Eat Me. Drink Me.

Why We Eat. Why We Drink. Why We Write.

Tag: onions

My Life Without an Appendix

by lyzpfister

It’s not so bad, really, to live without an appendix.  It was nice, sometimes, to take walks with my appendix, to run errands with my appendix, even to have lunch with my appendix.  But it wasn’t really until my appendix was gone, that I realized what it was to miss my appendix.  I took walks, I ran errands, I ate lunch, and yet, I felt a hole, an appendix-shaped hole, right where my appendix used to be.  It’s been a few months now, since my appendix was taken from me, and I feel a little solace, looking at the three small scars on my belly where at least something was given to me in exchange.  I’ve grown to like those little scars, to like them almost more than I liked my appendix, since when I had it with me, I didn’t pay much attention to my appendix at all.

I’m alone in Berlin now.  It’s strange how, when there were people in the apartment, all I wanted was to be alone and quiet and now, when I’m alone and it’s quiet, all I want is someone else.

This morning, I sent my mother off to the airport at six, and fell back into a cautious sleep.  When I woke up, the apartment was already a different place.  It was more silent, heavier; I was afraid of the sound of my voice.  I’d never paid attention to my mother’s breath, but now that it wasn’t there, I knew what it was to miss her.

I am not comparing my mother to my appendix.  How grotesque.  I’m only saying that we often spend more time clacking after what we don’t have rather than listening for the presence of the things that are with us.  Our lives are in a flux of having and not having and almost always, what we have we will at some point lose.  It’s only perspective, to think I have, rather than I have not, I won’t have, I don’t have anymore.

So, I have: walls of books, two shelves of records and a record player that works, a little red bike, calm in which to work, big windows, walls around me and a roof above me, and somewhere outside of these walls, though I can’t see them or hear them, people who love me.

Ella Fitzgerald kept me company as I made myself dinner for myself.  Yet there was something soothing in the familiarity of being at the stove, in hearing Ella’s voice and singing with her, in the rhythm of the chopping, that kept me thinking, have, have, have.

Pasta with Fennel and Onions

Set a pot of salted water on to boil.  When it’s boiling, throw some pasta in the pot.  In the meantime, heat olive oil in a skillet.  Sauté one thinly sliced onion, one thinly sliced fennel bulb, and a minced garlic clove with salt, pepper, and a little bit of sugar until the onion and fennel are soft.  Add a handful of chopped basil and a chopped tomato.  Maybe some more olive oil.  Let it simmer just a bit.  The tomato is like a new kid on the playground – it takes some time to make friends.  Weeks and years, sometimes, until a friendship forms.  With the tomato, though, it’s not so long, maybe six minutes.  Throw in some capers and toss everything together, the pasta and the onions and fennel, no gentle friendships here, and garnish with shaved parmesan.

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Something From Nothing (a post by Lyz)

by lyzpfister

I wish there was a tiny chorus of approving gourmands that lived over my left shoulder and gave me a round of applause and a miniature pat on the back from each of their sprinkle-sized hands every time I verged on the brink of culinary genius.  Like when, after two months of mediocre results, I finally manage to make perfect foam with my espresso machine for four days in a row (right now!  I’m drinking perfect foam!  Isn’t it exciting?).  Or when, on the spur of the moment, I add a layer of strawberry jam between two layers of ordinary yellow cake with vanilla frosting.  Or when, coming home after a long day of work, I despondently shrug my shoulders at the mismatched food in my pantry, only to throw the mess together into something delicious half an hour later.

But there are no invisible gourmands.  It’s just me and my mouth and occasionally my roommates, who I make eat bites of my food as they walk past on their ways to something probably very interesting.

Can I clap for myself?

Luckily, I have a partner in crime – the other half to my half-full pantry – and together, we are very good at making something out of nothing.  The other day, we were sitting around, kvetching, drinking green tea with ginger and honey, and realized that it was dark (no hard feat in winter Brooklyn) and we were hungry.  This is kind of how the conversation went:

Me: “I’m hungry.”
Her: “Let’s make food.”
Me: “I don’t have anything.”
Her: “Me either.”
Me: “I have potatoes and blue cheese.”
Her: “I have lettuce.”
Me: “Ok, we’ll figure it out.”

The result being that we scrounged up a salad with peppery greens, blue cheese, canned beets, almonds, and a dressing of oil, cherry flavored balsamic vinegar, lemon, Dijon mustard, and honey.  We found a can of tuna and so made a tuna salad which we ate on the last slice of a dense, whole grain bread, split in two.  We didn’t even eat my potatoes.

The moral of that story is: there’s never really nothing, unless of course, there’s really nothing.

I believe I’ve made this point before, but not everything one cooks will be a success.  Not even everything will be good.  I’ve made horrible mistakes.  Ruining stir fry with too much ginger, underestimating the potency of fenugreek (never, ever underestimate the potency of fenugreek), attempting to make blue cheese and bruschetta work (it just sounds like it does).  But for all of those failures, there will be amazing wins.  And the wins are so much better because you figured them out yourself.  It isn’t some recipe Martha Stewart’s food lackeys have tested hundreds of times to find just the right ratio of cumin to salt.  It is one shot at something good, it’s Luke Skywalker blowing up the Death Star.

So shoulder gourmands or no, I will continue to experiment, to resist having to walk in the cold to the grocery store, to finally use the jar of brined lemons, the fennel bulb, the semolina flour, and the tamarind paste.  But maybe not together.

Pasta with Caramelized Onions and Tomatoes

This is one of those come-home-late-hungry-want-food-now dishes that I threw together a few nights ago.  Super easy, super good.

Melt a healthy chunk of butter in a saucepan and when melted, toss in one yellow onion, slivered, and oh, one or two tablespoons of brown sugar.  Stir the onion slivers around until they’re past translucent and at some point add one finely chopped clove of garlic.  In the mean time, put on a pot of water to boil and salt it if you’d like.  After the water has boiled, add a handful of linguine and set the timer for ten minutes.  After five minutes have passed, add a chopped tomato, basil leaves, and a dash of oregano to the onions and stir it around pleasantly.  Season with salt and pepper.  When your linguine is done cooking, drain it and rinse it with cold water, then add it to your onions and tomatoes.  Toss everything thoroughly and maybe add a dash of olive oil to bring it all together.