take the long way home

June 4th, 2017

There’s no place like home, even if it is Kansas, but only when you know where your home actually is. What determines ‘home’? Is it the place you were born or the place of your childhood? Is it your college town or the city you work in? Is it wherever you are or simply the place you miss most? Is it where we leave our hearts? If the latter is true, I’m spread rather thinly across five continents, and yet the heart beats on.

When I left Russia in 2001, I headed back to New England, where I’d spent my first eighteen years. I still don’t know what inspired that odd return ‘home’, because the important people were dead and friends of long ago scattered to various and unknown corners of the region. I drove by the house of some friends of my parents. Their name was still on the mailbox. I drove past the house three times, slowly, and never knocked on the door.

Now I’m in yet another former ‘home’, Virginia. Numerous people have said, “Welcome home!” and I’m puzzled briefly because I’m not sure that it is my home. Nevertheless, I’m quite happy to be here and immediately set about doing the thing I’d always done when residing here once before: entertaining. Today’s familiar guests enjoyed an appetizer spread with two clear stand-outs, Country Ham Pâté freckled with fresh mint and Candied Jalapeños spiked with lime zest. Lip-smacking, home style.

Country Ham Pâté and Candied Jalapeños

Country Ham Pâté and Candied Jalapeños

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