We sent the book into our publishers.
Oh, what a sweet, sweet sentence.
On Friday, at noon, three fingers pressed down on the mouse to hit send: mine, the Chef’s, and Little Bean’s. I’m sure she had no idea what she was doing, but we did. We sent our cookbook off to our editor, all the recipes, techniques, headnotes, and hard-won essays.
We’re proud of it, even though it will need editing. (It took me years of writing to realize that a first draft is never genius, and a tough editor with a red pen is a gift indeed.)
We can’t wait to see it in print, with the gorgeous photographs, even though it won’t be published until spring of 2010.
We cannot believe that we wrote an entire cookbook in 9 months, when we had our first child in the midst of it and sometimes wrote in the middle of the night when she woke up at 3 in the morning and didn’t feel like going to sleep for an hour. And the last three weeks, I have been living on the computer for nine hours a day, trying to write when Little Bean was asleep, but sometimes having to turn my back on her while she played with her papa.
It seemed, at times, that we would never finish that book. But we did.
We did it.
Better than that, my mom is doing great. I made some allusions here, last month, to someone we love not doing well. I can tell you, now that we have a happy ending. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, just before Christmas. We were all terrified. Writing a book didn’t feel that important. We set it aside, for a time, to focus on her. Wonderfully, joyfully, now we know — she is fine. Two weeks ago, she endured surgery, and she’s still recovering from the brutality. However, the doctors got it all. A few days ago, she relayed to me what the surgeon told her: “You’re cured.” I cried harder than I did when we finished the book.
So, it seems, we had a few reasons to celebrate around here. And celebrate we did.
We had lobster for dinner on Monday evening.
I first watched Annie Hall when I was 11 years old, and I fell in love with Woody Allen’s neurotic nebbish, the witty quips in movie lines, the dirty streets of Manhattan I saw buzzing by Diane Keaton’s car as the two recited droll dialogue. Sometimes, when I park the car in a sloppy fashion, I look at the sidewalk and say, “I can walk from here.” Imressionable as hell, I wanted to fall into the middle of that movie and never come up for air. So of course, I adored the scene where Alvie and Annie chase lobsters around the kitchen, thwacking brooms behind the refrigerator, Annie grabbing her camera and the two of them laughing so hard they immediately fell into bed after trapping the lobsters underneath the lid of a pot of hot water. That, to me, looked like good love. (Never mind that they don’t work, in the end. He lurved her.)
On Friday afternoon, with Little Bean bouncing in her seat in the kitchen, I grabbed my camera as the Chef pulled the live lobster from the box. Oh, we took a few funny photos, with him raising the claws to his lips, balancing it with a lemon in the other hand. But it turns out that killing a lobster isn’t nearly so funny as it is in the movies. (Damn movies. They disappoint me again.) At a certain point, I turned my back and blocked Little Bean from seeing the crazy flailing tail of the lobster just after it had been pithed. I stopped taking photographs. We weren’t laughing.
So I thanked the lobster before we ate it (in beurre monter, with steamed artichokes, roasted potatoes and cabbage, sparkling pear cider, and warm apple crisp). And I remembered again how complex life is — mortality and celebration all mixed up together, side by side, unexpected, all the more beautiful for being so complicated.
And then we fell into bed. To sleep. Oh lord, we are tired. But happy as hell.
Now, we’d like to know. What do you eat when you truly want to celebrate? And if it’s lobster, what do you do with it?