Monday, April 11, 2005

Day 11: Broke and Beaming

I learned that it is a struggle to live on $177 a month and still enjoy the privilege of making J. weekend breakfasts of wild mushroom omelettes, maple sausages, milky Scottish breakfast tea, herb dutch babies, family-farmed and thick-sliced bacon and blueberry sourdough hotcakes. Though I did make cornmeal biscuits, all with stuff from the cabinents, my rules don't require me to deduct the tickets to eat oysters and prime rib at The Anchorage Museum Annual Gala, and J. gifted me to a fry-up feast at the White Spot. So, there's still enough in the grocery kitty to keep me going even though I did splurge over the weekend. It's just going to be a lot of extra budgeting. I'd budget even harder for the chance to make and eat more meals together.

J. was in town for a long weekend.

He left last night, with a full cooler.

My freezer is empty, its contents having been cooler'ed to Kodiak.

My mind is brimming with ideas of how to re-fill it.

My budget is....busted, which makes the ideas even more entertaining (to think how much entertainment I was losing when all of my problem-solving energies were necessarily focused on maintaining billable hours in a deflated economy!).

And while I'm still radiating smiles from getting to see him, I'll confess to already looking forward to next month when we rendezvous in Juneau.


My herb dutch baby flopped. I think it may have to do with having tossed in a dash of heavy cheese pieces.

But my wild mushroom omelette - tasty, easy and the first time I ever made one to flip without breaking. I think the secret was using four room temperature eggs, a HOT pan with a liberal amount of HOT olive oil, and salting the olive oil rather than the eggs. To make the filling: Saute shallots and garlic in olive oil on a very low temperature. Salt and pepper. When golden, drop in chopped mushrooms and a dollop of butter. Shake the pan every now and then. Salt, pepper. Add fresh thyme. Add chopped up spinach, just before starting the eggs in another pan for the omelette. Time it so the spinach will wilt, and get the glisten of the butter, but not lose its greenness. Usually I'm making the omelette for myself - so I only use 1 egg. And I thought I sucked at omelettes. But now I've learned that I just have to wait for the chance to cook them for a crowd.

I'm still going to practice.


One last note: I haven't done a good job of recording the recipes I've attempted. I'm really going to try and do better. Noone else probably reads this, but sometimes I go back and re-read them and I think sometimes there are these glimpses of where I want this all to end up: when I'm cooking with the generous simplicity of the folks that taught me the human and the civic importance of good food and I'm reveling in the urban excitements of discoveries and excessive feats. Sometimes I have to wonder if my best chance for finding a middle ground is in food.

One of my favorite books is The Dud Avocado. I had to go to England to buy it (though one less in need of a constant fix of story could probably purchase it from There's no reason to share this favorite or how I acquired it, except the last sentence of the previous paragraph plunked into my head the image of the protagonist walking through the streets of Paris one morning, poor, hungover, hungry and deliciously happy, wearing a purple ball gown because she had just dropped off everything else she owned to be laundered and en route to a good story yet to be determined.


Ok. THIS is the final note. It's 7 p.m. I'm wearing sunglasses at my desk. I always wear sunglasses at my desk now. The sun rose at 6:30 a.m. today, and is setting around 9:30 pm. We're gaining approximately 6 minutes a day, though each day the gain gets a bigger spread. In a few more weeks, I'll have to go Outside to see stars.


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