Passion

 
Passion.
 A word readily associated with love, however you can possess a passion for just about anything. I had  a neighbor who had a passion for old cars. The rustier,  more broken down they were, the greater the attraction . He explained this to me one afternoon when I took a casserole dish of my homemade lasagna over for he and his wife’s supper. He was lying under this massive body of metal, working intensely,  after he just had pulled both of the family cars out of the garage to make room for his “project” inside. He explained to me that a new car doesn’t “need” love, but an old car does. Interesting concept, at least where cars are concerned, I suppose. “You really have to have a passion for restoration and the beauty of an old car to be able to see the end product underneath all of that rust and missing parts.” he said. Well, I totally agreed with him there. Obviously I didn’t have any “car” passion because what I was seeing was something that sat on four worn-out tires with  rust spots big enough for a small dog to jump through , and an engine that had 2,437 parts and every one of them was lying in front of us like a jigsaw puzzle on his garage floor. But, in the time I was his neighbor, I had seen several cars  go in that garage looking as bad, if not worse, than  this one and then seen him driving it down the road a few months later. He unmistakenably  had a passion for old cars.
I have a passion for the people in my life. Children, grandchildren, some of my relatives ( I know. I am painfully honest), my close friends, and a few “loves” along the way.
There is an old song’s lyrics that say something about, “ just the mention of his name makes everything alright again.” Gosh, I have known  that feeling. Haven’t you sometime in your life? When the sun wasn’t even shining and you felt the warmth from it on your face. Or the  passion of loving someone so much that it  makes everything in your life seem a little brighter and clearer. Or you’re standing in a crowded room and over in the corner you hear their voice and you can’t make your way to them fast enough and it’s been years since your first meeting. Have you ever loved someone so much that just the thought of them made a tear run down your cheek in happiness, and you brush it away, wondering if anyone close to you noticed, but you really didn’t care. That is passion. And it doesn’t have to be for a new love. It can be for an old love. And if you have experienced it, you are, indeed, a very lucky person. I am a lucky person. I have known this kind of love.
Last summer I watched an elderly gentleman, I am guessing to be in his late 70’s, open the car door for his wife over at the city park. As she got out of the car he took her hand and held it as they walked over to one of the glider swings under a shade tree. My heart melted as I watched this wonderful display of passion for life and  for two people who appear to have experienced it, and obviously still were.
I just know that there are people, both men and women, who are  reading this that are  saying, “ What the heck is she talking about?” and then there are those who are leaning back in their chairs sighing and thinking,“ Ah, I remember.”  Well lay this paper down, sit back and think about it for awhile. When was the last time you did something for someone you care about and it wasn’t a holiday or special occasion? If you have given up on passion, whether it be for a love or anything else that is or has been important to you in your life, then maybe you need a jumpstart to rekindle.
A passion for food is no different. I have mentioned to you  before that I absolutely love everything about food, from shopping for it, to the preparation and finally sitting it on the table.  I scan my recipe files on a weekly basis and I try to learn all I can about spices and flavors. I appreciate good qualities of meat and fresh vegetables. I look for bargains and try to utilize the farmers markets in the summer months. I spend a little extra time at the market comparing foods and thinking what I can prepare with them. And  I am always thinking of ways to “change things up a little” and add a new taste to something. Honestly I can say that cooking  food has never seemed like a chore to me, but rather an opportunity to work with something creatively. Some know me as a good cook. I treasure that acknowledgement, and willingly hand over the credit to passion.
 
Today is a hint rather than a recipe. A little extra care given to a common food with the addition of a tiny bit of passion, if you will.
When making salmon patties, sauté some red and yellow finely
 chopped bell peppers along with some onion in a skillet with a small amount of olive oil. Add this to your salmon with seasoned Italian bread crumbs and egg for a  delicious over-the-top salmon cake.
Fry like you would a hamburger and serve with yukon boiled potatoes ( with sour cream and butter) and  french style green beans
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