I should’ve been done by now.
By the end of August I had a pretty good idea of what I’d like to do with my life but I lacked the means to get there. A week later, ideas still flew like bullets in a bad western. Possibilities abounded, but nothing jelled. A week later, I had my eureka moment; a catalyst. Something that wasn’t much, but it was enough to expound upon, to mull over and possibly to put in motion. Something that was just enough to start with.
In the weeks that followed, spare time (which was precious) was occupied with gathering all the information I could. It was like going back to school in a way without paying for all that annoying tuition…or books…or student loans…or cohesive schedule. Without giving away too much information, I am training myself in new (a) new skill(s) as well as learning how to profit from it. October was all about getting something, anything done. By the time November came, self improvement had to be put on hold so I could concentrate on planning for the Holidays. December rolled in, and anything that had to do with new skills had to be put on hold until the end of the year. Dinners had to be planned and gifts had to be considered. Both of which were really hard to do on a budget that was shrinking as the days grew darker.
The day after All Hallow’s Eve is my day to get my game face on, for the time for turkey was drawing nigh. I love turkey. I love cooking turkey and everything that goes with it. Many years ago, when I was single, new found friends told me to come and join them for Thanksgiving since they were away from their families as well. Unfortunately, neither of them knew how to cook. Luckily, I committed Alton Brown’s world famous turkey brine recipe to memory before I couldn’t afford cable anymore.
|Looks like more sandwiches for me!|
This recipe was my signature, my Stairway to Heaven, my “do-that-thing-that-you-did-that-time” thing, my proof that I do in fact know my way around a kitchen and my intention to make any kitchen I step into my turf. To be sure, I’ve been working in kitchens for about as long as I can remember, but once you step out of that role to–let’s say–improve your station in life, just saying that you know how to cook gets met with looks of “suuuuure you do”. That is until you make them dinner, then they won’t shut up about it.
The recipe was something I can be proud of. It brings joy. It lets people know that there is such a thing as Thanksgiving turkey that isn’t dry and unpalatable. It is, by all accounts, a big hit. Since it is, it is my duty to follow up with something that will bring it a little further. “Yeah, first album is a classic. But what’s he got for the second one?” The Sophomore Curse. I have spent years making sure that The Curse doesn’t know where I live. I can’t be remembered for one thing, I need to expand my repertoire. First, it was the turkey. Then my compulsion to cook slowly took over every Holiday and special occasion menu; A Caprese Salad that is simple to make and leaves a huge impression, a Risotto that claims partial responsibility for my first child being conceived. A where-have-you-been-all-my-life Macaroni & Cheese that is always the first thing to be devoured at a Holiday Dinner. A chocolate cake that has been requested over and over again by family members and business associates young and old. A lasagna that has always been made in the tradition of my Italian Grandmother; labor-intensive, time consuming, but the end result always has someone whisper in my ear, “When are you going to make this again?” Of course, there’s a pizza sauce recipe that could always use improving, but it’s made with whole tomatoes that I get from a local farmer’s market so THAT part makes me happy. And there’s an apple pie that I’ve made for a couple of years but only just recently unlocked the magical “Holy Grail” ratio of Braeburn to Jonagold. Giant, manly tears roll down my cheek as I eat the last piece of the last slice. It’s like the last scene in Old Yeller, only more delicious.
There’s a Carbonara, there are various cookie recipes, I recently got on a kick of making my own ice cream, all of these things I will make at the drop of a hat. Just because I can. Just because I want to. All of these things climb into the front seat of my subconscious and take control of the wheel until December 26th. I’m not making excuses, I’m just stating a fact. None of it takes away the fact that I should finish what I start. I should get back to previous plans. But now, it’s the beginning of the new year and circumstances have been altered.
I should’ve been done by now.
In as much that I like making these things out of pure joy, I would be remiss to not admit, just a little bit, that these things that I’ve collected, these dishes and treats might be regarded as a form of currency. On one hand, I enjoy making these things. On the other, they sure do come in handy as a bargaining chip, tribute or (wait for it) gift.
I think I’ve gone a little long here. If you’re interested in a recipe, part 2 is coming soon.