I have not found a predictable rhythm in Quarantine Life. I have not been able to make sense of the days and nights and weeks. I wake, bouncing from one thing to another until at the end of the day there are more things on my Do List than on my Done List. Each member of my family is on a different schedule, sleeping, waking and eating at different times. We fell into this syncopated, irregular pattern of life quite quickly and I can’t find a way to stop it. Music theorists refer to irregular rhythm as Irrational Rhythm which actually seems like a more fitting name for what I’m experiencing.
Before, each of us had been racing along the train track of our lives, barely taking time to see the view out the window. Our calendars were filled with deadlines and responsibilities. Our phones kept pinging with texts and emails. Our alarm clocks rang out when the sun had not yet crested the horizon. We were caught up in the proverbial Rat Race.
Suddenly the train stopped. We looked at each other and took a deep breath. That was 6 weeks ago. Before long the train started moving again, more hesitantly than before, but still forward. Moving slowly, the bumps on the tracks are now more noticeable and jarring. Stumbling over them creates an undercurrent of rumbling in my head that has become an irregular baseline rhythm to my days.
I don’t like irregular or irrational musical rhythms. I like the predictable, soothing and steady beats of chamber music. I also like silence. I seldom get either now. I find myself searching for silence and searching for a predictable rhythm for my mind to rest upon. The middle of the day is the worst, as my family goes about their business, on the phone, on Zoom, watching tv, playing music, banging in the kitchen.
Fortunately, I am a morning person and I’ve found that is where I can rest, awake, wrapped in a blanket of silence. That is the time I can hear the rhythm of bird songs or the gentle hum of the refridgerator. That is also the time I can hear the voice in my head, and in my soul.
This morning, in the silence of my sleeping house, words poured out of me onto the page. Words I will share someday when they have ripened but that right now are too green to swallow. They still taste sour in my mouth but I know in time that will change.
So, instead of sharing those words, I’ll share a recipe and a glimpse at my breakfast. One of the joys of my quiet early mornings is creating my breakfast from odds and ends that make a meal for only one person. This morning’s delight is a bowl of Tuscan white beans with a hard boiled egg.
Tuscan white beans are a super easy and pantry friendly recipe my family loves. It is also very forgiving and adaptable. Two nights ago I made it with a 14 ounce can of white beans and about 14 ounces of frozen fresh tomato sauce that was taking up precious room in my freezer that I needed for something else. It was super easy! I poured the thawed tomato sauce along with the drained and rinsed beans into a saucepan. Setting the heat to medium I put on the cover and let it cook for a few minutes. Once bubbly I turned the heat to low and let the fragrant mixture simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring periodically. About half way through I stirred in 2 tsp poultry seasoning. (see recipe at the end)
The result is delicious on its own or as a side to roast or grilled meat which brings us to this morning. The batch I made created 4 generous side dish servings. Since we are a family of 3 that meant one serving was leftover. Lucky me! Breakfast is served, a delicious and healthy bowl of warm beans and a hard-boiled egg. Now before you American readers turn your nose up at the idea of beans in the morning, I encourage you to remember the traditional full English Breakfast. It consists of a bountiful plate filled with bacon, fried, poached or scrambled eggs, fried or grilled tomatoes, baked beans, fried bread or buttered toast, and sausages. Quite rich and heavy for every day dining, but certainly a treat when placed in front of you before setting out on a day of sight seeing in London as I fondly remember.
So, my humble bowl of beans and egg does not sound so odd now, does it. Well, maybe it does, but I encourage you to try it anyway. And if you are not ready to eat it for breakfast, I promise you will enjoy it for lunch or dinner.
Tuscan White Beans – Tidbits Style
Makes 4 side dish servings
1 14 ounce can of white beans, drained and rinsed.
1 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes or fresh/frozen tomato sauce
NOTE- to feed more people, or make it less tomatoey, use a 2-1 ratio of beans to tomatoes.
2 tsp poultry seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste.
Pour the tomatoes along with the drained and rinsed beans into a saucepan. Set the heat to medium, cover the pan and let cook for a few minutes. Once bubbly turn the heat to low and let the fragrant mixture simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring periodically. About half way through stir in 2 tsp poultry seasoning. Add Salt and Pepper to taste before serving. Enjoy!
Till next time. Stay happy and stay healthy. Peace be with you!