The air has become humid this past week; welcome to summer in full. The screened porch continues to be delightfully breezy and cool however, a haven in the late afternoon, but the early mornings are my favorite time on the porch. I love the soft rustle of the trees in the morning breeze, the quiet symphony of bird song, and with luck, baby bunnies frollicking on the lawn.
Inspired by a beautiful bunch of French Breakfast Radishes, one morning this week everything seemed to align perfectly into one of those fleetingly precious moments which are greater than the sum of their parts. Radis au beurre, hardboiled eggs, coffee, memory, dreams of how the people we love shape the people we become, and the promise of spring and early morning. It is hard to put my finger on it, and yet it was perfect.
I never ate radis au beurre growing up; it was George's memory not mine. He would reminisce about the year his mother, his sister, and he spent in Paris before coming to America, about the American School where his mother was hoping he would get a head start in English. It was at school he first had radis au beurre. He would tell me about thick baguette's spread with sweet butter and topped with thinly sliced radishes, how he had never had anything so comforting and yet exotic at the same time. Radis au beurre symbolized a moment of joy hidden within the turmoil of the time before and after, between leaving Vienna and getting settled in America, a time of promise.
I am afraid I thought the combination of butter and radishes sounded weird and not at all appealing, strange considering that I grew up eating a lot of things some of my school friends would have thought odd to say the least. But eventually radis au beurre became our tradition as well, an early spring treat celebrating the first bunch of those lovely French breakfast radishes. But those traditions were long gone and I hadn't thought about it for years until these radishes appeared in my CSA bag.
There is no baguette in my version of course. Instead I used toasted Udi's gluten-free bread, the deli version that I buy at Jason's, which seems fresher than the frozen grocery-store variety, toasted because gluten-free bread is better toasted. There is still sweet cream butter, and thinly sliced radishes, and they form the perfect combination of soft crunch of bread, creamy butter, slight piquancy of the radishes: crisp and soft, chewy with a touch of crunch, like the soft morning breezes and the crisp air of dawn, a perfect combination.
I realized that somewhere in the process I had made my own tradition of welcoming spring, morning, rebirth. Like the combination of toast, butter, and radishes, traditions that were separate from me have been melded into my own traditions, just as people who have shaped my past live stil in my heart and guide my future. Each morning is something new, crisp with promise and yet soft with the warmth of history and love.