Seeing as my parents were spending the afternoon at my apartment on Sunday so I could pilfer content for my site from their recipe box, I figured the least I could do was make them some lunch. And although it is not quite soup weather yet, I have not been able to get my mind off of a recipe I read recently, so soup it was.
I’ve had a minor fixation with Israeli couscous, the larger, more pearl-like variety of couscous, since my first year of graduate school. A friend of one of my housemates who was working as a live-in nanny-slash-cook for a wealthy family in Bethesda, brought over some leftovers from the family’s dinner and what was this? This smattering of white polka dots through a tangle of greens and vegetables? You call it couscous, too? Why has nobody told me about this before!
I hate clutter. You might think that this means that I live a Type A sort of white glove test-passing existence, but anyone who knows me can vouch wholeheartedly that I do not. Because I’m lazy. But every so often (er, 28 days or so) I go on a cleaning bender and purge and sweep to my heart’s content. My inboxes get Bit Literate, absurdly insignificant things get vacuumed (dusty ledge around the walls of the apartment, your days are numbered) and things cluttered in this ever-expanding document called “to blog” get purged, well, onto your screens.
I have an affliction of sorts; no matter how fantastic, transcendent a recipe has been or how much I’ve sung it’s praises from the high mountaintops, I almost never make it a second time. I thought I could blame this website, always pushing me forward and urging me to try new! different! shiny! things, but who am I kidding? I’ve always been this way. Though I always say I’m just looking for tried-and-true recipes to laminate, frame, and keep forever, those that will never fail you or me so that I can stop looking, it’s not true. I’m still looking. I’ll always be looking.
Notorious egos and generally making a spectacle of oneself kinda bore me, so it’s little surprise that I don’t share many New Yorkers enthusiasm for the orange clog man himself, Mario Batali. Sure, I’ve watched his Food Network show dozens of time and even found myself humming along to his opening music, yet all of this brouhaha around Del Posto as the ultimate embodiment of foodie excess has nauseated me. Even if I had the spare change for a $90 rack of lamb, I’d never spend it there, or on that, no matter how great those party-favor breadcrumbs are. So, it surprises me as much as it may you that I’ve eaten there not once, but twice in the last month, and loved every last bite of it.
One thing I have heard a lot of since I launched this site but six months ago is “I just don’t know how you find all that time to cook.” And while my typical response is that “Oh, well I don’t have a life so that makes it really easy,” and I’m only a little bit joking — my office is 13 blocks from my apartment, I rarely work past 6:30 p.m., I tend to wake up hours before my husband on the weekends, eager to fiddle with recipes that would otherwise be too time-consuming, and I don’t have the energy or the liver to go out many nights a week anymore — the truth is that aside from making some fresh pasta with about two pounds of wild mushrooms two Sundays ago, I haven’t cooked dinner for us in weeks. And I hate it.
I don’t know if the name for this affliction is procrastination–hey, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least, she says, eyeing the sinkful of last night’s dishes–but when I need to get things done, I have this bad habit of doing them either right-that-very-moment or pretty much never. When I return from a vacation, I either get every single thing out of that suitcase and into its proper closet or hamper within twenty minutes, or it sits on the floor of the bedroom for weeks, as it has since we’ve returned from Charleston. I return a garment I’ve changed my mind about the very next day, or it sits in a bag, as has a certain Banana Republic blouse, for six (cough, eight) months, my husband looking pointedly at it and then back at me often enough that I just downright ignore that too. Once something leaves my short-term memory, it may as well be lost for good, but in recipes at least, today I am on a rescue mission.