Friday, April 14, 2006


Last night I said goodbye to an old friend. This friend loved me, he loved me more than anyone has ever loved me, and for a time I loved him back. And when we did love each other, we ate so well together! Now that I know what it's like to be hungry alone, I realize what a privilege it was to be hungry with someone else. "When do we eat?" is a beautiful question, my favorite question. "When do I eat?" doesn't quite have the same ring to it. But I will get used to it.

I said goodbye to my friend, my beautiful best friend, at Casimir, a French restaurant in the East Village. Through the course of our years together we shared so many meals there; we used to stuff ourselves with luxurious fatty foods like country pate, foie gras terrine, duck confit, and goat cheese salads with roasted tomatoes and eggplant caviar. Last night we shared a bottle of Cotes du Rhone; once, it had been our favorite wine. But wine doesn't taste the same when you're crying; tears are no complement to any meal.

This is the week of the Last Supper. And last night I had mine. There are clean slates, and there are clean plates. I was lucky to know him. Those were some of my favorite meals.

Thursday, April 13, 2006


My mother is a fantastic cook! Objectively, empirically, there is no doubt: my mother just knows how to get it done in the kitchen! If you love your mother (and I hope you do), I'm sure you'll agree that nothing tastes as good as her cooking, but honestly, MY MOTHER'S COOKING IS BETTER THAN YOUR MOTHER'S COOKING. And I don't just love my mother's cooking because I love my mother. I love my mother's cooking because she MAKES CRAZY DELICIOUS FOOD WITHOUT RELYING ON RECIPES!

Last night she treated her family to sweet and sour brisket (it's like a pot roast, but a BAZILLION TIMES MORE YUMMY) with onions, potatoes, celery, and carrots. This is a time-consuming and ultimately gorgeous dish; the meat, with its accompanying veggies, becomes soft and tender and it's rich and hearty and so deliciously comforting and I wish I could accurately describe the taste, but that'd be like describing the smell of your favorite person...basically impossible. But you know how you love the smell of your favorite person? That's how much I love this dish. And unlike a scent, I get to put it in my mouth.

And that would have been enough, but my mother DOESN'T KNOW HOW TO STOP! So she also made HOMEMADE MATZOH BALL SOUP, which is MY FAVORITE FAVORITE SOUP! Matzoh balls are notoriously difficult to prepare correctly; often, they are either way too firm or way too eggy or tasteless or not round enough. My mother NAILED IT! Her matzoh balls were fluffy, tasty, and as soothing as custard. The broth for these awesome balls was homemade as well, composed of parsnip, leek, carrot, celery, turnip, dill, and I think some onion. Holy moly do I love this! It's like baby-food for adults; it just FEELS good to ingest.

And THAT would have been enough, but my mother IS KIND OF AN UNINTENTIONAL SHOW OFF, so she ALSO made a new dish: SLOW-COOKED LAMB CURRY. This was pretty much one of the most delicious foods I've ever eaten. My mother's been cooking lamb since before I was born; I was raised on so many lamb chops that I wouldn't be surprised if I baaaah in my sleep. But this was something new. Inspired by her favorite Indian restaurant, my mother decided to improvise a dish that was exceptionally flavorful, exceptionally falling-off-the-bone tender, and exceptionally exceptional. It would have made Iron Chef Indian weep with envy. If there were an Iron Chef Indian.

Basically, my mother should be the only one responsible for making food for my family, because like a detective or puzzle-solver, she just knows how to put things together. But, unfortunately, my mother allowed my brother to make Sangria. Out of Manishewitz wine. And Peach Schnappes. And Remy Martin Cognac. And Brandy. When my brother wasn't looking, I added a little Hawaiian Punch because I'd witnessed, during a cater-waitering stint, that Hawaiian Punch is the SECRET INGREDIENT to great Sangria. Then the Sangria was TOO SWEET. AND TOO ALCOHOLIC. NOT MY FAULT!!! I have to admit that the making of this Sangria between my brother and I almost resulted in some real familial estrangement. It got tense. I was left to do all the fruit-chopping while my brother ate pistachios with all the speed of the Tazmanian Devil. And he wouldn't stop BOSSING me! And he also wouldn't stop RAIDING my mother's liquor cabinet for more alcoholic ingredients. After this collaborative nightmare I wasn't even in the mood for Sangria, let alone Manishewitz-made Sangria. But everyone else drank it, and LOVED it! THEY LOVED IT!

The lesson here is that when that much alcohol's involved, it's easy to love ANYTHING. Which is why families drink during holidays.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Quick confession: I didn't drink that Yogi tea. In fact, I didn't even open the box. I got so sleepy after writing the last blog entry that I naturally fell into a state of "relaxed unconcern" and didn't need any additional help. This could mean one of two things: I bore myself so much that I induce myself to sleep (!!!), or, more likely, I am not so bad off. I realize now that not eating enough makes one prone to tears and crankiness. That's SIMPLE BIOLOGY, and I had forgotten it. SCIENCE: it's the BEST!

And while my appetite makes its way back to me in shy, dainty steps, there is one thing that I have been ravenous for: my nails.

I have a bad bad truly disgusting bad bad habit of biting my nails. This habit has been with me all my life, and all my life I wish I could quit it. I see the beautiful healthy nails and cuticles of other women and I admire their restraint. Or is it just random luck? Maybe they have nice nails but are addicted to porn! Yes, that must be it. EVERYONE has one bad habit, right? Well, mine is that I nibble my own fingers. DISGUSTING!

I recently had a successful bout of quitting cold turkey, and at that time I achieved such awesome nail growth that my hands seemed foreign to me. And I couldn't stop waving them around and showing people, which, honestly, is the very pith of dorkdom. But I was very impressed with myself for such a small thing (which to me felt like a big thing), which, I suppose, is also in line with dorkdom.

But now I've fallen off the wagon into a field of nail-biting, cuticle-destroying bad-habitry. I'm thinking about quitting again, but it involves such purposeful refocusing of my behaviors that I really have to rev up for it. So I'm revving! And also, I'll admit it: there's something masochistically pleasurable about eating one's own stuff. People DO eat their own boogers, even though THAT is truly deplorable. Hey, at least I'm not a booger-eater!


Monday, April 10, 2006


Right now it's my favorite song, though I fully realize it could be a mantra for the deeply resigned. It's bleak, but beautiful.

Now I'm not ordinarily a bleak person, but let's face it: my natural optimism has lately been replaced with a mood that I'm not used to, one that I've avoided for about 18 years:

I'm sad.

It's hard to write about food, let alone eat it, when you're sad. At least when I am sad it's practically impossible!
But as this is a food blog I MUST write just as I MUST eat, right?! It's what I do. It has become me, even if it isn't becoming to me.

So here is some writing about food:

I bought something at Whole Foods tonight that is giving me just the vaguest sense of shame. I already have a very specific guilt-feeling that I went to Whole Foods in the first place, when Trader Joe's, love of my life, was a mere two blocks away. I am a Trader Joe's Girl in a Whole Foods World. I don't know what that means!

In any case it was close to closing time for both supermarkets, so I naturally just picked the closer of the two. As I love supermarkets I took the 20 minutes I had and perused all the aisles. I went to the cheese counter and touched the cheese and then realized that I was "The Weird Girl" at Whole Foods touching cheese. I went to the yogurt section and almost started crying when I discovered that LITERALLY ALL OF THE LIBERTE GREAT GRAINS YOGURTS were sold out. It is my FAVORITE yogurt! And it's INEXPENSIVE. And they had NO MORE FOR ME! But being on the verge of tears was good, because it helped me to acknowledge and accept that I WAS "The Weird Girl" at Whole Foods; now I could embrace it. I fondled giant grapefruits for a good three minutes, even though I already knew exactly which two I had picked out to buy. It just felt good to handle fruit. This probably means I'm a pervert but so what? SO IS EVERYBODY! At least those grapefruits aren't going to grow up and pay $150/hour to have bad flashbacks. I know they aren't because I'm going to eat them.

Okay, clearly I was off my rocker tonight. Fine. So I made a somewhat embarassing purchase in the hopes of feeling more rational and un-sad. You will think it's nothing, but I feel it's worth this ridiculous amount of build-up:

I bought a Yogi tea. It's called Kava Stress Relief: Natural Anxiety Relief. On the box it promises to put me in a state of "relaxed unconcern" and, honestly, I am 100% on board for that feeling. I desperately want to be relaxed and unconcerned! Hey, a decent night's sleep would be AMAZING right now! So what's the Big Whoop? Well, I'm pretty sure this counts as one of those "self-medicating" things people do, and it makes me feel weak to need to do it, but I really need to do it! I know, I know, it's NO BIG DEAL! But as someone who doesn't drink, drug, or eat her problems away, that I consciously sought a medicinal herb to fix a feeling made me feel, as I said, vaguely ashamed. Which is RETARDED. I KNOW!

But I don't have to worry about feeling stupid for admitting this, because the kettle's on. The kettle is on and I'm on my way to steeping my worries away.

There Are Certain Things I Ought To Know but I don't need to Know Them Right Now.


That's all she ate.

Today it was so much coffee (five cups), a quivering slice of gelatinous asparagus/broccoli quiche (left mostly uneaten. I guess I don't like quiche), a glass of Cotes du Rhone, and a sugar cone filled with two scoops of pistachio gelato.

Today I ate like someone else, with someone else's palate, with someone else's appetite.

It all feels so derivative!