Full and happy

Los Angeleno by birth, Northwesterner by choice, Second-hander by nature. Librarian, housebound chef, father, and lowly subject ruled over by the needs and whims of a very old house.
Partial to Mexican, Italian and Vietnamese cookery but will eat damn near anything. Collector of many strange things..the result is chaos and anarchy and a very pleasant place to live.
There is pleasure in accumulation, not just "collecting": music, books and film, in all their multi-formated glory. Outsider artists and those kinds of prints you would recognize if you took liberal studies classes in college. Cooking implements and gadgets for recipes still untried or those ventured. Glasses for most types of libations. Flowers in the garden, herbs in the pot.
It's a life of the senses and a good home life reflects that. Walking helps take in all the rest. Requires no special equipment, opens up the pores, brightens the taste buds, clears the decks for further adventures, puts on the miles, widens the eyes and helps fuel the imagination.

Live boldly, play graciously and love with all your heart knowing that true love comes only once or twice in this lifetime. Speaking of which..donde estas, Empress of my Heart?


"Lack imagination and miss the better story" Yann Martel

"Life is a great adventure and I want to say to you, accept it in such spirit. I want to see you face it ready to do the best that lies in you to win out. To go down without complaining and abiding by the result....the worst of all fears is the fear of living." Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.

"Not I - not anyone else, can travel that road for you
You must travel it for yourself" Walt Whitman

And above all, friends should possess the rare gift of sitting. They should be able, no, eager, to sit for hours-three, four, six-over a meal of soup and wine and cheese, as well as one of twenty fabulous courses.

Then, with good friends of such attributes, and good food on the board, and good wine in the pitcher, we may well ask,

When shall we live if not now?

-From Serve it Forth,
M.F.K. Fisher

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Cooking with Jane: Don't piss off the cook!

It was a cornucopia kind of cooking weekend. Food fairly flowed out of that kitchen of mine. Chalk that up to one cancelled trip, a couple nice grocery runs, a wealth of wine in the basement and bunch of cookbooks dying to be used. The weather helped quite a bit, that's for certain, for rain and wind and uncertainty made being inside a cozy and practical thing to do.

Not that The Boy and I didn't get in our walks or our errands. There was just enough sunshine and just enough cash flow to make that part of our weekend easy, fun and necessary. But eating well is necessary, too, especially when your heart is heavy, your mind is preoccupied and cooking becomes the only way to banish the demons from the house.

Worked out pretty much okay. The demons were pretty much held at bay right up until dinner time Tuesday night. That's when they rose up and snapped at The Boy for lollygagging. Too bad for him. He now is in charge of dinner dishes for life. But I am getting ahead of myself.

It seemed that the whole weekend was about groceries or shopping or cooking. Friday after work was a major store run, and in ended with a nice run in with a big pan of pork chops. Saturday, chock loaded with meaningful runs out in town to banish the ghosts of road trips not taken, started off with homemade french fries with garlic and parmesan and Cajun spices. Our travels took us out and about but brought us back home in time to whip up not just one but two extra large homemade pizzas.

Sunday was a better day, no shadows or misdeeds coloring our good fortune, just a good walk, a bit of yardwork well done, and nice round of Mexican food pulled off with aplomb. Monday seemed to be more of the same...a high level of enthusiasm getting work done, for curry and for pulling off a wet, late afternoon walk. There was even energy left over to pull off a poundcake recipe found in Donna Hay's The New Cook cookbook. Yup, thank goodness for Hershey's kisses. Who needs frosting when you can let the cake do the melting for you?

Monday. Ah, Monday. Coffee in the morning, a nice antipasto for lunch. A nice bit of experimentation with roasted herbs and chilies that resulted in a firey adobo sauce. A bit more time and patience resulted in a grand pot of Boston Baked Beans and a even bigger pan of scalloped potatoes for dinner. A quickly simmered pot of peas rounded out the menu. Nice supper to be had all the way around.

But tired was a word that was going round and round in my head that needed to be fully examined and experienced. There had been too many other words spread around that weekend about weekend drives not taken, too many talks about cats not purchased, too much worry about money. Too many nights in a row where waking and reading and movies took the place of sleep. Too much disappointment about not even seeing a bit of your shadow about. So what did I do when The Boy failed to answer the dinner call? I fumed, pouted and went upstairs to read and listen to music. Left him to eat his supper alone. Then came downstairs and came down on him hard for blowing off his one basic duty: the dishes. Pure silliness, but there you go.

So, I ate a bit humble pie with my coffee for breakfast this morning. That and a big bowl of leftover curry and rice. Love that homemade curry powder. Love that whole homemade thing. So lunch, what do want to eat for lunch? Maybe pork chops marinated in adobo sauce? Maybe a nice reprise of last night's dinner? Maybe I should just quit wearing myself out in the kitchen and try my hand at "boily" bags and microwaving for awhile? Only kidding there, Jane, only kidding!



Donna Hay, The New Cook: Pound Cake

Reed Hearon, La Parilla: Adobo Sauce

Betty Fussell: I Hear America Cooking: Bean Town Beans

James McNair: The New Pizza Book: ideas

Sunset Magazine, October 2008: Petco Field Fries

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