It’s nights like tonight—I’m munching an “egg in a hat” for dinner—when I remember other times...harkening back to proper meals that wouldn’t make my mother cringe like the aforementioned pan-fried toast and over-easy yolk would. I cap off this unbalanced nutrition with a half glass of apple cider. No vegetables, no marbled meat, not one thing to prove that I could cook something—something good even—if only I had the spice cabinet and some chicken stock…
Our vacation was not so long ago but already it feels like an eternity (don’t they always?). The chill in the air (perhaps the onset of fall, but the more likely culprit is a well-working central air button meeting my overactive trigger finger) has me wearing a dress with flannel pajama pants underneath as I rummage through my closet, kickstarting September with the annual purge. I’m forging a path for the new by ditching the old. My arms full of mismatched socks, a dustbunny on my sleeve, I come upon my travel bag and find the menu from our unforgettable night at the artisanal table, flanked by silver foxes and good ole boys, them tinkling their fine crystal and singing oil tales; us trying not to gulp our wine.
It’s too good to keep to myself, far from vacation in a shoebox room with a closet bursting of nothing to wear:
Heirloom Tomatoes, Herb Sauce, Burrata
Fried Okra with Homemade Ranch Dressing
Pates and Terrines
Mikpa Organica Easter Egg Radish, Organic Butter and Sea Salt
Sablefish with Crispy Proscuitto, Lemon and Caper
Porchetta, Rapini, Peaches, Romesco Sauce
Braised Romano Beans
Roasted Carrots with Macadamia Nuts
Humboldt Fog with Chino Farm’s Strawberry Figs
Olive Oil Dolce Cake, Poached Stone Fruit, Mulberries
With consumables like those, I couldn’t help but force my brain to surrender the details of each captured, forgotten bite. The crisp fried okra was drenched with creamy spiced ranch. The roasted carrots were small, organic and bright orange sprouting little green shoots. The strawberry figs were called so because of the deep red flesh and the sweet, mellow tones of the fruit. But the olive oil dolce cake…that was by far the best.
I think about the experience then, as I sip the end of the cider, muddled with sediment. I make a bitter face to match the thick sludge and think about that cake instead; light, golden, the dissipating melt of the stone fruit…just one more moment before it’s back to the task of the closet and an eternal sigh for washing the dishes of a youngish, poorish New York hopeful who needs her rest…if only to wake up tomorrow and daydream some more over a Luna bar, a cup of sub par coffee, or if I’m really lucky, a packet of instant oats…