I’m thinking this morning about long lost books. My books. I have what is perhaps a peculiar emotional attachment to them. And I wish they could return home to their places, still waiting, on my bookshelves. Some of the books, I know, are well cared for and will return someday after their long excursions. The book from which I first learned to make homemade yogurt, or at least got the idea for it, is in the keeping of one of my friends now, and has been for about five years, for example. Others are gone. When we were living in Japan the first time, we bumped into a college classmate, someone I hadn’t known while we were students, but with whom we struck up an alma mater connection. He borrowed my favorite book, a slim little paperback volume of poetry that was long-since out of print. I hated parting with it, but I didn’t have the heart to say no when he asked for it. I tried to explain as I handed it over that it was… Interrupted promises of its safe return were made. Well, I heard that he had left the country a few months later and I said ‘goodbye’ to the book. When I saw him working at the copy shop in my office building years later, I think I barely said ‘hello’ before I blurted out breathlessly about my book. (In my defense, this was decades before online booksellers would make replacing such a book simple. Still, I know, freak show.)
I’ve always loved books. The year I stayed with my grandparents frequently, I would read in bed next to my Irish grandma, another reader. My grandpa drilled holes into the headboard of her beautiful birds eye maple bed to mount a little reading light so that she could read every night with proper light and without the inconvenience of reaching for a bedside lamp. We read, side by side, in peaceful silence, the nicest kind of companionship for reading, sometimes all night. The sun would appear, a glow would fill the room, and we would realize that we had done it again. On the weekends, I would stagger down after the long night of reading. My grandpa would be cooking, eggs or hash or slices of Spam, and he would make me a piece of toast and smear it with butter and orange marmalade. I wished on those mornings that I could suspend time and stay in the kitchen forever with them, that every day would be a weekend morning, my grandma sipping coffee and eating peanut butter toast and my grandpa eating his big breakfast as they chatted with me and each other. I’ll be thinking of them and missing them as I eat my sunshine-drizzled yogurt today. And missing my books, too, though certainly not the way I long for their company again.
My Honey Girl is a reader, too, and when my Dear Husband travels for work, she crawls into bed with me sometimes to read, until we’re both drowsy and dreamy and she returns to her own room. We’ll be able to do that next week, when she’s home from college for spring break. And I’ll bring her a little tray of breakfast in the morning and we can talk about the books we’re making our way though over coffee and eggs or muffins or her favorite waffles.
I used to make homemade yogurt the old-fashioned way when she was little, but I have one of those handy-dandy electric yogurt makers now, a little cheat. There are lots of good recipes for homemade yogurt online: here and here, for example. And here’s someone particularly devoted to the art of homemade yogurt. The recipe that I really want to share with you today is for the winter citrus syrup I boiled down this morning. If you made the candied winter citrus tart I made yesterday, you are minutes away from a rather heavenly breakfast and a little sunshine in a glass. It would also be nice poured over a stack of pancakes, maybe one that you eat while reading a good book.
Winter Citrus Syrup
Yield: about 1 cup of syrup
One batch of candied winter citrus (recipe here)
- Reserve the syrup that remains after you candy the grapefruit, cara cara and blood oranges, tangerines, meyer lemons, and kumquats.
- Bring it to a simmer over medium heat and reduce by about half.