Thursday, September 10, 2009

Morning Musings...

I keep reminding myself that tomorrow is Friday. Sometimes, that's all it takes to get going in the mornings on a Thursday. Today, it's not quite enough but it helps.

My Thursday is off to one of those starts. I was already running late due to my ambitious attempts to get a loaf of bread baking in my breadmaker so it's ready by the time I get home from work for dinner. I have a horrid feeling it's not going to turn out. Try as I might to keep the liquids and yeast separated, there was a slight tidal wave incident as I was pouring in my olive oil and the yeast got soaked by that and the water.

Traffic was not fun this morning either. It meant I made it into the office eight minutes later than usual. My coworker had beaten me in to the office; this rarely happens. While many days, she's a lot of fun, she's also one of those people whose mood you can sense when you walk into the office based on how she responds when you say "Good Morning!"

Today was not a chipper response. Today was one of those, "talk to me again and I'll rip your throat out" responses. It's not that she's not a morning person but she's a person whose agenda and duties rank way higher in her own mind than they do in anyone elses' and so there are days when she's far too busy and important to deign to speak to me or our other office-mate. Usually, these are the days where we remain quiet and don't speak because she's a little scary. I don't mean that I'm actually physically afraid of her, it's more that to rile the beast is to have to listen to it and we do not like to do that.

She's also a little, um, noisy. She does not know this. On any given morning, there is the jangle of a bracelet on a keyboard, heavy sighing, the squeak of rubber since she sits on an exercise ball and the frantic, frenetic typing of one who has far too much to type in far too little time.

Of course, as I write this, I'm crunching loudly on a piece of toast. I finally gave in and joined the people who cook in the office. Sometimes, I don't feel like eating my toast while I'm driving in the mornings and today, I figured I might as well join the masses and use the toaster oven in the office. A good choice, I'd say. Having toast at work just makes it a better day.

My crunching toast led to a discussion about toaster ovens vs. toasters. Personally, I concur, toasters are easier. However, we don't have one in the office. We do, however, have a toaster oven. My coworker thinks it takes too long. To that, I say, "it's toast, it's worth the wait." Also, it's not like I'm standing there staring at it. I put it in the oven, walk away and when it tings, there's my toast. Voila!

Ok, so it doesn't pop up but, instead, is waiting for me in the oven which means it actually stays warmer for longer.

I think it might just be that lately, I've learned, sometimes it's better to take your time over food preparation and enjoy the process than just throw something in the microwave.

I blame the Food Network.

Of course, I blame them lately for everything food-related. It's almost like I've undergone a "Foodie Conversion." I still have the Lipton fettucine alfredo mix in my cupboard to remind me of how far I've come in a year. A year ago, I added margarine and butter to my soggy noodles and, voila, fettucini alfredo.

I'm not enough of a food snob that I still won't make this. Quick food has a time and a place and sometimes, it's all you want.

Yet, no more do I reach for the Lipton when I'm craving Alfredo and don't want to spend the money to go out. Mario Batali has shown me that with four simple ingredients, I can make delicious fettucine alfredo.

Bobby Flay has shown me that sometimes, the sauce makes the meal. You can dress up a piece of meat with a few fresh ingredients by making a sauce that tastes good and is usually nutritious.

Giada deLaurentis has shown me how to make simple italian food with easy ingredients that tastes as good as any restaurant food.

Alton Brown has taught me that breaking down what seems to be complicated methods of cooking is actually quite easy. Also, my Alton Brown salt pot is ridiculously useful.

I could keep going but you get the idea. Celebrity chefs are teaching me to cook and I didn't even plan it.

It's put a whole new dimension on my life. I used to mock my friends who used to go to kitchen stores and admire the tools. Now I go to the same stores and do the same thing. This weekend, I was extremely excited to find a nice potato ricer at TJ Maxx. I also got a new saute pan, some stoneware baking dishes and a new grater.

I'm sad. I'm obsessed. Cooking has become part of my life. I think it's probably filling a void but I don't see anything wrong with that. I'm hoping it's not trying to fill the void that I have because I'm not writing as much. I think that's really up to me though, isn't it?

I have thought about writing about cooking. Not a cookbook but a book about someone who likes to cook. Yet there is already quite a plethora out there. For some reason, there's an excess of books about women who seek fulfillment in life and find it in baking. Occasionally, there's a twist and they actually cook, not bake, but it's usually the result of any of the following:

1)Grief over the death of a beloved husband.
2) A way of finding themselves after the husband has left them for another woman.
3)A hidden love of cooking coming to the forefront as a woman discovers herself
4)An accidental discovery as a side effect of running away and needing to make a they cook and discover they're geniuses at it.

You'd be surprised how much this happens. I've come to the conclusion that while chick lit aimed at the Bridget Jones' of the world tends to put the main character in either PR or a magazine setting, chick lit for the generation above them tends to put a recently divorced/widowed woman in a bakery or restaurant.

Anyway, I think for now, I'll keep my cooking separate from my writing. I can do both...I hope. In the meantime, I'm going to try to get some work done. That is if my coworker stops her jangling/squeaking/sighing/"oh shitting". Either that or I put my headphones on and tune her out.

Headphones it is.

Thanks for reading. Happy Thursday.

No comments: