If any thing could tear me from my at times maniacal devotion to small spaces, walk-up apartments, crowded sidewalks and our crystal rattling at 11:30 p.m. on a Sunday while the stench of hot tar seeps in through our leaky windows because the City decided this would be a good time to repave the avenue below, it would be the suburban pastoral longing for a backyard garden where I could grow tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and herbs.
Tell me I’m not alone in this: You saw Ratatouille, fell in love with Remy (though you still jumped a foot in the air when you saw a significantly less-charming rodent scamper across your path on the way home) and found yourself with a pressing craving, not for the heavy and too-often soggy traditional Provençal ratatouille, but that kaleidoscope of spiraled colors they served to the haughty and (spoiler!) soon-humbled restaurant critic.
Here in the Northeast, where our winters get frigidly cold and our summers are known to snap into the high 90s for days on end, I have a somewhat sinister theory about the weather, and that is that it’s mocking you. It’s waiting for you to snap and when you do, it has a hearty laugh at your expense. Bust out the ski jacket, 20-foot scarf and Gore-Tex accessories the first cold day in October? Snicker, snicker. Sink down in front of the a/c with a bag of ice on your forehead the first 90-degree, 100 percent humidity day in June? Imagine the sun’s Mr. Burns-ian cackle, muttering “excellent.”
Despite the fact that it takes some kind of crazy to cook a separate meal while embedded in preparing a multi-course meal for a dinner party, yet another night of take-out — even from my beloved Kitchen Market — seemed unbearable last night, and seeing as it was the first night of Hanukah, it was only appropriate to make a batch of latkes. But tradition is so boring, isn’t it? Thank goodness for Food & Wine’s deliriously enticing latke-vodka party (this is the second year in a row I am kicking myself for not having one — 2007 Deb, get on that!), pairing them with the wasabi cream topping, the suggested accompaniment for the sweet potato variety. Awesome, awesome. We skipped the caviar and what-not on top as only one of us would have loved that and it was not the person standing over the stove, tra-la-la. It all went perfectly with a lightly-dressed napa cabbage salad and, you betcha, a hefty glass of wine.
I am the last person on the internet to join the Cute Overload train; I mean, I get it, it’s cute. I love cute, you love cute, cute makes the birds sing and the sun shine and the world go round and tra-la-la. I get it. But man, oh man. Sometime in the last two weeks it hit me like a ten ton truck and people, the cute is killing me. I can’t breathe sometimes, the cute is so strong. I’m tag-surfing snorgle on Flickr, sputtering nonsensicals like “piggle snorgle tiny mouf action ohmy gah! Gah!” when Alex asks me how my day was. I want to take bites of the cute, but I know, I know I’d bite down too hard and take a piece out of the ear. When she added an “I shall leeck you” category it was about all the precious I could take and I had to let Alex in on the Overload, my new time-sucking Internet habit; Alex, who like any man with two eyes pulse, quickly found the Cats ‘n’ Racks and let’s just say, it is not just my redonk little habit anymore.