Yesterday, Mr. Magpie and I celebrated our seventeenth wedding anniversary with a stroll through the farmers' market in Deering Oaks and an afternoon of cooking together. It seemed only right since on that very day seventeen years before we cooked all the food for our own wedding. Well, it took more than a day--and lots of help from friends and family--but we did, indeed, cater our own wedding. And my Aunt Jan did our flowers, and my uncles took our photographs, and loads of people we love lent their talents to making it an extraordinary day.
So last night it was a joy to cook for my mother and sister and our nephews. At the center of the meal was a steaming, heaping bowl of mussels cooked in white wine and olive oil with garlic, hot pepper flakes, and a handful of chopped parsley. And of course there was plenty of bread for dipping in the broth.
Dessert was a pavlova--one of my very favorites: chocolate and raspberry. The recipe is a Nigella Lawson one, and it couldn't be easier. If you can't eat wheat, this is a perfect recipe for you, as a pavlova is essentially a giant meringue with cream and fruit on top. It's not a dry, chalky meringue, but a wonderfully chewy one with lovely, bittersweet chocolate bits folded in. I topped the whole thing with edible flowers from the farmers' market. If you're worried that your kids might not like it, I can tell you that my nephews ate two helpings each, ignoring all silverware in the process.
I want to say something wise and profound about marriage to close this post, but when I look back over the past seventeen years, I feel neither wise nor profound, just fortunate. My husband is funny and smart and kind, and we both have one very important trait in common: curiosity. Whatever else is difficult or challenging or stressful, we hold onto this tenaciously. It makes every day new and makes the best of our dreams possible.