Every time the weather gets hot, my car stinks like spoiled milk. Due to a spill I had over two years ago on the way to a cooking exam, the rank comes back to haunt me in the summertime, but makes me feel curiously romantic. It reminds me of trying to find parking in Southie, practicing Bavarian cream for hours in my non-air-conditioned apartment, and my first adventures as a professional baker. It also means that summer is here again in full force.
For me, summer has always been a time for reclaiming order. After a long, busy semester, the closets become disorderly, French fries show their true form as dimples (not the cute, Shirley Temple variety), and I realize I haven’t vacuumed the cat hair off the couch in over three weeks.
This summer I am making wedding cakes, writing for the magazine, thinking about a wedding and plotting. I’ve been thinking a lot about Eleanor Roosevelt, too, and visiting New Orleans again, and taking deep breaths and big sips of wine somewhere in the South of France (that’s the plotting part). But for time being, I’m finding new rose wines to have on the front porch and listening to John Denver Pandora. Because it is always my hope that there is a lot of front-porch sitting in summer and the world will slow down a little, like the town of Maycomb in To Kill a Mockingbird, where “The day was twenty-four hours long, but it seemed longer. There’s no hurry, for there’s nowhere to go and nothing to buy.…and no money to buy it with.”
So, I’m plotting as usual, but mostly, I’m pursuing that order I mentioned. I love going back into the restaurant kitchen to make the wedding cakes because order and chaos coexistent. One drop of a cake or burnt steak and chaos takes over, but most days they live together in balance. Everyone synchronizes to the same beat to create and cook. That is what I’m doing this summer – Creating, cooking and breathing in all the smells of summer.