Shanks for the Memories

Last week my wife and daughter embarked on a five-day trip to Florida. During their absence, I found myself penning journal entries to my wife, mainly lingering on memories of our dating relationship. Many of those nostalgic vestiges centered on events occurring during the cold months of late autumn when, the Monday of Thanksgiving week in 2009, we began dating, to February 2011, the month we were engaged. At the very end of last week during a Saturday visit to the Farmer’s Market, I found the inspiration for the three course meal that would great the family Sunday evening upon their return.

Desiring to “eat the seasons,” the meal would consist of braised shank of Cheviot lamb (harvested this summer from Dundonald Highlands), accompanied by sides of parsnips whipped with Manchego—a Spanish sheep’s milk cheese—and beer-braised purple cabbage. A handful of pomegranate seeds would serve as garnish. As an after dinner drink: wassail, a mulled English spiced hot cider with cranberry juice and oranges.

Preparing dinner took the better part of the day. Dusk fell, the meal had been prepared and the table set. My wife and daughter were still a few hours away. To pass the time, I took a walk on the wooded college campus near our home, stumbling on the chapel that my wife and I visited on the night of our engagement. As I entered, the college choir was rehearsing service music. The last two pieces I heard before leaving were the same as the opening and closing songs from our wedding service. A longing for home drew me away from the remote chapel, and I meandered back to greet my bride and to enjoy an unforgettable domestic homecoming feast.

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