It’s a terrible thing to ignore your gut instincts, though I’m sad to say this wasn’t my first time. There was the otherwise-engaged record store Rastafarian, a pair of overpriced, excruciatingly uncomfortable shoes I never wear (fine, several), and now there is this, too.
September, 2006 Archive
Monday night, Alex and I attended a bris. (It’s okay, I’m giving you time to Google it.) The mohel (go, I’ll wait right here) had a bit of a stand-up comedy act going on — “It’s okay, folks, there’s still five minutes to tip-off!” — as did the caterers — “Pigs in blankets? Is this really necessary?” “I can’t believe you’re eating a pickle, Debbie!” — all which did nothing to alleviate the excruciatingly uncomfortable excuse to see, well, just the tiniest, cutest little man on earth who has quickly shed that, well you know, kind of underbaked looked infants have when they’ve just come out.
I’ve been feeling kind of bewildered this week. It started when I asked my husband if he still thought the third year of marriage was an ideal time to try to make one of those little tiny things with roly thighs and he shocked me by saying yes, and it continued when I saw him, more than once, researching two bedroom apartments in the city. “How about Roosevelt Island?” he asked and I went to go rock in the corner for a while. Nooo Roosevelt Island, nooo.
Sometime over the last couple years — arguably, just as this carbohydrate castoff moment has crossed the American table, or more likely in subversive rebellion of it — I’ve become obsessed with baking bread. There’s something so elemental, primitive about setting bacteria loose in milled grains to feast! ferment! to their unicellular heart’s content, guiding it along with humidity and simple sugars and just when things can’t get any better for the little guys — Wohoo! It’s warm in here! — well, we off them so they’ll taste better for us. Hey, I said primitive, right?
I know that this is quite boring and stereotypical but I have PMS this week and my cravings come with, as my husband likes to say, “very specific instructions.” I wanted brownies. But, like every woman with a spastic relationship to her hips and, in turn their relationship the butter, sugar and 70 percent chocolate that makes our taste buds go round, I paused. And paused. How could I adjust my Very Strong Need for a bite of chewy, dense, bitter-laced homage to cocoa mass with my need for my favorite skirt to fit it my favorite way?
I got a real hoot (yup, said it) out of Molly’s entry a few weeks ago as her significant other and mine are clearly plucked from similar brine, that is, packed with a penchance for the pickled. (I’ll be here all week.)
One of the first big family events Alex took me to shortly after we began dating was a 55th birthday party for his father, no small affair, at a Russian restaurant. Course after course, platters arrived with pickled celery, lettuce and – I kid you not – watermelon to accompany the smoked fish, dumplings, caviar and all sorts of gamey meats. Do I need to mention the vodka? No, didn’t think so.
I find it funny now — what with my obvious fascination with stirring up soups aplenty — that a couple years ago I didn’t care for them at all. Everything about the taste of vegetables boiled in flavored water until their structures compromised made my stomach turn and to this day, even the liveliest minestrone invokes a bad memory of flavor-sapped herbs and formless noodles. Even those that came close to passing muster were so laden with salt, I’d find myself aching for a glass of water after a bowl of something that was supposed to be soothing.