Archive | February, 2009

Crud

27 Feb

I really thought,

I was going to make it through the winter,

without being felled by the flu.

I was wrong.

It hit me with a gale force last weekend,

and I have spent the entire week trying to bounce back.

It has not been easy.

Be careful. If you click here, you might catch the creeping crud, too.

Cool Beans

19 Feb

I can’t believe that I was once a beanist.

These days I judge a chef on his use of beans.  When I travel, I bring home beans (and write obsessively about local bean cookery). I give impromptu bean lectures in grocery stores, and bully coworkers into placing large, exorbitant orders of beans to be shipped all the way across America.  And, as I wait patiently for spring, I’m planning an entire bean plot in my garden.

Amazing to think that two and a half years ago I was happy to publicly proclaim that I was never going to touch another bean again.

This last weekend upstate was very hard.  Nature is making some very weak attempts to throw off the mantle of winter.  There are tiny fuzzy buds on the two pear trees that flank the entrance to our house, and the glacier on the driveway is beginning to break up, as are the ice floes on the creek (some of the sheets are over a foot thick!).  But it is still cold there, and the ground is still very, very frozen.  It’s hard to believe spring is ever going to arrive.

But, it will, just as sure as seven months from now I’ll be complaining about the heat, spring will be here before I know it.  And so I’m planning.  God I love planning.

I have a little red and black notebook in which I’m recording all the seeds I have and seeds and plants I want.  It was obvious from the first word I wrote in that book that I’m going completely overboard in my plant selection, but I’m okay with that.

Not a beanophile yet? Click here if you need more convincing.

Walka Walka Walka

13 Feb

I walked to work on Wednesday.

I entered Central Park through the Women’s Gate, near Strawberry Fields.  Within two minutes, I was deep enough into the park to have left the roar of the city behind me.  I was surrounded by mist and bird calls and tiny muffled sounds.  There were snow drops and spaniels and hurrying commuters and me, slowly making me way to the end of the park, wallowing in the beauty.

By the time I made it to The Mall, the sun had burned through the morning mist and returned the park to the land of shadows and bustle.

From Grand Army Plaza, I walked straight down Fifth Avenue.  Gawking at all the fantastically stylish women tottering on their sky-high heels I felt a bit like Bill Cunningham, and a little dowdy in my sensible shoes and too warm coat.

Click here for more walking, including a jaunt along the Hudson.

A Return To Tiny

5 Feb

It seems that, if one is to base their conclusions solely on the cooking coverage provided by the New York Times, tiny kitchens are all the rage.

Which really does make sense, given that the New York Times is a paper based in New York, purporting to cover New York things from a New York perspective, because, let’s face it, only the luckiest people in New York (and by New York, I mean Manhattan in this instance) have big kitchens. For further evidence see the introduction to this story by Moira Hodgson from 1979.  I’m a bit too cheap to pay $4 for the article, but I do love that she blames the landlords.

I know first hand that living in Brooklyn is the way to solve the tiny kitchen blues.  But, there are trade offs.  By gaining a big kitchen one may also gain a big commute.

I gather that the tiny kitchen rage started when Mark Bittman posted a picture of his kitchen, which, I’ll grant you, is tiny.  I, like many, was initially surprised that someone who writes so much about food had such a weeny kitchen.  But then I thought about it, and yeah, it makes sense.  A tiny kitchen forces one to cook smarter, with less and more, well, minimally.   As Mario Batalli says in Bittman’s article, “Only bad cooks blame the equipment.”

Click here for more Tiny, including a tour of the tiny kitchen.