It’s been almost a year since my last post. I have been writing, but not here. If you’d like to follow my continuing adventures, you’ll find me at victoriaraschke.com.
Archives For Housekeeping
We’re staying in Nashville for now but the new place is smaller – though better laid out. It’s giving me the opportunity to think about what I should hold onto and what I should let go of. I went into this thinking I would be very emotional about it but I have not. I read something fairly recently – I apologize for not noting the source – that when one keeps everything nothing is precious. It stuck with me and has guided my decision making as I go through boxes in the attic and cupboards that the items have not left the shelf since we moved in almost two years ago.
Kitchen things – dishes, pots and pans, gadgets – have always been my sticking point but I have been ruthless. I’m not catering anymore and if I did go back into the food business it would be something entirely other. This made it easy to part with multiples of things and giant pots and pans that I wouldn’t even use to cook for a big party at my place. I also got rid of things that had not been used in at least a year. Pared down serving pieces, including a heavy punchbowl with two many cups. I have moved it four times and used it two, time to go. We sold it on eBay with the proceeds going to purchase a new couch for a smaller living room, as did a few other things that we thought might be worth the hassle of shipping. Most has just gotten packed carefully and piled dutifully into the car to go to Good Will. I know it sounds hokey but I do feel lighter.
I am hopeful that by releasing these things into the world with whatever emotional baggage they contain, I am opening up space in my life for new, positive things. I’m not down with The Secret or abundance theology, but I do believe you can’t accept a new thing – job, adventure, whatever – if you are clutching things to you that don’t fit who you want to be anymore. I don’t know that I’ll have my life down to a suitcase – for more than a week or three anyway – but I’d like to have it light enough that I can go wherever the wind takes us.
Ah, we have been eating well at Foodieporn HQ. I’ve been planning out the weekly menus, recipes from clippings or cookbooks I’ve wanted to try with some old favorites thrown in. On Saturday, after the Earth Day festivities, we had J & J over for some Mexican soup from the newish Ina Garten. It was pretty good. I skipped the fried corn tortillas in favor of fried flour ones and swapped out the crushed tomatoes for some fire-roasted Muir Glen chopped tomatoes. They are probably one of my favorite things to have in the kitchen. They make soups taste amazingly good and are a great base for a smoky salsa when tomatoes are out of season and only the scariest of pink plastic tomatoes are available.
My classes at W-S have been heavily spring veg oriented and I have gleaned some recipes for my own repetoire. Last night we made a really good “rustic” pasta dish with broken wide lasagna noodles, grilled zucchini ribbons, baby arugula and some good olive oil and light tomato sauce. It looks beautiful on the platter and tastes incredible. I have now been dreaming up all kinds of things to do with grilled zucchini and eggplant and whatever else I can think to grill. We are really hoping to get the charcoal grill soon. Mostly so I can play grill cook outside. Grilled peaches, grilled pineapple, grilled corn on the cob… I tried grilled tofu once but unless you have absolutely pristine charcoal with no quick light fluid of any sort, it winds up tasting of gasoline fumes as it absorbs everything that comes in contact with it. Tofu is better left to indoor cookery.
I am trying to get all my ducks in a row for when the classes in Murfreesboro start. I want to have my first three lectures, at least, written by this weekend. As I am wont to do, I think I have gone a little overboard in what can logistically be absorbed in one sitting by a non-food geekery obsessed person, so I will inevitably need to scale back. Yes there are myriad types of herbs that have fallen by the wayside, but, unless it is an especially fascinating tidbit of trivia, do most people really care about things like sweet woodruff and chervil? I am guessing no, but it you signed up for an herb cookery class wouldn’t that by definition mean you are interested in them? See, this is my dilemma.
I am also putting the final touches on the housewarming party menu. Authentic(ish) Mexican, tamales and what not. But I do tend to assign myself the labor intensive and will have to start cooking over the weekend as well.
The fridge magnets are on the door so I do feel that we are settled to some extent. There are a few boxes lurking in the bedroom (three, I believe) that await unpacking but mostly that task is over. I even unpacked a box that had been lurking since the move from Knoxville (in 2003!).
As far as cooking goes, the classes are going a pace. In fact, some are mostly sold out. I am loving the students and the experience. The curriculum is challenging and varied enough to keep me interested but not so labor-intense or futzy as to put off anyone who just wants to dabble a bit in making a goat cheese salad or something.
Our meals at the house have been a little hit and miss. Mostly hit as I get used to the new oven. I have also made some seriously sleepy and shouldn’t be cooking mistakes. The first Sunday I cooked for just Keifel and I, we had blueberry biscuits because I forgot to put the sugar in the muffin batter. They were good with some butter and jam, but they definitely weren’t muffins. And while getting used to the oven I made popunders this past Sunday, trying to figure out the preheating cycle on the oven which seems to take forever and the batter sat too long, I think, in the pan and cooled. Keifel and Julian ate them, again with more butter and jam. Amazing what some creamy dairy and crushed fruit can cover, isn’t it?
In other news, Foodieporn HQ has joined a CSA (Community Sustained Agriculture) and will be getting boxes o’ fresh goodies once a week (we are picking up at the Farmers’ market). I am very excited about all the organic produce and free range eggs and whipping up on-the-fly summer food with whatever’s in the box. I am planning to post CSA box goodies and recipes when the harvesting begins in May.
I am hoping to be back to posting in my semi-regular manner as my sickly computer should be home some time this week. Thanks for hanging in there.