No one told me how much of life is just saying goodbye.
Because I was in a plane today, and then on a bus, and somewhere in between the two, I saw the ghost of my face reflected back at me. And I thought.
I'm not a child anymore.
I'm not a kid.
I'm not a even a teenager.
Maybe close to being a woman, but still so, so far.
(It is a long way, to being a woman.)
And I realized all over again, that my sandbox sand castle days, and the shallow end of the swimming pool, and pretend and not having hips and going to piano lessons with my brother and never doing laundry because my mom did it and dolls and falling in love with books instead of boys and not knowing about things like funerals and pain-- without knowing it, somewhere, I said goodbye.
And maybe it's because of that very specific goodbye, that I cling so fiercely to second chances.
Because I have to believe I will see you again.
Because I have to believe I will come back.
Because it's too hard otherwise.
And because, the thought of not eating the chicken and rice I had at this little place in Portugal, the thought of never eating that again completely undoes me.
To never eat that chicken and rice again would be tragic.
It would be the worst.
I cannot handle a reality which does not have a repeat of that chicken and rice.
So I believe in second chances and third chances and returns and surprise encounters.
I believe in circularity and the stupid/fun/funny part of life that makes for good stories and plot twists and romance and mystery.
I have faith in this.
I'm looking forward now.
Looking forward towards maybe being a woman someday. Sort of.
But more than that, I look forward to owning a long, rectangular kitchen table, that maybe I build myself. A kitchen table I build myself, with lots of candles on it. And there are all the people I love, who have come back and second-chance-miracle-surprised me, sitting at this table.
And then we will eat chicken and rice.
Chicken and Rice
From SmittenKitchen.com who adapted from Gourmet
This my darling, is the recipe I want to make when I get home.
3 large garlic cloves
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
2 teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled
4 chicken breast halves with bone, halved crosswise
4 chicken drumsticks
4 chicken thighs
3 ounces Spanish chorizo (cured sausage), skin discarded and sausage cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika, preferably the hot stuff, plus more to taste
2 Turkish bay leaves or 1 California
1 lb. tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 12-ounce. bottle beer (not dark)
1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cups long-grain white rice (14 ounces)
1/4 cup drained rinsed bottled pimiento or roasted red pepper strips
Marinate chicken: Mince and mash garlic to a paste with 2 teaspoons salt, then transfer to a large bowl. Stir in vinegar and oregano.
Remove skin and excess fat from chicken, then toss chicken with marinade until coated and marinate, covered and chilled, at least 1 hour.
Cook chicken and rice: – Cook chorizo in olive oil in a 6- to 7-quart heavy pot (12 inches wide) over medium-high heat, stirring, until some fat is rendered, 2 to 3 minutes. Add onions, bell pepper, and garlic and cook, stirring until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add cumin, oregano, paprika, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and bay leaves and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
Add chicken with marinade to chorizo mixture and cook, uncovered, over medium heat, stirring frequently, 10 minutes.
Stir in tomatoes, beer, broth, and rice and bring to a boil, making sure rice is submerged. [Deb note: I actually had a really hard time keeping the rice underneaththe chicken so that it would cook evenly. I'd suggest that you use tongs to temporarily remove the chicken from the pot, mix the rice in with the other ingredients in the pot, and then replace the chicken, pressing it into the broth a bit before going onto the next step. I will definitely do this next time.]
Reduce heat to medium-low, then cover mixture directly with a round of parchment or wax paper and cover pot with a tight fitting lid. Cook, stirring once or twice, until rice is tender, 20 to 30 minutes.
Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Discard parchment paper and bay leaves, then scatter pimiento strips over rice.
Do ahead: Chicken can be marinated up to 2 hours in advance.