Tuesday, May 29, 2012

on laura

I don’t have a sister, but if I did, I would choose my friend Laura. I love everything about Laura, her enthusiasm, her smarts, her ability to make people feel at ease, her sense of humor and her lighthearted nature. If we were sisters, I’d get to see her over the holidays, and on family trips and we’d call each other on the regular. Although there would also be the typical in-fighting and tension and rivalries that sisters share, so maybe we wouldn’t even like each other as much.

Laura lives outside of St. Louis and I flew there recently for a girls’ weekend. The timing happened to be almost ten years since we met as interns for a magazine in Birmingham, Alabama. We spent those golden months taking weekend trips, eating Southern food, meeting guys, drinking too much and wondering what we were going to do with our lives post-internship. I had a semester of college left, but Laura had already graduated and quickly scored a job as a business reporter in Arkansas. Which seemed as far away from Florida, where I was living, as the moon.

I have a very clear memory of the night we said goodbye. I drove away from the house she was renting, winding around the pitch-black back roads I had learned to navigate over the course of many trips to see her. It was an emotional time in my life for many reasons, mostly due to being a girl in her early twenties, but I felt like I was leaving behind the best person I had ever met. Truly.

As I drove away, there was an old Wilco song playing in my car's CD player and when Jeff Tweedy sang “What’s the world got in store for you, now” in his sweet, scratchy voice, I started crying. It's funny to think about now, but at the time, it felt like a minor tragedy. I didn't know what the future held for our friendship or anything, really.

At that point in my life I couldn't imagine that we'd travel to each other's weddings, meet up for dinner in New York, share more silly times in St. Louis. And ten years later I’d be sitting on Laura’s back porch, thumbing through magazines and drinking wine, just like we did back then. There was no reason to cry, we would stay in touch, we would always be friends.

But if we were related, we’d get to sit next to each other at Christmas every year.

This is a food blog, right? I should tell you about what we ate. One night we stayed at her family’s condo, which overlooks a big, beautiful lake. The setting was so lovely that we could have just ordered pizza, opened another bottle of wine and called it a night. But Laura likes to cook too, so we cobbled together a respectable meal from some ingredients we picked up at the farmer’s market and a local seafood store that her family loves.
There was a nice cheese plate, a beautiful little smoked salmon steak, some sweet sautéed shrimp, and a salad of tomatoes, baby greens and goat’s milk feta, all from Missouri. We cooked the meal side-by-side in the condo’s immaculate kitchen, chatting and drinking champagne. In the middle of a conversation about Friday Night Lights and Tim Riggins’ hotness, I looked out on the lake and had a “I am present and happy in this exact moment” moment. When else would I get to do this again? Maybe never. Or maybe in ten more years.

The thread that tied our meal together was a spicy, salmon-hued remoulade that Laura made the night before and packed away in her cooler. It is addictive stuff, as good with seafood as it is with snap peas and radishes. I imagine it would be killer on a sandwich.

She acted as if it was no big thing, but it takes a certain type of person to remember to make and pack homemade remoulade when going on vacation. Who does that? Laura does, and that is why I love her.
Laura's Remoulade
(Makes about 2 cups)

1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp. paprika (smoked paprika, or regular)
2 Tbsp. coarse ground mustard
1 1/2 Tbsp. Worcestshire
2 Tbsp. horseradish (creamed-style)
1 large clove garlic, diced fine
2 shallots, diced fine
1/4 cup roughly chopped parsley
Juice of 1/2 large lemon
Dash of hot sauce or Sriracha

Combine all the ingredients in a medium sized bowl and stir until smooth and combined.


Laura said...

So humbled by your words. Love you, lovely Lisa. And for the record, you'd be the best sister a girl could ask for.

Anonymous said...

Is Laura a mystery shopper now? Turn around, Laura and make us smile! We love you, too.

Sarah from 20somethingcupcakes said...

Laura sounds quite fabulous. Love this!

E L James said...

Laura it looks as if you have quite a fan club.

Daniel said...

Once it was boozing and cruising, now it's Tim Riggins and homemade remoulade. Where does all the time go?

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