Yesterday, right after posting the soup recipe, I got an email from a dear friend. It was to me, and a few other girls; we’ve stayed close since college.
She’d miscarried the night before.
At first, I stared blankly at the screen. I didn’t even know she was pregnant. None of us did, of course – it had been early, but it was still a nontrivial event, with doctors and hospitals and nothing at all happy.
I swiveled my iMac screen away angrily, like it was the computer’s fault, as the tears simmered up inside and seeped out, down flushed cheeks. I remembered my last conversation with her, when she told me how much she wanted a second child, and realized that when we talked, she must have known. She’d described a longing she’d never imagined existed within her, a need to bring company to her firstborn.
I put my elbows on my desk, palms cupping my eye sockets, so my fingers pointed straight upward, and sobbed, tears running down my forearms. I cried for my friend’s emptiness, and for the loss of someone no one ever knew.
This is not happening to her, I thought first, the one who wants it most. But as I calmed down, I found a few of those tears coming out of happiness, or if not happiness, at least relief. Miscarriage is all to often concealed, shuttered, hidden behind whispers, and this woman had the guts to come home from the ER, plunk herself down at the keyboard, and say Girls, this happened to me.
It is happening. It did happen.
And even though she doesn’t want phone calls yet, isn’t ready to talk, she’s made a step I think so many women never make: She’s reached out. I know she’ll always carry a sadness I may never really understand, but damn, the girl makes me so proud. In this little circle of women, at least, miscarriage will not be a dirty word. It will be part of life, part of what makes us appreciate each day, and part of what makes us so important to each other.
I wanted to celebrate and be lively with our pals from out of town, but all night, part of me held back, mourning with my friend.
When I opened my refrigerator door to start dinner, I could only see bitter and sour flavors. The first of the season’s Meyer lemons caught my eye, and they jumped into everything – the sprouts, the salad dressing, and even the potatoes, the first of the fifty-pound potato haul. It was like I was trying to taste her pain, just to dilute it a little for her. I made the lamb I’d meant to make the night Friendsgiving intervened. It was all delicious, but I just didn’t taste the way I normally do. I had a hard time enjoying it.
I woke up this morning thinking of her, and her husband, and their little boy, probably quiet in their home back east, feeling as colorless as today’s Seattle sky.
I also woke up sick.
I tried to speak, and I couldn’t. My eyes were swollen almost shut, my throat ached, and my nose was full. When I opened my mouth to interview someone over the phone an hour later, my voice was low and hoarse, a scratchy, unpleasant bark totally unfit for Tuesday’s reading.
Now, I’m hitting my miracle mix (hot Meyer Lemon tea, made with honey and a sprig of fresh rosemary) hard, hoping the concoction will coax my vocal chords into a more pleasant range.
I’m healing with each sip, and hoping somehow, three thousand miles away, my friend feels it, too.
Roasted Rack of Lamb with Sage-Pecan Crust (PDF)
Recipe 316 of 365
If anyone tells you rack of lamb is difficult to cook, they’re lying. It’s only difficult to buy. But once you get it home, wounded though your pocketbook may feel, it doesn’t take much. Crust it with a simple mixture of breadcrumbs, meaty pecans, and chopped fresh sage, and you’ve got as fancy a main course as anyone ever needs.
TIME: 10 minutes prep
MAKES: 4 servings
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage (lightly packed)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt salt, plus more for lamb
Freshly ground pepper
1 (1 1/2 pound) rack of lamb (Frenched)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Mix the breadcrumbs, pecans, sage, and 2 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil in a small bowl. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and a good grinding of fresh pepper, and blend well with a fork.
Coat a rack of lamb with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Place the lamb fat side-up on a baking sheet or on a roasting rack in a pan, and press the crust into lamb, on the fatty part and on the bones. (It’s okay if some of the crumbs fall to the bottom of the pan.) Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the crust is nicely browned and the lamb measures about 130 degrees on an instant-read thermometer (for medium-rare). Remove from oven and let rest 5 to 10 minutes before slicing into chops. (Be sure to serve any crumbs from the pan along with the chops.)