Comfort food — and the contentment of cats
On channelling one's inner feline (and stuffing your face)
Blossoms, blossoms everywhere. It’s scary: we have barely inched past mid-winter and the plum tree is shrouded in white. The Aussie wattles (which remind me of Eswatini, where these alien interlopers also afflict the landscape) are ablaze with yellow. There are also red aloes, blue rosemary, creamy arums, yolky daffodils, pinkish jasmine, purple Pride of Madeira. I am ashamed that, of these too-early bloomers, the only ones I recognise are foreign.
Early winter’s deluges have given way to glorious sun. Delicious and dangerous days and days and days of it. To the south, there’s already been wildfires, evacuations, the closure of Highway 1.
Between fires and flowers: it’s clear the climate canary stopped whistling long ago — it’s stone-cold, in fact — but Senator Manchin et al are too enamoured of coal to care.
I’ve been feeling like a browser with too many tabs open lately. Or no. Maybe a computer with too many applications running (to stick with the gnarly tech metaphors). Having been a freelancer for almost a decade, I should be used to the juggling act that is modern life (and the gig economy) by now. Apparently not. I’m sure having too many tabs open in my (literal) browser isn’t helping matters.
If there is one resolution I intend to adopt for this rapidly less-new year, it’s to be more like my cat. While she can be quite insistent when she’s convinced it’s dinnertime, for the most part Busi is the paragon of contentment — especially when she’s gazing out through the window, completely absorbed. If I can read fewer email newsletters (and less about omicron and supply chains and political paralysis in DC, and Putin’s sabre rattling) and gaze out through the window a little more instead, perhaps that will take care of my internal spinning beach ball of death.
Recent reads: I adored Gay Bar by Jeremy Atherton Lin and Box Hill by Adam Mars-Jones. Atomic Habits by James Clear, which I’m only ~midway through, is already making me feel like maybe I too could become a New Person some day or at least one with New/Better Habits. I am still making glacial, though enraptured, progress at bedtime re-reading Mrs Dalloway. My beloved “Old” (cos of the publication dates of what we read, not the ages of our members) Book Club shall be convening (via Skype) on the 1st March to discuss Shadi Bartsch’s new translation of The Aeneid. Just like the Scientologists (OK, not exactly like them) we love to welcome new recruits. So: join us!
Confession time: I don’t hate And Just Like That. Don’t crucify me just yet — at least admit it’s legions better than those awful SATC movies. Samantha Irby’s presence on the writing team (and some awesome casting choices) has brought intelligence, awareness and relevance that has been all too lacking — for far too long — to the Sex and the City universe. A shame they couldn’t lure Kim Cattrall back, though.
And just like that: I fell in love with Italy — and Stanley Tucci. His CNN show, Searching for Italy, is a joyous, delicious, thoughtful, beautiful marvel that both seems to transcend this moment and meet it appositely.
I’ve never been to Italy. That was an egregious oversight I had intended to ameliorate back in ye olde 2020. Covid-19 scuppered that. Nevertheless, few things give me more joy than making homemade pasta or skillet iron pizza.
Winter = comfort food time. I think I naturally incline towards hearty, flavourful, rich dishes, so winter has been an ideal time to indulge. Spicy beef braises (Mexicanish, Koreanish). Lamb meat balls with duck egg tagliatelle. Stovetop hot chocolate. And reviving a childhood tradition of fondue (with actual Swiss cheese — even though the fondue I grew up likely used ‘cheddar’) with chunks of home-baked sourdough. I can also confirm that stale tortilla chips in a roast chicken makes a mindblowing stuffing. (No wonder it feels like my Speedo has shrunk…)
That’s all for now, folks. What dishes have been offering you comfort lately? Which books are on your nightstand? What’s the last movie you watched and really loved?