The coastal breeze caresses the large leaves of kale, and golden rays of sun shine brightly on the fiery cherry tomatoes. A bounty erupts from the expertly planted garden in our backyard, as my mom guides the hose, nurturing her thirsty plants like she would a child. The garden competes for her time alongside her golf, her family, and her writing (probably not in that order). Regular morning tours around the garden to collect ripe veggies for her daily green smoothie have become ingrained into her routine; two of the raised beds yield flowers for beautiful dinner table centerpieces until the cold weather hits New England.
Clutter is one of my mom’s biggest pet peeves. She gets a thrill from throwing out something that has been sitting around the house for too long. For that reason, our house is very organized, and she goes about the garden in a similar manner, pulling out weeds and clipping any withered leaves from the plants. Once while weeding, she found a small nest of baby bunnies hidden in our kale; she let them stay and checked on them daily (again, that nurturing instinct).
We spend many summer weeknights together, while my two older brothers and dad are busy with work and summer internships. Although the two of us eagerly await the weekend feasts when all “the boys” return to our summer haven in Rhode Island, I cherish those quiet nights alone with my mom. We have always shared a similar taste in food and don’t mind eating a simple healthy dinner together, using the rewards of our own backyard. Even though it’s just the two of us, we make a huge salad in order to have delicious leftovers. Good leftovers are one of life’s underrated pleasures.
After dinner we snuggle up on the couch with our labradoodle, Brady, nestled between us. I feel content and safe next to her as we watch a show or movie. Small moments like these are ones I miss the most when I am away at school, but snacking on my stash of mom’s homemade granola helps diminish my longing for home.
Anne Blasberg is a sophomore at Dartmouth College; her mother, Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg, is a writer in Boston whose first novel is Eden.
pesto (homemade or store-bought)
Cut eggplant and tomatoes in big round slices.
Brush slices of eggplant with olive oil, and coat with breadcrumbs.
Sauté in olive oil until golden brown.
Put one sautéed eggplant slice on plate as a bottom layer.
Put a tomato slice on top.
Smother with pesto.
Top with a slice of mozzarella.
The last layer is one more sautéed eggplant slice.