Young love is jubilant and invigorating. If tended to properly, it flourishes and is productive; with age it quiets and grows stronger.
We have been together a certain number of years. We share joys and sorrows; triumphs and losses: life’s inevitable experiences. When we need to, we remind ourselves how fortunate we are that our life together is filled with much more of the good stuff than the bad.
We spent yesterday, Valentine’s Day, sitting in a dingy gray hospital room beside someone we love as she approached her death. A shiny red heart-shaped balloon, tied to the chair on a long, skinny ribbon, bobbed above our heads, the only splash of color in this muted room. Sorrow, hushed like her strained, breathy voice, resigned itself to the intrusive beeping of the ever-quantifying machines. Sorrow, weighty like the disease in her limbs, rested on our shoulders, slumping us into the hard vinyl seats of the visitors’ chairs.
Sharing sadness does not take it away, but it soothes us. It offers us respite and comfort. It is our warm bowl of soup on a bitter cold night.
Simplified Chicken Congee
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut in 1-inch chunks
1 cup long grain rice
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
½ teaspoon salt
4 ounces snow peas, halved
1/3 cup chopped scallions (green only)
- Heat the sesame and canola oil in a large pot over medium high. Add the ginger and cook, stirring, 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the chicken and cook without moving until it releases easily from the pan surface, about 2 minutes. Stir and cook until it is barely pink on the outside, about 3-4 more minutes. Add the rice, stir to coat, and add the broth plus 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 30 minutes.
- Stir in the soy sauce and sugar snaps; cook 1 minute. Taste and add the salt if needed; stir in the scallions and serve.
Makes 4 servings
Nutrition for each serving: 388 calories, 11 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 28 g protein, 42 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 623 mg sodium