Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Day 5: Asparagus, Truffles, Gruyere, Champagne and Spam

Oh. I jinxed myself with that last post.

I'm down to $131.60 by the time I type this post.

I splurged last night. $23.52 spent at New Sagaya: a bunch of asparagus ($5), a block of gruyere ($7), a bag of spinach ($4), a jar of Oregon Hazelnut Butter ($5.99)....and other things, I can't remember right now.

I discovered Orangette's blog - she wrote about asparagus, and Seattle springs - and I extrapolated from that (and an email from my best friend) a sudden nostalgic urge to dine on truffled egg toast with roasted asparagus.

[Add to the nostalgia for bagels - a weekday, late dinner with wine, a good friend and truffled egg toast at 'ino.]

But, in a sudden, last-minute shopping line moment of budgetary-consciousness, I ran back to the Aroma aisle and put back my loaf of rosemary bread because it was too expensive. Somehow the fact that I could make it myself made it so. Oh - this $177 a month budget!

But I don't complain: I didn't really need the bread. My dinner was roasted asparagus, topped at the last minute, with grated gruyere. I even opted out of the bread and truffle oil, thinking that I might save the last precious drops of the truffle oil I brought to Alaska with me to make truffled egg toast when I can dine on it with a friend.

And, today, for lunch - roast beef sandwich from the Sandwich Deck ($5.95).

Goodness knows what will happen to this budget this weekend. A colleague is performing at the opening weekend of the Fly By Night Club.

All Spam appetizers are half-off with the order of a bottle of champagne.


A friend forwarded me a picture of her nieces picking daffodils in Portland. The pictures were flush with greens and bright yellows and, well, it is just that kind of picture that makes an Oregon girl love her roots no matter how many years and miles it's been since she was last an Oregon girl. When I was little one, I remember setting out first thing in the morning to pick as many as I could, and would still have loads more beckoning me from the hill behind my house by the evening. My mom would always thank me for the daffodils and tell me how beautiful they were, but then she'd always sigh and ask, inquisitively and only theoretically - as if it was an idea that had just hit her and she was pondering aloud, whether daffodils weren't the prettiest when they were sprouting up and waving to us from the hills.

Here, things are yellow too - but the mottled, muddy kind. There are no daffodils to be seen. Outside. The yellow is the grass, just emerging after months of snow-buried darkness. I'm not complaining. Merely explaining. There are still wide swathes of snowy yards. Chunks of ice, alternatively white-capped with snow and grunge-marked with mud, still float around in the Cook Inlet. And cars, perhaps, are the most obvious and mud-dust indicator that it is still break-up around here.

But there were daffodils to announce spring in Anchorage. It's just that here, the daffodils don't spring up overnight on hills, they announce their arrival for weeks before, arrive regally on an Alaskan Air flight from Seattle, and are then joyously distributed about town as part of a fundraising campaign for cancer awareness. I can't remember the name of the group right now. I just remember that everyone was volunteering to distribute them, everyone was gifting them, and my office gave me a handful, closed-budded and held together with a rubber band.

At first my bundle of closed-budded daffodils felt little like a Spring. In fact, they almost felt like the opposite....like getting sushi from the deli section fo a convenience store. They were, at first, just close enough to a daffodil to evoke the bucolic memories, but not bucolic enough to appease them.

But then they opened.

And yes, mom, daffodils are pretty in hills, waving at little Oregon girls and begging to be picked for their mothers.

But - oh the smile they can bring to an Alaska cheechako when they open up, bright and yellow, a gift and a good cause and kicking off the return of the sun.

In any event, this is a verbose way of saying that life these days can feel like a bombardment of marketing, and talking points, and trends, and hypes. But there are these simple things that can evoke more memories and smiles than any PR Pitch.

Asparagus and Daffodils in Spring.
Truffled Egg Toast with Friends.
Champagne and Spam.
Friends that play live music.
Being known by my first name at the sandwich counters, espresso stands and supermarkets.
Emails from friends that remind me of all that makes my life dolce.

All things that have the timeless and unaffected quality of making me smile, broadly, warmly and instinctively.


Hi, 'N!


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11:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you ever seen Asparagus this BIG
They grow up to 15in long and 2in wide.
asparagus growing tip

9:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vegetables are great, but the Heart Start Defibrillator is better (At saving your life, that is ;) ).

7:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That sounds great, but http://www.AEDefibrillator.com has links to different reviews.

5:10 PM  

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