Write whatever you normally write about, and weave in a book quote, film quote, or song lyric that’s been sticking with you this week.
One year at Christmas, my aunt made the traditional Christmas Eve lasagna, but instead of browning a mixture of ground beef and pork and adding this to the layers, she made tiny little meatballs. They were smaller than a cat’s eye cob, and contained all the ingredients of a real meatball: the ground meat, onions, garlic, cheese, egg, bread, parsley, salt and pepper. I was just a child, but she let me roll some meatballs too, from a mush of meat in a giant ceramic mixing bowl. She, and the half-dozen or so other Italian ladies, kept a close watch on the quality of my meatball-rolling, but mostly, they talked and laughed among themselves as they rolled cat’s eye cob meatballs, in a patois of Italian, English, and who-knows-what, that I mostly understood.
I wondered, why go to all this trouble, when it tasted just fine the old way, and took a quarter of the time to prepare?
The reason was, of course, the talking and laughing. The shared moment among busy women with jobs to go to and families to feed and illnesses to tend and crises to weather. This was a sisterhood of the kitchen. This was a clan of bawdy story-tellers, sympathetic ears, belly-laughers, and skilled hands.
Maybe the next time I make lasagna for Christmas Eve, I will make tiny little meatballs. I will invite the ladies of my acquaintance to help, and we will spend several hours together, around a table, and tell each other surprising truths, and gossip, and gently diss the men who are drinking wine in the next room, just like at my aunt’s house so many years ago.