This past week we took a family trip to Montreal to visit our son at McGill University and to take in the sites of the big city. I love Montreal—it feels like another world that we can transport ourselves to easily, in a very short time. The weather was glorious with a light, pleasant wind blowing at our backs as we strolled in the old city along the waterfront. Lucky to be there before tourist season and during the early hours on Monday morning, we felt like this ancient section of the city was ours for the taking. I marveled at the history around us—I could feel the heartbeats of Montreal’s early settlers and first peoples in the warmth of the cobblestones under my feet. I could experience the hope in the spirit of the refugees who continue to come ashore via the St. Lawrence Seaway. I could smell the fear of the native peoples whose homes would be forever changed by the arrival of so many Europeans. It was a lot to take in but made our experience of the city rich and full.
Thinking about the changes in that territory, while I walked and talked with my family, I felt like a kite blowing in the gentle wind. So much of family life—of parenting in particular—is a give and take between support and letting go, between offering guidance and knowing when to stand back, when to let the wind be the guide. When will I stop thinking and trying to control the wind? Every day is an opportunity for love and growth even when I am not feeling in control in the moment or micro-managing my life. The kite trusts the wind. When will I? Soon. I hope, soon.
Montreal is a food city—every meal was a true delight for the senses. Meals there invariably start with fresh, warm bread of one sort or another. This Multigrain Focaccia with Spring Herbs is reminiscent of a flatbread we were served during lunch at a small Italian café. Focaccia is an Italian flatbread that should not be confused with pizza. Its dough requires more yeast than pizza dough, so it rises to make a thicker crust, and typically does not have heavy toppings or sauce like traditional pizza. Filled with fruity olive oil and Herbes de Provence, then topped with more olive oil and fresh herbs, this bread is delicious straight from the oven with a glass of wine and a sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. For a fuller meal, add a Market Morning Salad or Roasted Asparagus and a plate of smoked meats. Bring your meal outside. Enjoy it picnic-style on the deck or the front porch, while a gentle spring breeze touches and moves you.
I look forward to seeing you in my kitchen, gathering flavors, soon.