Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Battling the grand entrance complex

Why is it that after some time away, there is always pressure to return with something extraordinary? This first happened to me when I came back from Europe; I felt an obligation to make impressive, sweeping statements about my experiences, about food, and probably a whole slew of other discoveries, all existential-like. If this pressure went by a name, it would be called The Grand Entrance Complex, and it would occupy a place in the medical books right between OCD and perfectionism, in all likelihood. It’s all silly, though, really. Which is why I’m going to start small.

It’s been about two weeks since I’ve last visited, and since then I’ve plowed through a few novels, an unapologetically dense book on historical theory, and woken up to an SUV sitting cock-eyed, right outside my window. (More on that later.) In short, I’ve had a lot of things taking my mind off of food these days, but I have managed to come up with a few new favorites. So, then, here we go, my November favorites:

1. Pumpkin Spice Tea

Fantastic. Especially when it is served, loose-leaf, in a brand new cute little café where I live. The café bravely sits on our main street, like the new kid in school with the fancy stylish clothes. You see, while I’m sure there was a time when our main street was actually, well, main, its pretty weathered these days. But new-kid-on-the-block status aside, I would go anywhere for this tea. Find some, or visit Willimantic, and drink it with honey and just a splash of milk – it couldn’t feel more like fall.

2. Planning trips to New York with Pete

Fine, this one is sort of more of a year-round favorite. But in my defense, our plans rarely materialize, so the fact that we’re actually going this weekend (this! weekend!) lands it smack in the November favorites category. We’ll spend two and a half days eating really, really good food and trying to walk it off. What more could a girl ask for?

3. Roasted Pears

…Just when you thought my cooking-time this month had been limited to drinking tea other people brewed and dreaming of meals other (New York) people will make. There’s a feature on pears in the New York Times this month, and it inspired me to turn on my oven. I just coated a few halved Bosc pears in sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, and a touch of nutmeg and let them get all slouchy for about 40 minutes under 350 degree heat. I’m still working out the sugar amount, and next time I might try using some vanilla. It’s a work in progress, but it’s also ridiculously adaptable. Until I figure it out, try it, and let me know what you did. Then, eat one or two, while sipping pumpkin spice tea, and daydream about gallivanting in New York: Perfect. Fall. Day.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Too long...

It’s been a while. I’m sorry about that.

I certainly haven’t been holding up my end of the bargain, I know. Today, I got a voicemail from my mother suggesting that I do a blog post on a Portugese kale soup she made yesterday. She is, after all, my perpetual cheerleader. I was thankful for the idea (I take them wherever I can get them these days), but after a brief smile and a bit of stomach rumbling, I realized that it has been a bit too long since I’ve been here.

Don’t be mad – it’s not like I’ve been eating like a queen and hiding all the recipes from you. That’s not it at all. Actually, I’ve been very close to eating my own hand from all the stress of school. And you woudn’t want to read about that, would you? How I ate my own hand? That’s, like, cannibalism. See where my mind is these days? All over the place, that’s where.

I promise to come back, and stay back, soon. Even though I’ve taken a break from spending evenings over the stove, my list of dishes to make has been chugging right along without me, so I’ll have to start back in on it before it gets so big it needs its own room in my apartment, which it can’t have, because we don’t have near enough space.

For now, I’ll leave you with a pretty picture of the sky, which to me, feels optimistic, and carefree, and decidedly not stuck inside writing papers in the library. I hope to be back soon, hopefully with a Portugese kale soup, and hopefully with a clear head.