IN MAY 2011, I wrote about being uncomfortable with the whole “We are Egypt/We Are All Egyptians” thing that seemed to be happening in Spain, Wisconsin, and wherever there was popular media coverage of uprisings.
In the wake of the Newtown, CT tragedy, I’m finding I’m still uncomfortable with the “We Are All XYZ” sentiments. It isn’t the same sort of discomfort, of course, as the two situations are wholly different. But it is still a feeling of something not being right, of trying to reduce an action to something fathomable and relatable–of stripping something essential away from a moment in order to commodify it and translate it.
That isn’t precisely right, either, but I find I’m lacking words for this. How is one supposed to react to such an horrific tragedy? I can’t imagine the pain of those families and of that community. I’m not a parent, and I can’t imagine what other parents are imagining as they send their children to school.
On some level, I think that’s the way it’s supposed to be. There are private moments for grieving, and we should not be a part of them. It’s for those families affected to grieve and do what they need to survive, and it’s for the rest of us to work on ensuring something like this does not happen again.
MFK Fisher once commented that, when she wrote about food, what she was writing about was much grander than a plate or a heavy table:
It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it and the hunger for it … and then the warmth and the richness and fine reality of hunger satisfied … and it is all one.
It makes sense to me that loss is accompanied by food, and that when one basic need has been absented another must stand in its place.
Kale & Haloumi Savory Tart
Parmesan Pastry Crust (from Not So Humble Pies)
- 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 oz grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 stick unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
- 2 Tbsp ice water
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- 4 cups kale, washed and coarsely chopped
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 small onions, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup haloumi cheese, chopped into bite-sized bits
- 1/2 cup half-and-half or heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp salt
For the pastry crust, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and cheese together in a large bowl. Add the chilled butter. Rub it into the flour mixture with your fingers, pinching the butter into pebbles until about 30% of it is pea-sized while the rest is well blended. Add the water and vinegar, and mix until the dough forms a rough ball. (If need be, you can add more water, a few drops at a time, to make the dough grip.)
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape it into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. It can keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.
When you’re ready, remove the dough from the refrigerator. Give it about 10 minutes to warm up before rolling out on a lightly floured surface and readying it for your tart (or pie) pan.
Preheat oven to 375F. Roll out the pastry crust and place in a tart pan. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the kale and stir to submerge, and cook over high heat for about 3 minutes, until the kale is tender but still gorgeously green. Drain and set aside to drip dry.
Heat the oil in a pan (or use the same pot, to save on dishes). Add the onions and garlic and saute over medium heat until they’re just turning golden, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, salt, and half-and-half. Add the haloumi, kale, and onions. Stir to mix, and pour into the tart pan.
Bake for about 40-45 minutes at 375F until the center of the pie is firm and lightly golden. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes, and serve.