March is a funny month in Wisconsin. You never know about the weather. Will it be winter or spring?
But there comes a time, about mid-month, when the weather turns toward warm and the birds of spring are back to battle for position with the birds of winter. The juncos stick around a while longer, and the cardinals become aggressive as they guard their turf. The finches trill merrily at all hours of the day, and the red wing blackbirds cling to reeds and tall grass and join the song with a raspier trill.
Jerry, my neighbor, continues to burn wood, filling the air with that pungent aroma I remember from childhood. Dusk and the gathering night draw us inside to putter about in the warm kitchen.
My kitchen is small, not an eat-in kitchen at all, not like Grandma Annie's. Hers was truly the heart of the home, the comfort zone, the place we all felt secure and loved.
She was not an exotic cook at all. It is Grandma Annie from whom I derive my notion that it is not what you make but how you make it, and her meals were always made with love for the process, for the food and for the people who would eat it.
Annie and Mémere subscribed to the theory that large meals should be eaten early in the day, and light meals at night. So evening meals, which we called supper, were usually soup, salad and cold meat sandwiches.
Annie would set out plates of chicken or ham or turkey and various cheeses along with spreads and pickle or tomato slices. She adopted the "build your own sandwich" approach long ago.
Always on her table was a plate of raw carrots, celery and radishes. As a result, I prefer sandwiches eaten with these crudités.
I bought the radishes above because they still held dirt from the ground in which they were planted. That allowed me to cling to the idea that they were very fresh.
The radishes are very lovely and piquant, and they reminded me of a shiva with their root stems pointing this way and that.