Respite can come in the shape of a small blue berry.
This morning, the kids and I stole some time from our daily duties to share a bit of breakfast—hobbit-style—at a favorite restaurant in nearly nearby Frenchtown. My pal Jeanne introduced me to the delights of the Lovin’ Oven a little over a year ago, and we’ve made roughly monthly pilgrimages to enjoy the meals made with local ingredients ever since.
I know this sounds weird, but it’s a joy to watch your children gobble sautéed kale and black beans with huevos rancheros and sweet potato biscuits. The food is so damn good you can’t help but slow down and savor it. The pace of the meal always turns continental.
Usually such family visits end with a trip to the Lovin’ Oven’s homemade desserts case, although the kids are too stuffed for much more than a chocolate chip or sugar cookie. But I’ve had dreams about the banana cream pudding and a hush falls over the table whenever the server sets down a slice of peanut butter pie.
Today, however, it’s blistering hot and each kid chose a fruity dessert (albeit two of the three were also graced by chocolate’s presence): an impossibly tall and impossible to finish slice of orange cake (four layers!) frosted with chocolate ganache, a warm and homey apple crisp, and a little lemon curd tart topped with fresh blueberries.
Hidden beneath the curd was, of course, a layer of chocolate.The tart, promptly consumed with focused silence, disappeared down to a tiny wedge, which was photographed (above) in the palm of a serious chocolate lover’s hand before vanishing.
It was a little summer sweetness for me, too, who am consumed by daily affairs and obligations that never seem to slow or pay homage to special days or a change of season.
But this is also a choice, and something I have to remind myself I am in charge of making. It’s healthy and healing to take a break and break bread—or blueberries—with those we love.
When I looked around the restaurant the diners at every other table were doing exactly what we doing at our table: talking and laughing together over a well-fashioned meal despite the brutal heat and pressing burdens of the day.
So forget (forgive me, Mom) the roses—I encourage you, even as I vow to remind myself, to take more time this summer to stop and taste the blueberries.