When I decided to get married four months after announcing my engagement, I did it with some trepidation. It wasn't because I was nervous about the wedding planning or the small, but oh-so-important details. It wasn't because I was anxious about marrying my mate. It was because I was worried about August.
August: when the days get long and hot. August: the month when peaches plump and basil bursts; when the French go on long vacations and we Americans become frantic, trying to squeeze everything in before Labor Day.
But in August, in San Francisco, the days are long and cool -- and often grey. And for me, a newly minted married woman, sans major project, loafing around looking for a book proposal, a project, a job, August would be treacherous.
Oh, August. I wish I could say you surprised me. But you haven't. Admittedly, I'm a little fickle. There's been sunshine, I'm sure of it. But right now what I see outside my window is dismal and grey. And I've got projects -- the little book I'm editing is nearly finished!-- but I want more projects, bigger ones.
It might be the worst part of my personality, this tendency to never be satisfied. But it might also be the best. It's what keeps me pushing ahead, whether it be writing and networking, or granola baking, floor scouring, and thank-you note writing.
And so, these long slow days of summer demand deeper introspection. Perhaps I've been too quick to plow ahead (I've been accused of this); maybe I'm a bit dramatic?
For there are some August surprises: the CSA box bursting with peaches, tomatoes, and corn also arrived with an array of purple treats that remind me that autumn will come. There are sweet purple grapes and large pungent onions. When have I ever had the time to consider what to do with two pounds of purple onions?
But wait, there's more. Even though I've an abundance of time these days, perfect for elaborate meal planning and execution, there's a new cook in the kitchen. He used to appear sporadically, but this month he's been in the kitchen twice. I even caught him pawing through a Marcella Hazan cookbook after dinner.
The other night he took stock of the vegetable drawer. Next, he found a recipe -- Mark Bittman's Pasta with Corn, Zucchini, and Tomatoes -- and gently pushed me out of the kitchen while he got to work. The end result: barely cooked red and yellow vegetables tossed with tangled ropes of fresh pasta and sprinkled with tarragon.
He says he's cooking again tonight. Oh, August. How you surprise me.
Pasta with Corn, Zucchini and Tomatoes -- recipe by Mark Bittman
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup corn kernels ( cut from 2 or 3 ears)
1 cup diced zucchini or summer squash (from 2 or 3 small vegetables -- we used pattypan)
1 medium onion or 3 or 4 shallots, diced
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1 sprigs tarragon or a tablespoon dry
4 plum or 2 large tomatoes, diced
1 pound cut pasta, like penne (imperative so that bits and juices can become lodged in the tubes!)