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surfing the questions and DIY lemon curd

2017 May 22
by Rachel Turiel

Up to our puppy-fostering tricks again.

Rose and I are out doing errands, bustling in and out of the car with lists and bags, my mind clamped on things to remember like mantras that could derail my life if I lose the thread. Pickuplibrarybooks. Meanwhile Rose is sharing every thought particle that touches down in her brain. It’s like mental athletics, watching my own thoughts bloom and get knocked off course by her next flurry of questions and observations. Right now she’s telling me that she really wishes the word pecans was spelled peeCONS, because that’s how she likes to say it. I am wondering if I need three more cups of coffee or three more hours of meditation.

“Do you think they’re married?” Rose wonders about two white-haired ladies walking into the grocery store together. “They have the same hairstyle,” she says by way of explanation. I am considering a response while Rose has already turned the page of her mind. “I can’t decide if I want to get both ears double pierced or just one.” Dropboxesatthriftstore.

Pushing the cart down the aisle, she observes, “it would be hard to have smaller arms than we do.”


“I’ve noticed that I want to help so much more when I’m happy,” Rose tells me, packing broccoli in a plastic bag. She spent two hours the previous day in deep sadness.

“Why do you think that is?”

“Because when you’re happy you have everything you want.”

“And then you have enough happiness to help others?”

“I guess. Also, now that Nana bought me flip flops I have all the shoes I need.”

“Awesome!” I reply with silent but fervent gratitude to the gods of enoughness. May they visit frequently and stay long.

Lemon curd with white sugar.

Lemon curd with coconut sugar.

Sometimes being with Rose is a little like surfing. When I can put my attention on the wave of her latest question, we can ride the swell of her beautiful mind together. I can drop my agenda and paddle with her into the current where she shows me the exact reflection of her ten year old mind. Other times, I forget what I’m doing, miss my turn, lose my mantra, sense my space collapsing, choke in the undertow.

On the way to a party, I tell her I’ve never been to the house and I know nothing more than the address. Absolutely nothing.

“Will the party be outside?”

We’re back at home, making our second batch of lemon curd. Between squeezing lemons and stirring lemon juice Rose wonders, “What did Col read before comic books?” And, “Is Daddy ever going to shave his beard again?”

Sometimes the questions don’t need answers, they just need space, to be set free, to evaporate into the field of our kitchen, where lemon curd is thickening on the stove; the sourness makes itself known, while the sweet undertones are what remain. Rose’s questions are nothing to fear, it’s actually just her finely-tuned mind filtering through waves of sensory information. We spoon lemon curd into our mouths, savoring the deep, full richness of the yellow treat, and of life.

Enormous lemons from Tucson.

LEMON CURD – Makes 1 cup plus few extra “taster” spoonfuls


1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1/4 – 1/3 cup sugar

3 egg yolks

4 TBSP butter, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces


Whisk lemon juice, sugar, egg yolks until smooth in heavy-bottomed saucepan, off the heat. Once whisked, place pan over low heat and whisk butter into the mix, one piece at a time until melted. Once melted, turn burner up to medium-low and keep whisking. Simmer and whisk until curd has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon – about 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat. It will continue to thicken as it cools. Store in fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Same photo as above, before the judicious cropping.

Don’t forget to remove the seeds.

Whisking briskly.

9 Responses leave one →
  1. Ring Stafford permalink
    May 22, 2017

    First of all, there is no way that lemon curd lasts 2 weeks in my house — it’s like organic crack. You’ve inspired me to mix up a batch right now!

    Secondly, your conversations with Rosie are much like mine with my 92-year-old auntie Jean Marie. I just grab my surfboard and enjoy the ride, and try to keep a general idea of where we are. It’s kind of liberating, don’t you think?

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      May 22, 2017

      Yes, it can be very liberating, especially if you have no other agenda in the world. Last night we were watching a very exciting basketball game (tied; finals; 2 minutes left) and we had to actually request that Rose hold all questions until the game was over. It was excuciating for her to hold back the running horses of her questions for 120 seconds.

  2. May 22, 2017

    Oh my. Yes.

    It IS a beautiful thing to listening to them all verbalizing their unique world, especially-like you said-if you have no other agenda in the world. (Though the all-the-time-ninja-train-I’d-like to jump-off-of.)

    This is life here times three. Plus my own random talking brain. Thank God my husband doesn’t feel the need to process everything aloud.

    I’ve been alternating kids helping me at the Farmers Market. That hour for set up was (WAS) the quietest hour of the week for me and helped to gear me up to be ready for the verbal onslaught of selling. That’s gone. Hahahaha! So if you see me wandering lost in the stacks of the library with an utterly glazed look on my face, don’t be surprised.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      May 22, 2017

      Yes, it’s a processing of everything aloud.
      See you at the farmers market!

  3. Joanie permalink
    May 22, 2017

    Dearest Rachel,

    I am admiring you all the way from the front range where we landed almost 3 years ago after leaving Durango. I LOVE reading your blog and always learn something about something from it. Mostly I am reminded of a wonderful mother that I admire and respect and am so glad was able to spend some of my life with.

    Rock on sister!


    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      May 22, 2017


      Sniff sniff. Feeling nostalgic now. Lovely to hear from you and wishing you big joy.

  4. May 22, 2017

    perhaps on your podium of Best EVER’S!!!!!

    feeble ilg bows…






    head bowed,
    { }

    ps: need to get Dewa’s writing from your writing class today! she REALLY in-Joyed it! would love to read it !

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      May 22, 2017

      She was taking big risks in her writing today. Jaws dropped when she read her story, followed by an outburst of clapping.

  5. Andrée permalink
    May 23, 2017

    Thank you, thank you! From a processing-aloud-momma who loves her processing-aloud-daughter. I just need to keep the car between the lines sometimes. Your words help so much!

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