2012/08/09

Precipice (FFwD: Warm Scallop Salad w/ Corn, Nectarines & Basil)

Webster's Dictionary defines precipice as a "very steep or overhanging place".

It brings to mind images of cliffs, chasms, gullies, gorges and faults.

I am afraid of heights.

These things scare me.

On my way to work each day, I pass a historical marker for a place called "Wolf's Hollow". The sign marking the location reads: "A Fault And Displacement Of 1000 Feet In Earth's Surface Rocks. Here, In 1669, The Mohawks Ambushed Their Algonkian Invaders."

And if you take the turn and drive up alongside this fault and pay attention to the road you are travelling on - a steep and windy road with crumbling shoulders - you get a sense of the fragility of your position. One false swerve, a corner taken too fast - and into the chasm.



Right now, more than ever, I feel like I am standing on the edge of a precipice - getting ready to take a leap off the edge of life as I know it and into territory that I am not quite certain how to navigate.

The uncertainty of how to parent two young ladies who are on the verge of adulthood.

Navigating the fragility of life following the unexpected passing of The Dude's father last fall and the following Alzheimer's diagnosis of his mother.

Relearning relationships.

Adjusting expectations of myself and the world around me.

Watching the world around me change at a pace faster than I ever expected it could move.


Now, I don't mean to be "heavy Hattie" here - it's not all bad.

In fact, most of the time it's good.

There is a certain self-awareness and freedom that seems to have come at this stage in life.

I am just not sure how to run with it yet.

Somehow, on Sunday, something rare happened. Both girls were gone for the day and The Dude didn't have to be anywhere.

This is a rare occasion - as in a "once every few months" type of deal.

I think we were both a little lost.



The Dude looked over at me and said he had an idea.

"You got me, I'm curious."

He says "let's get lobster". At which point I look at him somewhat incredulously.

"Lobster?"

"Yes, lobster."

So we went to the store and bought a couple of two pound lobsters. Just. Like. That. A major splurge; but somewhere along the way, I realized that running with those crazy moments is okay; there was no need to check in with the "crazy idea police".


We made hasty preparations to prepare and consume them - the evidence of our clandestine feast had to be obliterated before the first child was due home.

Neither of us wanted to have that conversation. As a parent, you spend a lot of time encouraging your child to "share". We weren't modeling that particular behavior very well in those moments. Nor did we have to.

It was a bit of an "aha" moment for me.

There is life on the other side of parenting.

Who knew?

We tempered our meal with a starter of the warm scallop salad. The corn, tomatoes and peaches were from my weekly CSA allotment.

Corn, cut fresh off the cob was lightly tossed in a lime dressing. Ripe, juicy tomatoes were given the same treatment.

Scallops and peaches were seared in a hot pan (no, I didn't use the grill this time) - once the scallops came off the heat, a healthy dose of sherry was poured into the pan with the peaches and allowed to reduce until thick and coating the fruit.

Dabs of basil coulis were available for dipping.

Healthy doses of melted butter were available - for both the lobster and the peaches.

Oh, so good.

Now, I realize that not every moment moving forward can be a "lobster moment"; but I think the knowledge that "new realities" don't always have to be scary will go a long way toward allaying my fears about the precipice ahead.

Not every fall has to be a bad one.

Sometimes, the landing at the bottom is well cushioned.

This post participates in French Fridays with Dorie. Please visit the site for other blogged descriptions of this week's scallop salad. The recipe for this salad can be found here on Epicurious.com.

33 comments:

  1. Love this post, as someone speeding up on my own terrifying and exhilarating precipice. And as someone who also ate lobster tonight. haha. I applaud your impromptu lobster dinner. Charlie was so awful today that I'm daydreaming about the empty nest days. I'm sure I'll feel better tomorrow. :-)

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  2. Somewhere along the line, it was drilled into our primal dna that change is bad, change is scary. I don't know why that it is. Some changes are unavoidable (children growing up). Some *are* scary - a medical diagnosis you weren't expecting. Others keep life vital and interesting. Meaningful. I was contemplating a major change for about a year when I finally said last month, f it, I'm doing it. I don't know why I waited - it's been grand. The pieces have a way of coming together when one makes meaningful choices. (That sounds suspiciously self-helpy ... but another word isn't coming to me at the moment.)

    And yes, you two deserve guilt-free lobster. :)

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  3. Cher what lovely stories you tell each week. It's one of my favourite posts to read each Friday morning :) Though I AM disappointed that you didn't use your grill this week ;)

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  4. I just read a quote that said you can't have progress without change. But sometimes you just want those changes to be better timed and spread out to give you time to adjust to one before you're hit with the next!
    Love the lobster!!!
    This week's recipe looks delicious! I skipped it cos it's winter here and there are no nectarines to be found :(
    Looking forward to some season neutral recipes!

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  5. Change will always happen, yet it still surprises us. It takes us out of our comfort zone and that´s never easy to accept in the beginning.
    I had to skip this one, no nectarines and don´t like scallops. I wish I had peaches and was grilling them! You had a feast! The plate looks wonderfully full!

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  6. Oh Cher, a precipice indeed! The only thing harder than sending the first child off to college is sending the last! We're in another big change in our lives... Retirement. I'm going to look for 'lobster moments' in my own life!

    The warm scallop salad looks delicious!

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  7. Cher, I've decided that you will be one of my valuable mentors in life. You've reached that 'empty nest' point in your life and I'm quite interested in your future lobster moments with hubby. Why? Because I'm terrified of heights too and when the time comes for me to arrive at the precipice, I want to know that things are going to be alright (because I learnt from your life lessons). As for your salad, it looks magnificent and so glad you both enjoyed it!

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  8. Good Morning Cher! Yes there is life after parenting and the lobster is proof of that!
    Your feast looks delicious and just the thing to bring you solidly back down to earth;-)

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  9. A cute post - and love your plating.

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  10. Lobster - delicious:) Your salad looks terrific! Have a nice weekend.

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  11. Wonderful, insightful, and delicious! I don't have kids but I am turning 50 in a few weeks. How did I ever get this old? I don't feel 50 - people tell me I don't look 50 - but, I'm going to be 50! So, I hear you. I'm impressed you guys found a way to celebrate the moment!

    Have a wonderful weekend.

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  12. So many folks are new to scallops... I make them regularly. But lobster... never I can't handle the screechy sound they make when you cook them. Your meal looks fantastic.

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  13. I like how you plated your salad in a deconstructed way! Very avant garde!

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  14. Thank you for sharing your "lobster moment", Cher! So important to know how to sponteneously celebrate during the stream of moments in life -- something I almost forgot this last month. Thanks for bringing me back, you wonderful food friends!

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  15. haha, I hide out to eat certain things sometimes or we choose to wait for dessert until after bedtime LOL! looks great! including your lobster!

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  16. Great story and great looking salad! :)

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  17. Great post, Cher. It's good to know that there are "lobster moments" even in the most challenging periods of life. I wish I'd thought to pull out a bottle of sherry when I was pan-frying my nectarines tonight. That, and all the butter, must have put this dish over the top.

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  18. I love this post. It's funny how the older I get, the more I realize how little I know. Life gets richer and richer, but also scarier. I hope there's lots more lobster in your future!

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  19. Cher, Now that was "a big knot in the stomach" Post for me as well as giving me "been there, done that" memories. While the girls leaving the nest is what you all want and have been parenting toward for all their lives, it is unbelievable difficult for the Mother. Always. As Melissa and I crossed the state line from Iowa to Minnesota as I was taking her to St. Olaf to college, I started crying, pulled the car over and said, "You don't have to do this. You don't have to go to college." She looked at me as if it were another "Mother-is-out-of-her-Mind" moment, and it was. As for aging parents and death and sickness. As I learned the past 10 years, this is Life. Aging is not Kind. So, what you do, I found, is grab the "Lobster Moments", as many as you can and as often as you can and just enjoy the hell out them.

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  20. What an amazing meal and wonderful, sharing post! I feel as if life is a constant trek from one precipice to another. When traveling on flat land I now get anxious because I know another one is coming. The lesson for me in all of it is that is I now have the confidence required to survive them. :) Lobster is on my bucket list. Never made one!

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  21. Not every fall has to be a bad one - a wise thing to remember. Great post Cher! Three cheers for the dude and the lobster moment. My husband was just looking over my shoulder and wishing we had that lobster last night. He loved the salad but wanted more...

    My oldest is one year away from leaving the nest and out this afternoon in my car - how did that happen??!!!

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  22. Cher, believe me, it's difficult right now but you will find so much enjoyment as the girls
    go on. When Tricia went away to college, hubby and I had fun planning our visits and
    each and every event as time went on. After your girls finish, hopefully you will get a
    chance to enjoy traveling as much as we did. Oh! and by the way, the scallop salad
    looks great.

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  23. Cher, best of luck with all of the changes in your life. I'd say that the occasional lobster splurge is the way to take them on. I love your posts, I look forward to them every week. Your honesty about life and all that it throws at us is refreshing. Sending positive vibes your way to help you take on the challenges that you are currently facing.

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  24. I love this post Cher! That pic of the lobster is great and it's so nice that you got to spend some alone time with your husband - adding lobster to the mix is just the really delicious icing on the cake! :)

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  25. Cher, I love that you went with the lobster! Life does throw some crazy things at us, but it's nice when you get a chance to treat yourself!

    My, what a wonderful meal! So happy that you were able to enjoy!!

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  26. Even with all the bittersweet going on in your life, you still keep smiling. I loved your tale of sneaking the lobster and not telling the girls. The scallop salad for a starter sounds perfect to whet the appetite before lobster. Yum!

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  27. Cher, wonderful, just wonderful post, pictures, food, memories and all! Skipped this week but was busy posting about other things - on some days there is other things than food that are important to us! Have a wonderful week - I love the expression "Lobster Moment" and I know I will carry that around in my head for quite a while.

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  28. Cher, there are some awards waiting for you at my page!

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  29. Cher I know I said this before but I am going to say it again. I really enjoy reading your posts. Your words are ones that flow from the heart and that makes it so easy for them to find their way to every readers heart.
    Being someone who shares your fear of heights and is always told I worry too much for my own good when it comes to my kids (I declare a state of emergency when my daughter has exams and she is just 8!), I can only imagine how scary it is to facing the challenges that you are facing. However,from the short time I have been following you I know you are a strong spirit, I know you will make it through and with flying colors
    I wish your "lobster moments" will be many and frequent so that they will make the moments in between easier to handle

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  30. Cher, Lovely post! Lovely salad!! Glad you went for the lobster! Life on the other side of parenting can be very fulfilling and wonderful! Mine has been!!

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  31. Hmmmm, I think in my house husband and I are 'free-falling'. It's just as unnerving as the edge of the precipice. You see, the walk toward the precipice is where we are walking our kids toward adulthood, and the free-fall comes from our jumping (not theirs) when they suddenly stand and stiffen up their knees and refuse to hear us anymore (at least for awhile). Knowing we can't go backwards, we jump! We have yet to see the bottom.....

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  32. Lovely post, Cher!! Bravo on the "lobster" choice. I can never muster enough courage handling live lobsters :D

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  33. I really enjoyed your post. I also love the idea of cooking the peaches in sherry, and your very-fun presentation.

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