Thursday, November 24, 2011

Some soul searching

Yeah, so I've been off the ethernet grid for a while.  The whole mid-life realization got me bummed out and I spent the last few weeks moping around.

Before I decided to admit that I'm in the middle of dealing with the fact that I'm forty I let myself do what my instructor calls "coasting".   Doing the reading but not really studying, going through the motions in lab but not really engaging and generally putting in just enough effort to complete my tasks.  For me, this means my final grade for the last block was in the 80s.  I know, I know a grade in the high 80s isn't anything to be disappointed with but I know I could have done better.  We're currently in the middle of potatoes, pasta and grains and I've got myself back up into 'A' territory.

I'm practicing a lot at home.  I went out and got a cheapie, hand-crank pasta maker so I can make pasta from scratch.   Once you get the hang of cranking it out it becomes something of a zen exercise.  Zen and the art of pasta making.  Because I'm doing so much practicing I'm going to be update my food blog, Life and what I ate , more often.

I've been practicing a lot at home because when I get into a tizzy about my age and what that means and all that stupid crap and I don't know what to do, I've been cooking.  I know how to cook.  I'm good at it.

And I can write, I'm good at that too.  I take pretty okay photographs.  So, I've been combining those altogether into my food blog.  And it's fun for me.

Raymond Carver's short story A Small, Good Thing ends with a couple whose child has just died eating cinnamon rolls and drinking coffee with a baker who has been calling them in the middle of the night to harass them about not picking up their son's birthday cake.  When the devastated couple arrive at the bakery to scream and vent their anger at his behavior, he apologizes and then gives them the sweet, fresh baked rolls, telling them "Eating is a small, good thing in a time like this."

And I agree.  When my grandmother died and we were all sitting around in the living room of what was now my grandfather's house instead of my grandparent's house not knowing what to do we were able to focus on meals.  Neighbors and relatives came by with so much food we packed both the inside and outside refrigerators.  There was the question of what to serve at the viewing and wondering what the congregation would make for the reception after the funeral.  It gave us something to talk about.  If the garlic bread was good or if the sandwiches from Subway our cousins brought had too much mustard.

Therefore, I've been getting through this process of accepting that Im becoming middle-aged with cooking and, of course, lipstick.  I put on my lipstick and rattle pots and pans around in the kitchen.  I hug my kids when they tell me they like what I cooked.  Will isn't such a fan of the cheese souffle but Zoe loves the stuff.  They both dig homemade pasta and I'll be making them try Potatoes Duchesse pretty soon.

So, the Scorchin' Student/Hip Housewife has been looking around her house at the dog hair that gathers at the baseboards, the massive disaster that is the upper level of her home where the kids' rooms are, at the dishes in the sink and the laundry piled on the chairs in the living room and mounded on the floor of the laundry room and comforts herself by knowing that she is learning and can make a small, good thing for her family and any friends she can convince to come over and share in her experiments.  It means that she can accomplish something in a day that is of a good quality, to do something she's good at that won't be undone inside of half an hour of children playing in the house.

Today, being Thanksgiving, she's making a mince pie for the Hip Husband because it's his favorite.  The process will be up on the food blog later today.  And that's plenty for today.

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  Pour a gallon of milk in your bathwater and you'll end up with wonderfully soft skin.

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