Friday, August 25, 2006

friday night leftovers


The confirmation letter for the Kest workshop came in the mail yesterday. It was reassuring and scary at the very same time (welcome to my life.)

“Don’t bring anything you don’t absolutely need,” said the letter. “We’re running this workshop at full capacity. Mats will be very close together.”

YAY and hallelujia. I can be suitably anonymous.

Then the vision of a full classroom popped into my head, along with a pose I’ve been working on (because, of course, I can’t do it yet.) It’s a variation on warrior iii, except with arms out like airplane wings. One-foot, one-step balancing. And the accompanying image is of me falling over, knocking over the people next to me, who knock over the people next to them, etc. Vinyasa dominoes. Fun stuff. *snort*

I foresee another very amusing anxiety dream in the very near future.

The power yoga newsletter came today, announcing a new MP3 file available for purchase at the site. Except, DAMN IT, my cube has died again. Which is going to make my runs terribly boring. And I had just gotten to where I could run the lake – twice around, without stopping. I say again, DAMN IT.


Honey crisp apples are in, and Duckie shares my joy. "Dis yummy apple, mommy," she says, munching happily. I had to send a little one into school with her this morning. Applesauce soon, I think. The store-bought stuff just isn't cutting it lately.

In the process of researching the proper method of making polenta, I unearthed a cookbook that I had neglected since I got it in NYC so many years ago. “Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking,” by Marcella Hazan, is an interesting read. I remember now why I buried it – the tone of the book is unmistakably snobbish. After a while, though, I kinda got used to it and bowed to Marcella’s knowledge and experience – like you would to a great maestro, whose personality is a real pain in the ass, but whose teaching is totally worth it.

There are some passages that hooked me immediately. (Apparently we are snobs about the same things, so perhaps there is a level of compatibility.)

From the preface, about the use of the microwave:

“The microwave oven has become such a ubiquitous appliance that I had dearly hoped to incorporate here suggestions for its use but, I regret, those who like to cook by this method will have to look elsewhere. I have tried again and again, but the microwave does not produce for me the satisfying textures, the vigorous, well-integrated flavors that I look for in Italian cooking. This is aside from the fact that the oven’s principal advantage, that of speed, declines precipitously when cooking for more than one. I believe with my whole heart in the act of cooking, in its smells, in its sounds, in its observable progress on the fire. The microwave separates the cook from the cooking, cutting off the emotional and physical pleasure deeply rooted in the act, and not even with its swiftest and neatest performance can the push-button wizardry of the devise compensate for such a loss.”

And here’s the end of the preface:

“Both the revised and the newly added recipes in this book move on the same track, in pursuit not of novelty, but of taste. The taste they have been devised to achieve wants not to astonish, but to reassure. It issues from the cultural memory, the enduring world of generations of Italian cooks, each generation setting a place at table where the next one will feel at ease and at home. It is a pattern of cooking that can accommodate improvisation and fresh intuitions each time it is taken in hand, as long as it continues to be a pattern we can recognize, as long as its evolving forms comfort us with that essential attribute of the civilized life, familiarity.”

Fascinating. So much so that I brought it to bed with me last night for a little light reading before bedtime.

“You are the only person I know,” Brian said, “who reads a cookbook like a chapter book.”

“Probably,” I agreed. “But if I didn’t, I would never have learned to sautée onions before garlic.”

“You didn’t know that?”

“No, I didn’t,” I snapped. “My mother taught me how to act, how to write, how to pitch hissy fits, and how to have confidence in myself. She didn’t worry so much about the culinary arts.”

It occurs to me that Brian’s annoyance with my cooking obsession isn’t quite as bitter with Italian cooking as it is with pie. He seems to think the quirkiness is kinda cute, in a geeky sort of way. I think it’s the glasses.

Then again, I haven't tried the anchovies yet.

1 comment:

SB Gypsy said...

OMG, Brian is annoyed that you bake pies???? My Hubby is overjoyed each and every time I make one, and sneaks extra pieces when he thinks I won't notice. He also looks upon the bigger pieces as his own, and is highly outraged when I get a bigger one than his.

I did get my peach pie on, and Hubby owes you a vote of gratitude for that (me too- it was so delish!)

The funny thing was, one night last week, when my back was turned, he nabbed the wrong piece, and when he realized it he couldn't get me to switch(he'd already dug into it). I saved mine for later on, so he spent the evening drooling over my pie... and trying to get me to give up the extra (that shoulda been his) hilarious!