Throughout the apartment hangs a fragrance no perfumer would ever create–probably because none has imagined how delightful it is: the mingled essences of peony and bacon. Oh, yeah, you read that right. Peony. And bacon.
The peculiar combination evokes summer at my grandparents’ house in the country. The two warm, embracing scents speak of earth’s bounty and the senses’ indulgence. Both hint at life with dirt clinging to its roots–the organic, tangible, imperfect details of an existence that modern hurry has not sullied.
When I’m home I feel
like an ant traversing his
peony petal: small,
but for him, in this moment,
a whole world.
I have to confess I didn’t come by the peonies innocently…. (I’ll make my excuses and then you can judge me.) There’s a park nearby, brimming with full-bloomed peony bushes. I’ve never seen anyone in that park. Peonies bloom for a short time. So I snatched three, all from the bottom of the bushes, telling myself that someone should be enjoying them. Someone, meaning me.
And I am enjoying them. Last night I kept burying my nose in their frills, inhaling like I was suffocating and they were oxygen. Gah! They’re amazing. This morning I didn’t even have to lean down to smell them; their fragrance had permeated the room. Faintly, under the sweetness, I could still detect the ultra-rich, slightly salty reminisce of last night’s bacon.
The Hollandaise did not emulsify, for reasons which continue to elude me, but otherwise our first attempt at Eggs Benedict succeeded. Chewy bread topped with crumblingly-crisp bacon, puffy soft eggs, and buttery sauce filled us up without weighing us down. This meal also marks the first time asparagus has graced our table. Shocking, perhaps, but true.
We bought it at the second Farmer’s Market of the season. The market is held less than a block away from us, so I hope to get plenty of this summer’s produce there. This asparagus, sauteed in olive oil with a bit of salt and pepper, was surprisingly tasty. I ate mine with my fingers, feeling primitive.
Hubby got in touch with the food too. He sliced and toasted the bread and baked the bacon (we drape it over cooling racks on cookie sheets and put it in the oven at 450 or 500).
He sought to remedy the ailing Hollandaise, but by the time I asked for help the sauce was beyond rescue.
Despite its imperfections, we both devoured our meals with satisfaction. This morning, as remnants of that satisfaction lingered in the air, I felt grateful for springtime beauty, a full stomach, and the oft-unnoticed blessings that surface in my ordinary life.