendlein life continues…

It does feel as if many things are piled on top of each other right now, and this (quite apparently, I assume) leads me to the syllabub.

“Syllabub is a sweet dish made by curdling sweet cream or milk with an acid such as wine or cider. It was a popular British confection from the 16th to the 19th centuries. Early recipes for syllabub are for a drink of cider with milk. By the 17th century it had evolved into a type of dessert made with sweet white wine.Wikipedia

No acid, no syllabub. The sweet cream does not become a dessert worthy of the title “pudding” (which, I am learning, is a catch all phrase for the British when they want to say “yummy” or “treat”) until it is laced with something harsh, something that by itself would make both tongue and tummy pucker and recoil. It is the kindness and goodness of God that He is bringing threads of acid into the sweetness of this life, some thicker than others. He is making something that is more complex in its flavor, more fully rounded in its depth, more pleasing in every way, and with every gentle stir of His providential spoon, He is combining His light and lovely gifts with His wise, hard providences, and we are left to sing out —

SYLLABUB! Surely the Lord, He has done this thing! And it is very good.

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