birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Good Salt

Good salt, good olive oil. A pepper grinder and a chef's knife, a swivel peeler. A pot for oatmeal, poaching an egg. A pot for carrot soup, or zucchini braised in butter, or spinach with dill and rice. A saute pan, a strainer. A store of grains (rice, millet, oats). A store of red lentils, white beans. Flour in a tub, brown sugar. Garlic and shallots and onions. Mortar and pestle. Cumin, coriander, mustard seed. Dried chiles. Sourdough rye sliced up in the freezer. Yogurt or buttermilk.

Just now, okra smaller than a pinkie finger, from Bill's Farms in Tonasket, or collards from the Skagit Valley. At other times, asparagus, or kabocha squash, or garnet yams. Eggplant. Raspberries. Mushrooms. Soba noodles, and that firm tofu from Vashon. Miso. Sake. Cheddar cheese. Rye crackers. Lemons. Peanut butter with a little honey in it. Rooibos tea loose in a jar. Blue teacups. Spoons that feel good in the hand, a little heavy. Raisins, walnuts. Cutting board, sheet pan. At least five silicone spatulas. Cardamom, cinnamon, clove. Jar of mustard, jar of capers, jar of fig jam. Deep bowls, shallow bowls, small plates, stemless glasses for wine.

Avocados. Olives. Good food, the appetite to eat it, the presence of mind to prepare it. Having the evening open, or the afternoon, or enough time between the gym and work to make breakfast; having some groceries in the house, and not yet being ravenous and distracted. Timing is essential, hunger is essential, some ratio of curiosity and sensuality and the capacity for delight is essential.

Outside In: Meditations

Essential To My Life