The little girl sat quietly at the table, watching intently. She knew that this show was for her and her alone. None of the other kids would remember what happened today. They would later think back on this day and recall the corn dog that was the size of their head that their little brother swiped from them, or the bright pink flowers that their mother bought and then put into a vase in the kitchen, or the clown that took a balloon and twisted it into a little dog with a puffy tail. They might think of the smell of the kettle corn popping, the smoke of the bratwurst grilling greasing their hot skin while they sat at the picnic table, or the cool refreshing stream of water down the back of their throats after drinking from blue plastic bottles that their parents seemed reluctant to shell out the cash for.
It seemed the little girl was not even in the same market as the rest of the kids. She was not in a market with carnival noises and mini doughnuts. She was too busy studying, carefully, taking note of every move, to notice the fair like atmosphere. She was going to be a chef someday. She was to cook in front of audiences and she was going to do it well.
It was the same look that I saw yesterday on a little boy who had waited eagerly for the slam poetry competition to begin. He wore a black bandanna on his head, and an unstylishly stylish pair of nerd glasses. He wore a set of headphones around his neck and had a tape player in his hands, which stuck out like a black squirrel in the snow and distracted me from hearing his question when he approached the counter. I was cleaning up from the previous demo, and trying to set the stage for the poets, whom I had only just learned were coming to perform.
“Are the poets here yet?” said the small, inquisitive 11 year-old boy.
“I’m sorry, who?”
The boy looked a little upset at my response, as though fearful that they may not actually be coming.
“The poets..for the Slam poetry. Are they here yet?”I shot a glance around. His desperate voice was so sweet that I wished I could make them appear at that very moment.
“I think they are coming” I said. Soon a lanky group of 20 somethings with 1960′s haircuts came sauntering in.
“Yo we are here to present you with our lyrical charm. Where do we set up.” I looked at the kid, whose black bandanna matched exactly with the leader of the slam poet crew. He looked as though he wanted to jump out of his chair and tell the poets every joy and pain that has ever beaten him off course in his entire 11 years of life. It was precious.
This was the same look that I saw in the little girl, whose brown eyes lit up the moment the woman began demonstrating how to make a health shake with zucchini. She hardly blinked until the demonstration was over, at which point she gingerly approached the counter to ask the woman if she would be back next week.
In a large frying pan, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil. Add 1/4 tsp salt. Add 3 cups sliced, quartered zucchini and squash, 2 cloves minced garlic and 1 Tbsp butter. Cook until zucchini are tender and brown (if your pan is too small they won’t really brown, you want just one layer of vegetables on the bottom)
Have ready 1/2 box cooked penne pasta. When the zucchini is done, mix with the pasta and add some diced basil. Dress with leftover creamy herb dressing from the Universal salad made a few posts ago. Serve warm or cold (if you serve cold, revive with some black pepper and 1 tsp red wine vinegar)
Creamy Herb dressing
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup basil
1/8 cup sorrel
4 mint leaves
1 garlic clove
1 tsp sherry vinegar
Christina’s vote: “Somewhat bizarre”