In the beginning, the goal was to pack at least one box a day, every day. That was when the move seemed so far off in the future that it was barely real to us. But now it is real– so very real! My office is a cave of cardboard stalagmites, rising from the ground, tall and fragile; they are precarious towers around which we have formed new and inefficient traffic patterns.
When I was in labor with my daughter, the obstetrician came into my room where I lay panting and moaning, and said, “This is what you want. The pain will pass, and then you will get exactly what you wanted.” (I don’t have to tell you the doctor was male.) It is true: all these years later, I can’t remember the pain, and every day I reap the beauty and pleasure that comes from having this nearly perfect daughter. (Can you tell we survived the teen years?)
My new house won’t be as great a prize as Rachel, of course, but it will be pretty darn nice. And the pain isn’t all that bad. As I pack, I sort through years of memories. There is the rolled up, yellowed piece of paper tied with a pink ribbon: I open it to find a poster of Rachel’s pre-school handprints. I found a lone red Lego tucked in the corner of a closet and saw Zak sat cross-legged on his floor building red, white, green and blue structures. I tuck the Lego in my pocket, not ready to let it go.
But mostly we pack. Friends come over and help. (Helping friends pack is even bigger than picking them up at the airport). We wrap delicate items in newspaper and cushion them with bubblewrap; we fit hundreds of cookbooks in small heavy boxes; I add those pretty blister-inducing shoes to the give-away pile and make a box labeled “Comfortable Sandals”. We pack our ten slow cookers, three ice cream makers, seven tart pans, and 14 sheet pans. Before we even start on the kitchen, where we have our every day equipment, we have filled 52 boxes with kitchen supplies.
In one week, we will move all these cardboard boxes into a lovely old Tudor. The new house will be filled with construction dust and dreams while we build our new kitchen– and also the new memories we build as we go through our every day lives.
And now, a nicely packed meal…
Salmon and Asparagus En Papillote
“En Papillote”, or in a packet, is the ideal cooking method after a long day when you want to eat well and have little clean up to deal with. Make these in your oven or on the grill– either way, they make a fast, healthful, and wonderfully simple meal. Simply place all your ingredients in a nicely sealed packet, and they form their own sauce as they cook.
4 6-ounce pieces salmon fillet
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon drained capers
1 pound asparagus, trimmed
1 cup grape cherry tomatoes
- Preheat the oven to 450F. Cut four 18-inch lengths of foil, fold each in half to form a crease and unfold. Coat the foil with cooking spray and place each piece of salmon in the center of one folded side. Place one-fourth the asparagus and tomatoes next to each piece of salmon.
- Whisk the lemon juice and zest, olive oil, salt, pepper and capers together. Drizzle over the salmon and vegetables.
- Place the foil parcels on 2 large baking sheets and bake until they are puffy, 10–12 minutes. Transfer a packet to each plate and cut open the top before serving. (Be careful when you open the packets: the steam can burn).
Makes 4 servings
Nutrition for each serving: 300 calories, 19 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 26 g protein, 3 g fiber, 423 mg sodium