Category Archives: Eating

turn, turn, turn

The weather this week! It has been of two minds. Likewise my food:

Sunday, it was Spring, so a frittata with actual asparagus. Because it’s here, it’s here, spring is finally coming back for real and asparagus is no-pun-intended springing up nearby! And frittatas are a great and easy kitchen-sink-y kind of meal strategy for when you have produce you don’t know what to do with (method: sauté things in ovenproof skillet, add shredded cheese, beat four eggs and dump ‘em in, let the bottom get set, then pop into an oven at 375 and bake until puffed up and golden. Boom!)

Today: practically winter and a decidedly wintry root vegetable chili with some pumpkin biscuits (the pumpkin was supposed to go in the chili, but then my poor dutch oven was thisclose to no-pun-intended-again spilling the beans, so: carbs). My blood sugar while making this chili was so low that I forgot all the spices until it had been simmering for like 20 minutes and couldn’t figure out why it tasted so bland. A-durp durp.

Eating seasonally has all kinds of political, moral, organic-and-crunchy reasons going for it, but the reason I like doing it (besides the fact that I want as much of my food bux as possible to go directly to farmers) is because it’s a way to get in tune with things. Seasons are constantly changing, but they always change predictably, in a cycle. Medievals were up on it! Fortune was a wheel, turning: regnabo, regno, regnavi. Now things are more static, the changes unpredictable jolts, like a windowless office with a flickering fluorescent bulb. When I said today, perhaps with too much glee, that asparagus season was starting, I was met with replies like “I didn’t know asparagus had a season.”

Do people not read the Bible? Or listen to the Byrds? Spring isn’t just when flowers bloom and CVS runs out of Benadryl, it’s when green vegetables finally return and we can stop eating nothing but potatoes and turnips! If you buy all your produce vacuum-sealed at the Megamart, you are missing out, and missing the point. You won’t get excited about the return of spring because inside the produce section, it’s always spring. Which is both boring and eerie, if you think about it.

Anyway, the happy ending is that even though we had a warmish winter, crops don’t seem to be too worse for the wear. I have perused the weekly email from Green City Market, and you guys, microgreens! More asparagus! Rhubarb! Stuff is coming back to life, myself included, and I’m so excited that I have to listen to this movement of Carmina Burana while dreaming about compotes and vegetable tarts. Eeee.

spring break: diptychs & triptychs

(Apologies to my artist mother if these aren’t really triptychs. I guess I could be safe and call them collages, but I’ve never been one for a penny word when a 20-drachma one will do.)

I spent 24 hours (total) on the train up and down New York State (bottom left and right) on the way to Montreal (upper left). I’ve pretty much perfected the art of sleeping in a ball, plowing through a season of Fresh Meat on my laptop, and lying to customs about the amount of clementines in my backpack. Fruit smugglers forever!

I did a fair amount of classy-type eating à la carte: a pain de campagne from La Pâtisserie Belge in MTL, where I went pretty much daily for bread (and then stopped at Pikolo for an americano so as to get my heart beating again).

I threw together a rando salad at home of microgreens, oranges, bleu cheese, onions, hard boiled eggs, and lemon-thyme vinaigrette, which felt incredibly lefty and snooty but also delicious, so whatever. And today, I had a croissant date with my mom (with bonus souvenir coffee beans!) at Chestnut Hill Coffee, post-pheblotomy appointment (I may have fainted, alas).

Abroad, I had heartstopping amounts of pork at the Dépanneur Le Pick Up Cabane à Sucre Pork Club , which was five courses of wonderful. We started with a sweet-and-fatty lardo spread, with chunks of apple and onion, spread over pumpernickel, then pea soup that was pleasantly earthy and I didn’t hate (??). The salad was chicarrón (pork rinds!) in a spicy arugula (so it’s healthy!) and then, at last, came meat: a house-made sausage, maple-smoked pork, and pork belly confit, each of which was a different and incredible kind of savory-sweet. The baked beans (fèves au four?) were molassesy and thick, and I got to eat twice as much since my dining companion did not particular care for them (again, ??). Two shots, as well: vodka with the lardo (na zdrowie!) and white chocolate with bacon for dessert. So fun, so tasty, and I got to chat with Chef Szef Bartek, a very cool guy who gave me some tips on making the confit (apparently not that hard? ça s’peut…)

Also: Portguesey rotisserie chicken that was buried in peppery fries, from a corner joint that reminded me very much of Calvin Trillin (long line, no plates). And watched (but did not help) Shannon eat a biscotti (biscotto?) roughly the size of her head.

Drinks: Victory Lager, Blood Orange Gin Sparkler, Bulleit Rye (which tastes good and doesn’t burn, so, win!).

On the porch! On my parents’ dime! With New Yorkers to read! I might die from all the luxury!!

And! Two pairs of homemade socks, from my lovely Aunt E., that I wore almost without pause while home. I don’t care if I got weird stares from a gaggle of middle schoolers at the Hunger Games* when I wore them in a pair of Crocs-clogs and shorts. It’s a look.

Back to Chicago, butt-early o’clock tomorrow. On the plus side: Green City Day and Joy the Baker, so sleep up, kids!

*Which, OMG. Katniss!