May 15, 2014
Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. Mr. Sundberg was home for the weekend, and made a lovely pizza for all of us Saturday evening, his contribution to Mother's Day before the fact. It was nice to relax a bit and eat homemade Thai chicken pizza together while listening to the show. And then on Sunday, more good food, this time with my brothers and mother at an Irish pub in the city. It felt a bit odd for a place to visit on Mother's Day, but why not? I thought, as I made the reservation a while back. It was a good call. We ate reubens and fish 'n chips, and this wonderful pile of lettuce and figs and apples and Brie, and big puffy pretzel-like bread sticks with a cheesy sauce. And Irish coffee with a shot of Jameson. Mom wore three small white roses and looked pretty and happy, and we walked by the river after and took photos of each other and laughed. It was an afternoon one might frame and place on the mantel.
There's a Latin word, "satis", that comes to mind here. It means "enough." Not "enough" like "we have enough butter" or "I've had enough of this crap", but "enough" in a deeper way, like "sufficient", a deep down "YES." How you might feel if your soul would sigh. It's a feeling I feel often during or after a meal with people I love. I feel it sometimes at the end a busy day, sometimes when saying goodbye, sometimes after washing all the windows. I felt it on Christmas Eve, and when our daughter graduated from high school, and when I turned 40. It appears after making love. And at twilight around the campfire. And sometimes after I finish mowing and raking and cleaning up the yard. And during a long, hot shower, and sometimes just sitting with a person with whom you can be yourself. Satis.
Thing is, like with happiness or straight As or a good relationship or a perfect rice pudding, you can't force the feeling of "satis", and there's no guarantee. You can't really plan for it, or count on it, and it has a lot to do with hard work, and not giving up, and a little to do with something else. I want to say "fate", but it's more like mystery, or chance. And it seems the fewer expectations a person has, the more often the feeling of "enough" appears. Sometimes the best things just come out of nowhere, out of the blue, and nestle around you and fill you up. A tall cool glass of lemonade. The kids' voices in another room. The wind blowing through the curtains, with the sun peeking in. The scent of wildflowers. Satis. Yes. Enough.
My grandmother made these bars on hot summer days. My brothers and I ate them warm, with vanilla ice cream, out on the back porch, batting away flies and dogs, and dripping ice cream on our smudged up bare feet. Then she'd get out the homemade root beer, and we were good to go for a whole afternoon of swimming over at the lake.
Raspberry Rhubarb Pie Bars
3¼ cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup butter
¾ cup plus 1 to 2 T milk
1 egg yolk
2 cups sugar
⅓ cup cornstarch
5 cups fresh or frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawed and drained
3 cups sliced fresh or frozen rhubarb, thawed and drained
1¼ cups powdered sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
5 to 6 tsp milk
In a large bowl, combine flour and salt; cut in butter until crumbly. Whisk ¾ cup milk and egg yolk; add to flour mixture, tossing with a fork until the dough forms a ball. Add more milk, one tablespoon at a time, if you need to.
Divide dough in two portions, one slightly larger than the other, and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for an hour or so until it's easy to handle.
Roll out the larger portion of dough between two large sheets of lightly floured waxed paper into an 18-in. x 13-in. rectangle. Transfer to an ungreased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Press onto the bottom and up the sides of pan, and trim pastry to edges of pan.
In a large bowl, combine sugar and cornstarch. Add raspberries and Rhubarb, and toss to coat. Gently pour into pastry.
Roll out remaining dough and place over filling. Fold bottom pastry over the edge of the top pastry, seal, and prick top with a fork.
Bake at 375° for 45-55 minutes or until golden brown. Cool.
For icing, combine powdered sugar, vanilla and enough milk so you can drizzle it over the pie. Cut into squares. Makes 2 dozen pie bars.