Random Questions about Tomato Paste

Tomato-Paste-000015558426_MediumHave you ever wondered why tomato paste comes in cans of 6-ounces, when every recipe calls for 2 ounces?

I never use the remaining 4 ounces, so I always put all 6, the entire can, in whatever recipe I am making. Yes, it changes it, but it seems so wasteful to keep two-thirds of the can in the fridge to darken and waste away, ultimately to be tossed in the trash.

So I use it all. I go the distance. I elaborate on a recipe.

I’ve never gone awry from this approach, you know. It works. Perhaps because I expect it to.

Unlike our recent northern Michigan vacation. I think three trips in 10 days is just too much for one Midwestern woman. First, an overnight in Grand Rapids for work, followed by a delightful stay alone in a hotel on the river.

A few days later, I was off to San Diego, again alone, for four days of restorative time – learning about manifesting, deepening my sense of self, jogging along the bay in the early morning, loving my alone-time in the big king bed.

And so, when the kids came back from their other parents’ houses over February break, we packed everyone up in duffel bags and stuffed the car full of ski attire and equipment to head north for a few days.

I can ski. I'm actually quite good. But I was shaking on the chair lift and again at the top of the slope. It is just not in my comfort zone. I've faced that fear and yet it remains.
I can ski. I’m actually quite good. But I was shaking on the chair lift and again at the top of the slope. It is just not in my comfort zone. I’ve faced that fear and yet it remains.

To be fair, I am not a skier. Yes, I can, and no I do not like it. The last time I skied was B.K. – before kids – and I distinctly remember not enjoying it very much, though I was good at it. I remember coasting down the slope and remarking to myself in the winter wind and silence of the snow that my life would be fine without another glide down the mountain.

But my kids wanted to ski – well, two of them did. And so we drove north.

I didn’t start the vacation with the most optimistic perspective, to be sure. And so I guess it makes sense that I did not love it.

The kids, did, though. Asher skied as much as he possibly could. Shaya conquered his fear of heights and soared over all the green hills and one blue to boot. I got back on the slopes and did just fine – but really, my fear of heights loomed large.

The power went out throughout the village the first night. That was fun. The kids were in the heated outdoor pool at the time. We went to bed in the near-dark, waiting, hoping, for the power to come back on, which it did.

There were other things going on, swirling around us in the energy of six people thrown into two small rooms for three days straight. I don’t know which had the most impact – perhaps it was the lack of fresh fruit and vegetables that far north, the emphasis on meat and potatoes, the raucousness of my children, the going-going-going of my last ten days.

Is it any wonder that the power went out throughout the resort and village after such a whirlwind week and a half? A reset?
Is it any wonder that the power went out throughout the resort and village after such a whirlwind week and a half? A reset?

Who knows.

So when we drove home in the warmest February day I could remember, I was eager to be home.

Home.

That place that is familiar, where your bed is what you chose at the store, where you can make choices that make you happy.

Surely, you can do that when you’re somewhere else, but not as easily.

Today, I strolled through the grocery store aisles, excited to add fresh ricotta, honeydew, radicchio, and yes, the beloved 6-ounce can of tomato paste, to my cart until it was piled high by the register. When I got home, Dan and I stood side-by-side in our kitchen, with Neil Diamond radio on Pandora, chopping three red onions, a head of cabbage, the radicchio, four celery stalks, four carrots, and six garlic cloves to make soup.

With the tomato paste. A 28-ounce can of whole tomatoes and their juice. A can of cannellini beans. Salt, pepper, a little sugar. Vegetable broth and hot water.

It’s really good. Soul satisfying. Soothing.

Home sweet home, wooden text on vintage board background with coThe reassuring kind of warmth of a hearty rooted soup you slurp in winter.

I made it myself, alongside the man I love. Last night, as we laid in our familiar bed, we talked about love languages and reveled in being home together, just the two of us in one room.

It’s time to be home.

It’s always good to go away, to see the world, to have adventures. And I’m glad we went.

But I sure am glad we’re back.

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