bittersweet

Seventeen flights, six countries, and eight months later, it’s finally time to return to Vermont!

Sitting here at the airport, I finally understand the concept of bittersweet.

Bittersweet.

Leaving the safe, secure, comfort of home is plain old hard. It sucks, especially when you love the people that you are leaving behind. Part of the reason I chose to go to school so far from home was because there was a lot more stress at home than there is now, and it was easy to want to leave a stressful situation.

It’s different now.

They say that parents get dumber until your mid-twenties, and then they start getting smarter again. Well, upon turning 20 last December, I think I hit the ‘parents are getting smarter’ phase. This unfortunately makes leaving the people who give great advice and guidance, offer wonderful life experience stories, let me drip chocolate all around their kitchen, and play Scrabble and Quiddler with me until the wee hours of the morning (okay, maybe until 10:30 pm, but that’s late for my mom!). More and more, I appreciate who they are, what they do, and what they’ve done for my sister and me. As a family, we never quite reached sitcom levels of drama and conflict, but now it seems like a shame that we missed out on about 5 years of having as much and enjoying each other’s company as much as we do now, particularly as we see each other less frequently now. Although maybe that’s part of it.

As they said in Disney’s Robin Hood (the one with animals instead of people. Robin Hood and Maid Marian were foxes. Some of Disney’s best work, really.), “absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

A lesson that should be learned well before adulthood.

But it’s one of those things that is hard to learn without experience.

And as we learn that lesson, and recognize how much we appreciate certain people in our lives, it becomes much easier to understand what bittersweet really means. In more than just the context of bittersweet chocolate, which by the way I think is generally way more sweet than bitter.  But back to the point.

Food is a gathering point, a way to express love, a means to gather people together in the spirit of sharing. Meals are a time when we share our lives and thoughts with the people we love most. It’s a little scary that a large proportion of American families don’t eat dinner together anymore.

I’m lucky that we almost always had dinner together growing up, and still do today when we’re together.

Last night was the proverbial last supper with my parents.

For now at least.

If you’re reading this, don’t worry; I’LL BE BACK!!! (now is that a promise or a threat?)

As we all really like salads, we had two last night. Along with our smoked salmon, bacon, and steak. Because yes, we like protein too.

This one is a family favorite. It’s been showing up on our dining table for as long as I can remember, and every time it is absolutely delicious.

I hope you enjoy it with the people that mean the most to you.

Seattle Broccoli Salad

2 medium heads of broccoli

½ red onion

4 pieces of bacon, cooked until very crisp

1/3 cup crushed pecans

1/3 cup dried cranberries or cherries (or both!)

3 TBSP maple syrup

3 TBSP oil of choice (olive, walnut, avocado, etc)

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

Salt to taste

 

Dice the red onion, chop the broccoli into small, bite-sized pieces (not florets!), and tear the bacon into little bits. Mix the broccoli, onion, cranberries, pecans, oil, syrup, vinegar and salt in a large bowl. Stir thoroughly to make sure that the dressing gets into all of the broccoli crevasses. Wait to toss the bacon right before serving, otherwise it’ll get soggy!

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Off to find some snow in Boston!

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