These are some moments. Some winter moments in the mountains from Colorado to Tennessee. A silhouette of my father and I on a chairlift. A cabin morning with some of my favorite folks, Christian of 1924.us & my dear friend Ruthie Lindsey—with whom I’d share just about anything from a bed in a little cabin to secrets, heart aches, work, and ridiculous, effervescent joy. I’m pretty sure she lowers my blood pressure. Which is, at least figuratively, high. And then the last mountain weekend, a weekend spent with my soul mate overlooking the river our lives have both run parallel to. A brief weekend during which I expanded, collapsed, did very little at all, made oatmeal and some of my favorite savory suppers, and walked away anew. The mountains heal me. They always have, snow peaks to log cabins. This is farewell winter, ever again shall we meet. And this is soon, soon (though it snows here senselessly and maybe even spitefully) hello to spring. But for now. Here are some moments. And a recipe for milk oatmeal with salted candied bananas. Because it comforts me no matter the season. And because aren’t we all hungry?
The first night at the last cabin I sat next to my other half (he’s the one in the aviator’s…the one with the dashing camera is Christian, to be clear). The water churned hot around me, steam rose. I wore the bikini, the high waisted one I never got around to wearing last year. I drank a kombucha like a beer, brown in its bottle. The water it was hot. And dark. It was dark and cold but the water was so warm and bubbling and all the lights in the valley they were there far below, the sky inverted. And I panicked. I’m relaxed. This is so perfect. I’m relaxed. I feel good. Why don’t I feel good? This is perfect. I should feel good. I’m relaxed. I’m relaxed. I’m…I can’t breath. So I spoke. I spoke of it. Of what he dubbed my “pathological inability to relax”. And it is so. Generally so. And all in a moment I let my face crack through apologies I’m sorry I don’t want you to have to deal with this. I’m fine. I should be fine. And I cried in a whirlpool, the air crisp in the mountains and the valley lit up. The stars out. And as soon as I wasn’t ok, I was okay. Something so heavy wasn’t heavy. And I felt great. I cried and felt present. I didn’t think about to do. I just thought I have to take care of myself & sometimes I get so tired. And so I was tired. I sat in his lap. It was slippery. I laughed through my tears I’m crazy it’s true. He kissed my face. And the air was cold. The water was warm. And the valley—inverted stars electrical aglow. It began to rain, only a little, and felt good.
In the morning I made oatmeal with milk and salted, candied bananas. I’ll tell you how. It’s not hard. We walked during the day, and mostly sat for nothing. There was no internet. My cell phone was dead with no charger. It was good. It made me nervous. But it was good. For dinner I made things I like to make: saffron clams with orecchiette, rapini, burrata, and crispy bits of proscuitto. The next night I made farro with dandelion greens, golden beets, and a poached egg. I cooked just to cook. I don’t do that as often as you’d think; it’s work a lot of the time, and sometimes I miss cooking for no one but us. But it’s worth it, to share. With you. I’ll share those recipes one day, probably. Maybe even early next week. No promises, but I might just be having a little get together with Ruthie this weekend featuring those clams and that farro. And chamomile panna cotta? Maybe. So much maybe! They weren’t really recipes though. Just garlic and oil. Salt. Fresh things in pots. Intuition and a splash of white wine. At night we watched Portlandia and The Big Lebowski (which ranks among my favorite films of all time up there with Star Wars), and we went to bed early in a loft across from a yawning picture window that played the river valley view day to night on repeat. The next morning, oatmeal again. This time with apples because I was out of bananas. And then a drive down the mountain. Everything was, in the parlance of our times, cool.
what I’m wearing—pants: Imogene + Willie; shirt: cloth & stone; hat: vintage pendleton; woven leather shoes & leather backpack: vintage; anorak parka: nasty gal (this one is kind of like it); sunnies: madewell
- 2 cup whole milk, cow or goat
- 1 cup oatmeal
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
- 1/4 cup maple syrup (I'm obsessed with Noble)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 banana, ideally almost completely ripe but not quite, sliced on a bias
- 1/4 cup sugar (I used demarrara)
- 1 Tablespoon of butter
- pinch of good, flaky sea salt (essential)
- almond slices for sprinkling (optional)
- Bring the oats and milk to a boil. Reduce to a simmer; add the cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt; and cook about 5 minutes or until the oats are tender and most of the milk absorbed. Add the maple syrup to finish.
- Meanwhile fry up your bananas. Srinkle the slices liberally on both sides with sugar. Melt the butter in a skillet. Turn the heat to med-high or high (depending on your stove) and fry them until the sugar is melted and they're golden brown. About 2 minutes per side. The sugar will candy on the outside, leaving the banana warm and creamy on the inside. Lightly sprinkle the fried slices with the flaky salt, and top your oatmeal with them. Add almond slices if you like!