By COLLEEN LEDDY
I blame the moon.
Every time a full moon is coming on, something kablooey happens. Tonight it was a food catastrophe. I was preparing a dish for the potluck at the library….
Remember? “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life”? The Lenawee Reads book selection—the One Book, One Community program all the libraries in the county have embraced this month with a variety of activities and events planned in conjunction—prompted Stair District Library to host a potluck before the Evening Book Discussion Group’s March meeting and discussion of Barbara Kingsolver’s book.
It’s an excellent book, comprehensively covering every aspect of growing and procuring, locally, a family’s food for a year. Kingsolver is listed as the main author and she carries the story forward, but her husband writes more technical essays with statistics and her daughter writes personal essays. And then there are the recipes. Thirty-six recipes accompany the text, and the library invited patrons to choose one to make and bring to the potluck.
I chose Sweet Potato Quesadillas thinking it looked like a quick and easy recipe….except I forgot to buy tortillas when David and I were in Toledo Sunday. We were celebrating our wedding anniversary (I depart here to remind readers that we are truly married in the eyes of the law and the church and have been for 34 years now, even though I never changed my last name.) Anyway, I wanted whole wheat tortillas with no preservatives since it seemed in keeping with the book, but just plumb forgot to even look when we were at the Phoenix Food Co-op.
Then I realized: my daughter Maddie makes tortillas all the time; how hard could it be? If Maddie can do it, so can I. I texted her for the recipe. It looked easy-peasey simple.
I should have made the quesadillas Sunday night, but I foolishly allowed myself to get totally distracted with posting photos on Facebook. David had rediscovered a photo of three-year-old Ben dressed as a “bag baby” along with Jake and Jamie Dilworth, similarly attired. That photo reminded me of a couple others I had recently come across and those photos led me to another pile, some of which are now on Facebook—Rosie looking exactly like her two-year-old daughter Ellie, Maddie holding a magic wand after filling my still-very-brown hair with barrettes and ponytails; three-year-old Ben squished between me and my mother, a “what the …” look on my face; another three-year-old Ben and me with my friend Amy in New York City at Riverside Park. I probably wouldn’t have posted any, but it was Ben’s half-birthday and I had posted the “Bag Family” one earlier in the evening.
One thing led to another and it was 1 a.m. before I remembered the quesadillas. I prepared the sweet potato part of the recipe and then decided I should go to sleep and make the tortillas Monday evening before the potluck.
Bad move. At 5:20 p.m., I was in a crazy rush, whipping around the kitchen, trying to do too many things at once. It wasn’t just mixing up and rolling out the tortillas; I had to heat the sweet potato mixture, oil the cookie sheet, and slice the brie. Have you ever sliced brie cheese? That’s a major oy right there. I don’t think I’ve ever bought brie before. What a complicated cheese. Depending on how old it is, its consistency varies. My cheese was in the creamy impossible-to-slice-especially-when-you’re-in-a-really-big-hurry stage. And then the pan started burning...I wasn’t cranking out the tortillas fast enough.
I grabbed a big mixing spoon to slap the sweet potato mixture on a tortilla resting on a cookie sheet, figuring the spreading would go faster with a bigger spoon, and it did—but it also added some weight to the cookie sheet. The cookie sheet was (precariously, in retrospect) balanced on the sink when I turned to flip a tortilla out of the frying pan and place the last one in.
And, then, I sensed a slow, gentle slide behind me. I turned in time to see the cookie sheet, dragged by the weight of the spoon, flip over and complete its journey to the floor, sweet potato side down. Dinner for David, I thought as I huffed and puffed and said words I never uttered when my kids were living at home. Back to square one with the tortillas.
No, it wasn’t a pretty scene at my house Monday night, especially when the first tortilla of the second batch closely resembled Africa instead of the moon.
Is that the moon’s fault?