ferocious cook.

It's one hour past quitting time, and the night before election day.  I'm without sons, because I need to be in to work early to be on hand for poll opening, and it stings more than I'd like because it's the second night in a row without them.  And while the quiet is good, the clean house is good, the not worrying about making supper for famished boys the instant we walk in the doors is is good... it's just too quiet. 

I walked in the door alone and threw on a pair of jeans.  I ironed my apron that I washed yesterday and I threw that on too, insistent on ironing only because it's linen, and as casual as I am, the thought of wrinkled straps is just too much for me.  I started to make the fritatta that Epicurious conveniently loaded to my phone homescreen when I was at work today, the one you might have gotten loaded on your phone too, with mushrooms, kale and kefir.  I changed it a ton, adding feta and far less oil, and Spice House California Pepper mix and urfa biber chiles (because everything is better with them) thinking the whole while how I do this consistently... making something only loosely resembling the intended recipe.  I put on some Dexter Gordon and started chopping veg for beef barley soup while I was at it, taking care to chop the carrots and onions and celery and mushrooms into the same sized squared pieces, taking care to admire them more than normal as the 18 minutes of "Tanya" elapsed. 

I thought about how a couple hours of cooking on a Monday night is making everything seem more bearable.  How happy I'll be that I have that soup ready to eat at 5:30 on Wednesday evening when boy #2 is asking for his second piece of fruit and rummaging in the fridge drawer for cheese (hearing his little voice echo "Mommy, I really love soup" which is half the reason I thought to start some soup anyway).

Halfway through chopping the soup vegetables, I pause to scrounge through the freezer, certain that I'm not out of chicken stock and dismayed that I am.  Too little time to simmer stock, and too little inventory.  I remember the turkey stock on my basement shelves that my mom pressure canned for me, from that turkey grown down the road from them that we enjoyed more than a year ago already, and I'm so happy for it that I say it out loud.  I'm so happy for the skill to cook and eat real food that I praise my mom, my grandmother, and my great-grandmother all at once in the same breath as my feet flutter down the stairs, my heart quickening like I'll find some precious surprises there, and I do because my mother has just visited and she tidied up my shelves and added more tomatoes to them, my pop was here too and sorted through my winter keeper onions and they are beautifully tucked in a single layer now beneath the sack that I was too busy to remove them from, their errant skins removed to make the experience of choosing one even more downright pleasurable.  How lucky I am to have such amazing parents.  And I say so, again out loud, to myself in the quiet house playing with jazz on a Monday night.

And now the fritatta is done, and I have let it cool, and I have thought how nice it would be if I were enjoying it with someone.  I don't let myself think that for long because if that were the case I'd have to turn down the music, which has moved appropriately into Mary Lou Williams' Praise the Lord and then into a song from Cannonball Adderly's Country Preacher album.  (I think how algorithms sometimes really get it right, and maybe that makes up for how many times they Really, Really get it wrong.)  I think how a year has gone by without me writing so much as a paragraph on this website I bought a domain for, back when I thought that CakeWalk might turn into my livelihood.  I sit down with my plain Buffalo China plate in the light of my computer screen and eat.

A year has somehow passed and I am nowhere near where I thought I'd be, not that I ever had any idea of where I'd be a year later.  Now I settle in.  For the waiting. A little lonely maybe, but happy.  Remembering to savor each bite of the feta/kale/mushroom fritatta, even if it's eaten while typing because I'm nothing if not a multi-tasker lately.  Remembering that I have a whole half a life left to live, even if I'm not really living it the way I'd like right now.  It's started raining really hard, and I add being thankful for a warm, dry place to live to my list of blessings.  I'm writing a blog post with no recipes and no pictures, and who will read it even.  I'm waiting on a pot of soup.  Pete Townshend has come on, Pure and Easy. I wish I could say I was making it up.  But algorithms, man.  If I were a musician and not a home cook it may fit better, but still I'm going with it.

Excepting one note pure and easy
Playing so free like breath rippling by