You could never have convinced me, when I was 16, that I would one day be writing this piece.
Of course, back then I had memorized the name and spelling of every muscle nerve and tendon in the human body because I fervently wanted to be a pediatric oncologist. Say someone had whispered in my ear, “Someday you’ll be writing for a living, writing about food, on a blog about living life fully without gluten.” I probably would have run in fear. At the very least, I would have said, “What is a blog? And what’s gluten? And hey! I’m a professional writer? How cool.”
Mostly, though, my 16-year-old self would have shook with excitement at the idea that the publisher of a book written by Paul McCartney’s daughter would ask me if I’d like to write about it.
I love Paul McCartney. No, you don’t understand. I have always loved Paul McCartney.
My husband knows me better than anyone alive. He knows when to look deep into my eyes and hold me when I’m feeling down. He knows to follow that soulful look with a well-placed fart joke to break apart that mood. He knows the moment I need a fresh hot cup of coffee. He knows that we’ll dance if we put on the Beatles, we’ll look at each other and breathe if the kid isn’t listening to us before leaving the house, and we’ll both tear up if Lucy runs to give me a hug after Danny whispers in her ear. He knows that I’m going to keep reading in bed until the moment my head starts to droop over the book. He knows to gently nudge me and tell me it’s time to sleep. He knows when I need to sleep in, even if it is his morning to get up early with Lu.
He knows my rhythms. And he really seems to like me.
This is why he emailed me a new recipe for kale salad the other day. He has been so patient. This past year, I’ve developed a fondness for kale. Okay, that’s not true. As Danny said to me just now, “If I wasn’t in your life, you’d marry kale.” It’s true. I love all kale, but particularly the dark lacinato kale. When we planted our garden, I bought about 20 kale plants. Our friend, who was my gardening consultant, tried to dissuade me. “You really don’t realize how much kale you’re going to have.” I’m still eating it out of our garden. It’s the last greenness in the dark brown dirt. Seriously, I love kale.
And I know that it has now become fashionable to start hating on the kale, saying there are too many kale salads on the menu of every restaurant and we all just need to calm down on the kale. Okay, you calm down on the kale. More kale for me!
Danny scrunches up his forehead when he asks what we should have for dinner, and I casually slip it in. “How about some kale?” (On my behalf, we’re also eating cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and so many brussels sprouts that Lu has taken to running around the house saying, “I love brussels sprouts!”) He looks at me long enough to make me laugh, and then I say, “Okay.” But then I come back, “Really, could we have some kale?”
(We had some homemade mayonnaise in the house, so I thinned it out with yuzu and the brine from the tiny nicoise olives I added to the salad. I recommend this. And the sunflower seeds on top, if you like that sort of thing.)
Tofu and I have a long, sometimes fractious relationship. We didn’t start off well. When I was in high school, I decided to become a vegetarian. Suddenly disgusted by meat, I announced to my mother that…