I haven't written a post in quite a while. I had my holiday post all ready for the month of December. I knew just what I wanted to say about the holidays in all of their shining glory and all of my Scroogedness this year.
Then I got the call.
My world is forever changed.
Sifting through the broken, or shall I say disassembled, Timex watches, crossword puzzles, piles of reading glasses, drawers of still-in-the-package tube socks(evidently my Dad had become a sock hoarder in his later years) and unopened packs of his beloved Kool cigarettes, I wanted to keep everything. Even the disgusting Kools that, more often than not, forced me to wear a snorkel mask out the window of the car on long road trips with my father.(it was pink)
I wanted it all. All of my Dad's belongings. Everything my father had touched, forever and ever. But, these things live on a mountain in Virginia and I in L.A. which means I can't. I can't keep it all. This tribulation has left me thinking about life, in all of it's fragility, about what we hold dear, what we pass on and what we leave behind.
In my life, I sew aprons.
They're just aprons.
Sure, I labor over the details of each one. Agonizing over each stitch. Hours spent pouring over the new bolts of fabric at Michael Levine's. To bow or not to bow. But, in the end they're not one of life's necessities, they are something you can opt to wear, or not, to protect your clothing while you are in the kitchen.
However, my attitude has shifted.
This holiday a man called Jin ordered an apron for his girlfriend for Christmas. Pretty standard.
But then.. He ordered three more.
One for his sweet girl and two for her daughters. These aprons were all to be cut from the same cloth. Made just for them. Now I realize, these seemingly simple aprons will be a part of the fabric of the little girls' childhoods. They will wear them with their mother while they all work together in the kitchen. They will cook, they will laugh, they will make a mess, they will lovingly move a stray hair out of one another's face while rolling dough, they will talk about their days, tell stories, move together through family recipes- and they will eat. Together. The aprons will be a part of their memories for years to come.
It was this particular order that made me understand that as frivolous as they may seem, these aprons are something real, something tangible, that they can keep forever and maybe even pass on.
As for my Dad, I will always have him in my heart, I will always have crossword puzzles in his handwriting and this recipe, the one I was in the middle of preparing while I spoke with him for the last time.
Linguini and Clam Sauce
1lb. Live Manila Clams
2 cans baby clams - reserve juice
1 1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup water
1 can or 6 anchovy filets, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp red pepper flakes
1 head garlic or 10 cloves, smashed
1 stick butter
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
salt & pepper
loaf of crusty bread
Boil pasta, for 2 minutes less than the package instructs, in salted water. Drain and run cold water over pasta to keep it from cooking further. Set aside.
In a large pot or saute pan, over medium heat, saute garlic in 1/4 cup olive oil until you've scented the pan and the garlic begins to look translucent. Remove garlic, chop, set aside. In the pan add water, 1 cup wine, and clams. Cover and cook for 4 minutes or until they are all open wide. Toss any that haven't opened. Remove from pan and keep warm.
Pour the juice into a separate bowl.
Back to the saute pan, combine 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/2 stick of butter, 1tbsp red pepper flakes, garlic, anchovies, generous pinch salt, fresh cracked pepper. Saute over med/high heat until anchovies dissolve. Add wine and fresh clam juice mixture to the pan. Reduce about 2 minutes. Add canned baby clams and linguini. Cook together about two minutes, salt and pepper to taste as you go.
Meanwhile put the canned clam juice and 1/2 stick of butter in a separate sauce pan with salt and pepper, 1/4 cup wine , 1/2 tbsp red pepper flakes. Reduce. You can use this to dunk crusty chunks of lightly toasted bread in or if you prefer to make your clam sauce saucier.
When pasta is coated, stir in parsley then transfer to bowls and top with Manila clams.
Makes 4 generous servings.
Eat. Enjoy. Hug Someone.
For my Dad, who asked me to FedEx him Linguini and Clam Sauce.