I’ve never been one to really remember my dreams. I’ve never kept a dream journal (who can be bothered waking up, turning on the light and writing something down in the middle of the night? If you do keep one, I salute you!) and always seem to forget whatever it is I do barely remember from a midnight wakeup.
My first dreams after having Grady shocked me because in them I was still the old me. Just a wife. Just some lady living in Paris, without a real job, occasionally talking and writing about kale in France. I was not a mom. There was no Grady. It was as if the entire pregnancy and labor had never even happened. As if the current restless nights did not exist and as if my life did not solely consist of nourishing another human being. I found it strange that I was not yet a mother in my dreams and was even ashamed to admit it to myself, to Philip, to my mother. Did I not have the motherhood gene in me because it has not shifted into all facets of life while awake and asleep?
“In my dreams, I am not yet a mother.” I said it over again to myself, to the wall, to the running water in the kitchen sink, to our handheld and very slow coffee grinder, wondering if and when the shift would occur in my subconscious. Because very clearly, I am a mother. It’s noticeable in every little, minute thing I do now. There is not one second that passes where this new role is not present.
Almost two months to the day of Grady’s birth was American mother’s day, which we decided to celebrate instead of waiting until French mother’s day to be held this upcoming weekend. Philip bought me a gorgeous, pink flowered plant that I know I will lovingly stare at all summer and a pair of delicate earrings. I’m never one wishing for anything from my husband on special occasions. He also gave me 45 minutes.
Forty-five minutes for what I wanted most: to get back into the kitchen. The day before, during a quick jaunt to the market, one of my very first back since having Grady (marketing is much much different and more complicated now than before!), I seized upon the spring asparagus and petite pois. Having missed so much of the summer vegetables due to morning sickness, I was determined to not miss the bounty of nature’s rebirth due to the birth of my daughter. So on this mother’s day, my first, I asked for a moment alone to prepare asparagus and green peas.
It was not just about spring produce. It was about having the short amount of time alone in the kitchen again. Enjoying a sense of my old self, the self that still existed in my dreams. As I shelled the peas and peeled the tough skin off the bottom of each asparagus for the quiche/fritatta thingy I was making, I listened to Philip with Grady in the living room, her cooing and him talking to her, counting and singing in French. It was about taking 45 minutes to prepare something on my own for our new little family. I even took out flour for the olive oil crust and to me anytime flour and a rolling pin is involved signals a real deal cooking session that actually counts for something.
It did not take long to prepare. Most meals I make these days do not and frankly, cannot take long. It was the simplest meal to make for the short amount of time I had, before nourishing the little one again became priority. Just the springtime peas, asparagus and eggs. Nothing hard or revolutionary. It did tie together my first Mother’s Day nicely, giving me a moment of the old me as I reflected on the new me. And perhaps that’s what I needed most.
One morning, a week or so later, I woke up to the shuffling and whisperings of the little one next to me. I felt different. I immediately knew what it was and a sense of relief washed over me. I looked down at Grady, smiling, kicking her legs and laughing out, singing of her innocence into the air. Finally my dreams had caught up with reality.
Asparagus & Petite Pois Tarte with Olive Oil Crust
Inspired by Jessie Kanelos-Weiner who brought something similar as a “first week on your own” dinner
Serves 2 hungry/4 normal
*I recognize that a proper quiche recipe uses milk/cream but I’ve since cut out all milk and cream from my diet so this is a hybrid fritatta/quiche dish
Fresh peas, shelled
Optional: Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 200degrees C/350 degrees F
Peel asparagus and chop into 2cm/inch long pieces
Sauté peas and asparagus in olive oil over medium heat with dash of salt
While vegetables are cooking, whisk eggs (and parmesan cheese), salt and pepper in bowl
Add vegetables and mix
Pour onto olive oil crust
Bake for 20-25 minutes until middle is no longer moist w/ knife test
Olive Oil Crust
250 g/1.5 cups flour
60 ml/1/4 cup olive oil
120 ml/1/2 cup water
pinch of salt
Mix flour and salt
Create a small volcano type hole in middle of bowl and pour in olive oil and using a fork, mix around flour
Add water slowly, mixing through flour and olive oil mixture
Mix until all flour is mostly coated
Using hands, knead together into a bowl
Lightly dust a rolling pin and roll out into circle shape for tarte pan