Fleur-de-Elixir

John, my buddy at work, spends much of his computer time checking out rooftops on Bing-cam or what ever it’s called, so I’m not sure how he came across this, but he did. “Here’s one for you,” he shouted from his office to my desk. “A cure for arthritis: 1-cup hot water with 2 tablespoons honey and one teaspoon of cinnamon. One cup a day for two weeks and it’ll cure your arthritis.”

I went home that night and tried it. I mean, how bad could it taste? A little cloyingly sweet and the residue of cinnamon at the bottom of the cup darn near choked me (yes, I went overboard on the cinnamon), but all in all, not bad. One night does not two weeks make, but I awoke stiff and sore. Then I remembered I spent a good 45 minutes shoveling snow off the driveway and walks…

The following weekend, I attended a class called Creating Herbal Concoctions: Honeys, Elixirs and Syrups. I signed up for the course weeks before in anticipation of the mid-winter blahs. When is that groundhog supposed to show? I didn’t know I would feel the onset of a cold a day later.

We stripped bark, diced white pine needles, stirred stems and roots, and chopped thyme into raw honey simmering in a water bath. A little bit of this, a little more of that. The thyme acts as an expectorant; the white pine, relieves pain, adds vitamin C, and is also an expectorant; Echinacea stimulates the immune system. It seemed like a witches’ brew, but boy, it smelled like heaven.

A jar of the concoction came home with me. I spent the next four days fighting the cold, sipping tea made from the herbed honey, and the next four days nursing the cold, with more of the herbed honey, and I was back to my healthy self.

Then, at The Waffle Shop of all places, I was flipping through a newspaper and found an article about the benefits of starting each day with a hot cup of water spiked with lemon juice! If I took all of this advice, I’d soon be floating into spring.

But if there is a magic elixir anywhere, I’m betting on ravioli.

Someone has to answer the phone when the office clears at noon, and that someone is Laurie. So, I often dine alone in the lunchroom from 1 to 2 p.m.

On Monday, I was eating leftovers when Anthony walked in.

Now Anthony is one of those rare souls who must have been born downright sweet. I’ve never known him to be anything but pleasant and upbeat. He has a way of coaching me on Excel or explaining the redundancies of material submittals in a gentle, non-demeaning way. Yes, I’d say this even if we weren’t related. His grandfather and my grandmother were brother and sister but because of our age difference (30 years or so), I didn’t get to know Anthony until I started working with him a year and a half ago.

While on his lunch break, Anthony stopped in to see his childhood buddy, Pasta Bob, the owner of Fasta and Ravioli Company.  Bob and his kitchen staff were experimenting, cutting out pink ravioli hearts by hand, carefully spooning a three-cheese filling on one heart and topping it with a second. Anthony was in awe. Minutes later, he returned to work carrying a plastic container. He walked into the lunchroom and told me the story of his visit, and then slid a beautiful pink ravioli heart, still warm from the shop, onto my plate.

My first half-thought was, “It’s too pretty to eat,” as I dug my plastic fork into the pink noodle. “Oh, I should have taken a picture,” was my second fleeting thought as I scooped up another mouthful. Delicate and tender, it vanished without a trace. Ah, thank goodness for St. Anthony!

P.S. I returned to Fasta and Ravioli Company and told Chef DJ the story. He was gracious enough to give me a second chance for a photo. Happy February! Laurie Lynch

Ravioli Hearts

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