Monday, March 4, 2013

How I Fell in Love Again

Last year I fell in love again with my old childhood sweetheart. It was just like the romance novelists say. You fall in love as a child, swear to never forget, and then you do. You forget how much you love someone when you're away at college experiencing new things for the first time. And then you graduate college, grow up, catch a glimpse of a familiar face, and all the old memories begin flooding back. The good, the bad and everything in between.

Only it wasn't with a man. It was with my kitchen. I love following a recipe and making something beautiful out of flour, eggs, and sugar. I love standing over a simmering pot of soup and feeling as if I were suddenly a Shakespearean witch cursing my enemies. I even love making pie crust though people bemoan this task to the heavens. But there the love ends. After I bake, cook, brew, boil, simmer, or roast my latest creation, the love evaporates and suddenly I'm left with something I don't know exactly what to do with. And then the guilt begins. The cake sits on the counter for the next week until I finally have to throw it out. The challah bread I so lovingly braided but can't stand eating begins to grow colonies of mold.  This happens with pretty much everything I make, except for the single girl pasta recipe which I perfected this past winter. To make single girl pasta, boil as much linguini as you please for about eight minutes. Drain, and then return to the pot. Over the lowest heat, add a few splashes of heavy whipping cream, a tablespoon of salted butter,  minced onion, garlic powder, basil, salt, and pepper and stir until butter is melted. Grate at least 1/4 cup of fresh parmesan cheese and stir until cheese is melted. Empty into a bowl and eat curled up on your couch with a glass of wine, preferably zinfandel, and a movie starring Robert Duvall.

When it comes to feeding myself I like the simple things. I daydream about pasta, baked potatoes, tuna salad, or just a mashed up avocado on toast. Yet still the burning desire to create cakes and pies and culinary masterpieces consumes my soul. To deal with this I began giving half of anything I made to my favorite neighbors two doors down. I found I could get rid of entire loaves of bread with ease and they loved them, which was even more gratifying to my soul. I began sending them slices of triple rum black pepper cake, honey almond chocolate tart, and whatever else I had concocted over the weekend. But after a while one family can only take so much sugar. I brought my creations to work, but my workplace doesn't have enough people to polish off what I baked, so then I began to improvise. I made friends with my leasing office ladies with a lemon pudding cake. I made friends with people I would never meet at my roommate's workplace with sour dough cheddar cheese scones. I offered banana bread to the various delivery men who came into my office each day.

And me? If I'm not eating single girl pasta, omelets, or baked potatoes, I can usually be found feasting like a queen on a plate of cheese and crackers. No, there was no creative genius that went into it. But it never grows old.


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