Eric and I are currently in California on a week-long trip that’s including stops in Big Sur (for a friend’s wedding), San Jose, to visit my aunt and uncle, Yountville, for our dinner at The French Laundry, and Davis to visit Eric’s brother and his family.
Over the next week, I have some wonderfully talented bloggers who were gracious enough to provide some posts. Up first is Mike of Verses from My Kitchen. What is immediately striking about his posts are how frank he is in his writing. He beautifully articulates stories from his past and finds touching ways to bridge those moments with his deep passion for cooking and food.
It makes reading his blog a joy and I know that after you’ve read his beautiful contribution to A Thought For Food, you will want to rush over to his site.
When I started blogging there were a select few people that I knew of or had come across during my searches. Brian’s blog was one that I initially admired from afar until the first time I said hi via twitter. From there I was able to admire from up close and appreciate his talents in both writing and photography. He has a style that is uniquely his own and I’m always drawn back for both inspiration and the mere love of it all. He knows who he is and it shines through in his work.
To say I’m honoured that he would ask me to write a guest post would be an understatement. I was more than happy to oblige as it gave me the chance to express my appreciation with my words and pictures. Secretly, I was thrilled.
I know Brian is a vegetarian so I tried to come up with a recipe that was both delicious and also fit inside those boundaries that he keeps for himself. Once I came up with the recipe, the rest was easy. Thank you Brian!
This is my story.
When I was a young, freckle-faced boy, I started to witness the deterioration of my family unit. Things had gotten so bad that the mere thought of heading home from school was met with trepidation and fear. Inside our beautiful brick house in the picturesque community on that busy main street in Toronto was a secret ready to be unleashed. Divorce.
Growing up, divorce wasn’t happening with the regularity seen today. Parents stayed together for the children, or because they were too afraid of the prospect of growing old alone. At the slightest hint of a broken marriage, people around town would begin to gossip.
The generation before my parents had made marriage a lifelong commitment. But views on such things were changing and while the concept of divorce was not an easy one to grasp, deep down inside my mother and father knew what was best for them and the family. And so it went. My parents were in the midst of the brand new normal.
The first few years after the split was difficult. All the routines of childhood were broken into smaller, newer routines. Time spent in one house was divided among two houses with schedules so difficult to make out I didn‘t know whether I was coming or going half the time. No matter where I was, I was really never present. And the name calling began between people once married, and now immediate enemies only connected by one sole thread. Me.
As a kid who grew up in Toronto amidst the rapidly expanding concrete jungle and urban sprawl, markets and greenery were at a minimum. I played on cement school yards predominantly hard and cracking. The green field seemed to shrink before my eyes as each passing grade came and went. The idea of home gardens and fresh produce was as foreign to me as another language. And space was at a premium.
When my mother met my step-dad, things suddenly changed. Quickly and without notice or fanfare. Once a one-family unit, I was now about to embark on a journey with three families. My mother’s, my dad’s and my step-dad’s. It wasn’t bad, just different. And change for a kid is the equivalent of the new world order. Change is unknown and the unknown is scary when you’re eight years old.
I remember the nerves I had when it was time to meet this new family: his parents and siblings, aunts and uncles, and cousins around my age. We made the trip outside the city to a place I had previously only read about in children’s books or seen in lifetime movies of the week. Large green fields and sprawling properties. And hope. Fields and fields of hope.
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