This wasÂ the big weekend, the one where home changedÂ locations.
I keep trying to remember the day we moved out of our first apartment in this city, into a slightly larger, slightly quieter one four doors up the block. I can picture the movers — one in particular, who carried a very tall bookshelf on his back around three flights of curved stairs like it was a pocketbook. I remember our first night in the new place, marveling at how much of a difference four doors west could make for the noise level. Everything was so…quiet.Â But before I picture all of this, my mind skips two steps backward, to the day I moved usÂ intoÂ that first apartment, on the corner of a quiet street and a busy one. The apartment with the big bay window, the Formica counters, the incredibly-hip and not-totally-practical lofted bedroom, the wall I insisted on painting pink. Move-in day wasÂ just me – D was still in Michigan – and a pile of cheap furniture I’d found on Craigslist. One of the two front doors was stuck shut, so I spent the bulk of the day jamming the legs of various tables in the small front opening, then around and around that three-flight twisted staircase.
That was eight years ago. Since then, we’ve accumulated five moreÂ bottles of bitters (current favorites: Fee Brothers black walnut; Jack Rudy aromatic), and a pantry full of last year’s preservesÂ threatening to take away my canner for the season if I don’t use them up soon. And of course, now we’ve got our daughter, too. She comes with her own accumulation: books and toys andÂ tall stacks of hand-me-downs that could last beyond her first birthday. There certainly was more to pack and move this time around, which caused several nights of sleeplessness, 24 hours of mild turmoil, and lingering fatigue. But even more daunting than the actual move is the prospect of trying to hold ontoÂ memories from three homes.Â I don’t want to lose any of it.
Our kitchen has been dark for much of the past month, save for a couple meals over father’s day and a last-hoorah birthday dinner for our friend Jana. But before we shut down operations entirely, I cooked a batch of porridge from Ottolenghi’s newest book,Â Plenty More,Â for breakfasts.
In a week full of transitions, that porridgeÂ was the perfect thing. Comforting and familiar, like a good bowl of oatmeal. Fresh and intriguing, from fragrant marinated orange segments and a pile of sugary, crunchy sesame seeds. The new and the old, together. That is how we will proceed.