WHAT I DID FOR TWO AND A HALF WEEKS IN WINTHROP: INCLUDES RECIPE FOR SALMON PATTIES WITH BASIL AND GARLIC

Salmon patties on red plateYesterday, I helped my friend Sybil pack and sort as she enters the final phase of moving from a condo to an apartment. Because my husband, Clif, and I are a one-car family, I had to take him to work so that I could use the car. On the way, I noticed a couple of new things—a portion of the road was torn up, and the Burger King was completely demolished. (Naturally, a new one is being built to replace it.)

“Do you know,” I said to Clif, “that I haven’t been out of Winthrop in two and a half weeks?”

He just shook his head and smiled. “If I didn’t have to go to work every day, the same would probably be true for me.”

Clif and I certainly are prime examples of homebodies. When I mentioned my two-and-a-half week stint to a friend, her response was, “My, Lord! What did you do?”

This started me thinking. What did I do in Winthrop—population 6,000—for two and a half weeks? Every day that it was nice, I went on a ten-mile bike ride, on a route that takes me by a shimmering lake where loons call to each other. Clif and I went to the town’s book sale, art show, and lobster roll luncheon, all of which I wrote about in a previous post. I went to an author talk—given by Sarah Braunstein—and to book group at Bailey Public Library. I volunteered at our local food pantry. I made bread for family and friends. I met my friend Barbara Penrod for lunch at a restaurant in town where the food is not great, but it is good enough. I wrote pieces for this blog, and I made good progress on the children’s fantasy novel I’m writing—Maya and the Book of Everything.

While I didn’t physically go very far, I kept in touch with family and friends via the Internet. I read about Ali’s garden at the blog Henbogle, and I got suggestions for good books to read from Nan at her blog, Letters from a Hill Farm. I traveled through various books to an unnamed city in England where the battle between good and evil is fought not only in a boarding school but also in families (Charlie Bone and the Shadow by Jenny Nimmo); to Pittsburgh where I followed an old woman through the seasons as she deals with aging, family matters, and the inevitable disappointments that life brings (Emily, Alone by Stewart O’Nan); and I explored the nature of “tick-tock” time and “time alive” in The Magicians by J. B. Priestley.

Then, of course, there was Irene to prepare for and the resulting power outage.

I even developed a couple of new recipes, one of which I’ll share in this post. This recipe—salmon patties with basil and garlic—came about because I had leftover garlic and basil mashed potatoes. I decided to make salmon patties out of them, and Clif and I liked them so much that we both agreed it would be worthwhile to make the garlic and basil mashed potatoes especially for the patties and not just because we had leftovers.

All in all, it was a busy two and a half weeks even though I didn’t leave Winthrop.

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Frying the patty