Food is a natural prop for this writer. It sets the scene. It elicits emotion. It’s the remedy for a broken heart. It’s a celebration, a bandage, and a vehicle to connect characters.
In Maggie’s Way, second grade teacher Maggie Abernathy spends a lot of time with pesky, seven-year-old Chloe McIntyre. They bicker. They bond, and yes, there’s food involved. When Maggie and Chloe bang heads and Maggie needs stitches, why wouldn’t there be Triscuit crackers involved? They have sharp edges! When the girls commiserate, Maggie’s got the pizza man’s number on speed dial. And after a tough day, who doesn’t want Rocky Road ice cream?
Food brings us together. It bridges relationships. It feeds hope and understanding. It’s a reason to gather around the table. In Maggie Abernathy’s case, table time is her opportunity to make new friends and embrace the past so she can live in the present.
When Chloe’s life seems impossible, Maggie breaks out a special menu…Diner Dinner for Downer Days: grilled hotdogs, homemade fries, and milkshakes.
Another one of Maggie’s favorite menu options is Lemony Shrimp Scampi with Orzo and Baby Spinach. This one doesn’t require antacids or an extra workout. (The original Food Network recipe can be found at https://bit.ly/2JgfuNg.)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add 2 cups orzo pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite. 6-8 minutes. Stir occasionally. Drain and reserve 1 cup pasta water.
Whisk together and set aside:
1/3 cup olive oil
Zest of 2 lemons
½ cup lemon juice (from zested lemons)
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
In a large skillet, heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add 1 large chopped shallot and cook until soft, 2-3 minutes. Add 1 pound thawed, peeled, deveined shrimp, salt and pepper. Cook until shrimp turn pink, 2-3 minutes. Remove shrimp from skillet and increase heat. Add ½ cup dry white wine, baby spinach and baby tomatoes (you choose how much). Scrape up the brown bits as you stir. Cook 1 minute until most liquid is evaporated and spinach is wilted.
Add the cooked pasta, shrimp, and vinaigrette to the skillet. Toss until all ingredients are coated. (Add reserved pasta water if needed to loosen the pasta.) Transfer to a large bowl and serve.
Literary or living, break bread, indulge, refuel, and fill-up for the next part of the journey. Regardless of what’s served on the platter, don’t forget the secret ingredient…love.
Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Linda!