Once back at the house with her haul from the market, she tied on an apron and set to work. She loved so many things about this kitchen, especially the butcher block counters that were lovingly worn to a patina a designer would envy. This room had long been the heart of the Long home, and now it would be so for the Wilsons. Time in the kitchen had always been an escape for Lizzie. She found cooking allowed her brain just to be in the moment. The food would nourish the bodies of her family, but the process of preparing it fed her soul. It was a way for her to express her love tangibly.
She started with her tart crust. She loved how pulsing a few simple ingredients—butter, flour, salt, sugar and ice water—could bring forth a dough. She turned the dough out onto the floured butcher block and began to do a final knead, shaping it into a disc. She wrapped it in plastic wrap and stuck it in the refrigerator to chill.
She then turned her attention to making pasta dough. All the kneading was therapeutic. The rhythm of her hands pushing and pulling the dough was soothing. She selected her favorite heavy Dutch oven pot and began the base of the ragout she would serve over the noodles. The onions and garlic were sizzling in the hot olive oil and pork drippings from the browning of the meat perfumed the air with the promise of a delectable meal when Aunt Dorothy returned from her altar guild work and lunch. "Something smells divine," she said, setting her purse on the counter and taking off her coat.
“I’m making a pork ragout to serve over homemade noodles tonight,” Lizzie answered. She was kneading her third variety of dough for the day, soon to be homemade French country bread.
Aunt Dorothy looked around the kitchen with flour dusting almost every surface. “Looks like you’re having a grand time. I think I will leave you to it; I’m anxious to do some work for the on-line history course I’m taking. I am thoroughly enjoying learning all about the history of our lowcountry.”
“I’m still not sure I understand why you are taking that.’
“An idle mind makes for an old mind, Lizzie. My body might be failing me, but I'll be darned if I let my mind turn to mush.” Aunt Dorothy fixed a cup of tea to take with her.
‘I feel like lately, my mind is very mush-like. Maybe I need to take a course.”
“I think, child, your problem is that you have too much on your mind. You need to learn how to focus in on one thing and give your mind a rest from your worries.” Aunt Dorothy swept the room with her eyes. “By the looks of this kitchen, I would say you may have found a great way to do that,” Aunt Dorothy patted Lizzie on the back and headed to her cozy suite.
Lizzie smiled at Aunt Dorothy as she watched her walk away. For the past hour, she had not thought about any of her worries. “I think you might be right. I guess we’ll be eating well for the foreseeable future,” she called after Aunt Dorothy.
“That is a happy circumstance for us,” Aunt Dorothy called back.
Lizzie set her bread dough to rise and turned her attention back to the ragout. She added the rest of the ingredients to the onions, added the pork back in and set it for a long simmer. She cut her noodles and set them to dry between floured towels. After stirring the ragout, she turned her attention to the coffee cream and chocolate ganache she would use to create a delectable tart. She rolled out her tart dough and carefully pressed it into a tart pan. She filled it with weights and put it in the oven for a pre-bake. Lizzie hummed as she worked and smiled to herself. Some may need retail therapy; apparently, I need culinary therapy.
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