Yesterday I watched this clip of Nigella Lawson cooking Elvis sandwiches—you know, mashed banana and peanut butter slathered between two slices of bread and then toasted in a buttery pan until crisp and golden brown on the outside, and all warm and gooey on the inside. Well, I made them this morning and they are a total panacea for the early morning, bleary eyed blues. The sky rumbled and rain fell while Piper and I sat together at her little table, coloring Care Bears pages from her book and indulging in our warm breakfast.
Later, when it stopped raining, we took a walk and breathed in the most healing of fresh air—that slightly damp kind that lingers after a storm. Piper jumped in all of the puddles on the way to the park. I love how the puddles on this one street in our neighborhood always cast magnificent green reflections back up at us, because the street is lined on either side by Camphor trees that have grown to form a little canopy. The water takes on an otherworldly quality then, as though it is a portal to a similar but alternate universe—one where everything is upside down, maybe.
When Will came home from work we enjoyed our dinner outside. I have been cooking from Anna Jones’s A Modern Way to Eat. Anna has this really cool way of conceptualizing recipes into parts of a story, or parts of an equation. Soups, for example, always have a base, herbs, spices, a hero vegetable (often something hearty like pumpkin, squash, sweet potatoes) , and a backup vegetable that supports the hero (kale, spinach, peas, etc.). Similarly, the most satisfying and memorable salads often have, in addition to the greens, the following elements: interest (in the form of roasted vegetables or substantial raw ones such as avocados, radishes, tomatoes, etc.), texture (nuts, seeds, croutons, and sprouts), herbs, and hearty add-ins (lentils, grains, eggs, cheese). This information is golden for most people who would like to improvise in the kitchen while still being able to turn out a reliably tasty and nourishing meal. Tonight we ate pan-fried soba noodles tossed in a maple and soy dressing and served with quick pickled purple cabbage, crispy strips of tofu, and peas (Anna originally calls for sprouting broccoli)—this recipe, along with so many other quick and wholesome ones, can be found in her book.
At night, when I’m not too tired, I’ll read in bed until I fall asleep. I’ve been on a Paulo Coelho kick lately, finally reading The Alchemist and after that, Brida. I haven’t been back to the library yet, so I have been left to scour our bookshelves at home for something I’m in the mood for at night. I cracked open my old Beowulf, and of course the first passage I came to described that infamously terrifying Grendel who comes in the night, and knew I had better choose a different book. Instead, I brought The Old Man and the Sea and The Catcher in the Rye to bed, torn between which to read. In fact, I started reading both for a few moments until I finally decided on Salinger, and fell asleep a few pages later with the books face down on the pillow next to me (Will stays up a bit later than I do). I set them there on purpose, because they comfort me and give me wonderful and adventurous dreams.
Speaking of dreams, I’m feeling tired already and will end my little ramble here. Goodnight, all!