Monday, August 1, 2011

Without form and void

One week. I've been home for one week. The whole Earth was created in a week.

I really do miss Glacier. More than any specific scenery or hike, I miss the sense of isolation and solitude, both physical and temporal, that being in such a tremendous, breathlessly gorgeous place brings with it. Getting away for ten days is a big deal. There were times on my trip that I would think about something from work or some personal issue that might have weighed me down while I was at home. Instead of worrying about it, I just said to myself--I am in Glacier National Park right now--and the thought left my head with no further consideration. It was bliss.

A lot of the time that's what cooking does for me; it just feels good to come home from work, home from lab, from the Excel spreadsheets, from the constant clicking, from the papers hanging over my head, to sit back and to get lost in kneading some pasta dough or slicing some tomatoes. Here are the past two months of my life: apartment hunt, travel, pack, unpack, pack, travel, unpack--and not only are all of these things individually stressful, but they also make it hard to find time to sit down with some ingredients in the kitchen and really start on a project, or even to work my way through my old comforting standards, foods that don't just make me happy when I eat them, but also make me really happy while I'm cooking them.

True, we did cook for ourselves a lot in Glacier--in fact, I forgot to upload this picture of Jeff demonstrating how to toast corn tortillas over a bunsen burner--but that felt more like eating out of habit than really cooking something. By the time we left for home, I was ready to get back into the kitchen and into the swing of things.

So since I've been back I've been making a conscious effort to start re-learning some of my old standard dishes as well as putting together a few more complicated things. The other night I fried some brussels sprouts with soy sauce, made some socca batter, and threw together a pizza crust. The brussels sprouts for dinner, leftovers for lunch. The socca for breakfast. The pizza crust left to ferment overnight in the fridge and then topped with prosciutto and melon, basil and tarragon the following evening. That was a relaxing night.

I made rosemary focaccia or something like it on Saturday night heading into Sunday morning and that was pretty excellent too, both turning out the dough into a cast-iron and then tasting the crunch that formed as it baked in this hardy vessel. Served alongside some Tuscan scrambled eggs that Jeff made (not pictured; no offense to Jeff but there is no way to make soft scrambled eggs look good in a photo), we had a geographically confused but gastronomically satisfying Sunday brunch.

Most of all, I'm glad that I'm getting back into cooking just in time for August, which is totally the best month in the world--ripe heirloom tomatoes, bright herbs, melons heavy with the sun, perfect peaches. If I had to pick two months to be totally out of cooking commission--well, I would have picked February and March, but any two months that are not August work fine too.

No comments:

Post a Comment