Saturday, March 8, 2008

Back then

Before heading over to Kingsleys Deli to roll around on the floor and beg John to take a slicer to the corned beef, I dropped around to cut off a piece for my Mom who has had a bit of an issue, to put it mildly, with this piece of meat. She knows a thing or two about corned beef and she has declared this piece of meat is at least, partially, raw. Much to my dismay, I am writing to you from her counter where she has just grabbed said beef and flung it really rather unceremoniously, back into the stew pot. And you can place a safe bet it will be there still in 4 hours, simmering away.

While the journey to the sandwich in the picture has been less than enjoyable, and completely unreliable from a recipe perspective recently, the moments when the scent of carrots, onions, parsnips, and bay curled gently through the rooms of the house reminded me of dinners long ago and of ghosts which never let go of this hostess. Those were among the first things I came to recognize by scent cooking in the house, and they are the very beginning of so many happy things a family knows together: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Sunday dinner. While this brisket has been a long war, it has also reminded me there is a something more important preserved in the making of corned beef: It is revisiting the sensations of where you came from and the comfort of watching the sure hands of your Mother fix the roast.

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