Tuesday, March 6, 2012

february's food forays & frivolities

Food and food preparation is a new topic here at DL&CS. It's not a cultural pursuit in my life to the extent, say, of fashion design or fiction writing, but I've been fond of cooking ever since those first home economics classes in 7th grade. It's earned some time and space here. Only my notorious overabundance of interests keeps me from serious food study.

Who doesn't like to eat good food? While I'm fairly competent in the kitchen, I'd love to be more of a true expert, comfortable in a useful variety of modern basics.

Even if it weren't so trendy to be a foodie, I like creating a wonderful bowl of soup that rivals a twelve-dollar restaurant offering. I've been known to read vintage cookbooks the way some people read novels. I love wine glasses and dishes and place settings and kitchen appliances and pot racks and playing around with my spice collection. When I was younger I jumped right into entertaining with more enthusiasm than skill. I have several decades' worth of recipes, magazine clippings, and restaurant menus. I scribble notes during cooking shows, and I've taken a few classes. It's only the frustration and drudgery of having to stop and cook when I'm otherwise occupied that can make cooking as annoying as any other household duty.

With the January Project largely under control, in February I began taking my food planning, purchasing, and preparations more seriously, browsing through my oversized cookbook collection for inspiration. It's fun to eat new and interesting food, but in the long run I'd like to feel accomplished in this area with better culinary skills and wider horizons.

I know what you're thinking: I whine almost ceaselessly about how little free time I have and how I need to spend precious waking hours on my writing and not frittering it away (on fritters or anything else). Why on earth, except as self-sabotage, would I suddenly put down my virtual pen and grab a potholder?

The answer can be found on my blog's masthead: Tempus fugit, carpe diem. Given that I will waste X number of hours per week anyway, my soul needs to look at life's big picture and plan to spend at least some of those hours on things like my love of food, sightseeing, mastering a foreign language, and the like. As a related aside, I'm also following a very realistic fitness program because sitting at the computer all day isn't healthy. A writer writes, but a writer also lives their life and values their health.

I can do this.

Anyway, I was off to a great start in February, and queued up a number of interesting food projects. Having organized my kitchen and pantry in January, as well as my cookbook collection, I was off to a positive start. Having an electronic day planner for the first time and actually using it (surprise) has also been a great aid to these efforts. I now grocery shop on an actual schedule, just like a grownup, and always have food and wine information with me on my iPad. I take my food supplements on schedule, too, and follow scheduled exercise sessions both at home and at the club.

Interestingly enough, thus far all this planned activity has resulted in my being more productive, not less, in my writing. I still dream of monastic seclusion, of removing myself from the household during the last weeks of my novel... but more about that later.

Later this week I will upload a summary of what I was up to in my food-focused February.

Cheers, gambatte, a votre sante, carpe diem, and bon appetit.

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