Wednesday, January 25, 2006

When your butcher asks if you've gone vegetarian, you need to get back into the kitchen.

Pooch Cafe by Paul Gilligan

I’ve begun my re-entry into blog civilization at Slashfood. This was a bad move on my part because it’s 11:15 am and my stomach hasn’t seen a solid piece of food since the honeydew melon slices I ate for dessert last night.

A cup of coffee hasn’t relaxed the hunger pangs either. The photos in Slashfood are salacious. I turn into the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood. If Willy Wonka could only convert the photos into actual food for me, I’d be in heaven.

My forced sabbatical from all print media isn’t the only enjoyment I’ve had to sideline since beginning this new job. I haven’t been fiddling in my kitchen in over two weeks! My oven is about to call child services on me. The only meals I have cooked in the past two weeks have been simple breakfast foods and pasta.

I’ve found the idea of cooking after my 8+ hours of cerebral exercise daunting. So I popped into Slashfood to reinvigorate my passion. Sure enough they came through with a series on slow cooked meals.

The slow cooker to me is a wonderful appliance. It ranks up there with my pressure cooker. Unfortunately, like most people, the slow cooker comes out in spurts. I’ll go for months without thinking about it. Then I’ll be inspired to pull it out and I spend 3 months tinkering with multiple recipes before storing it away again on the top shelf over the butcher block.

I’m disappointed my enthusiasm for cooking has waned. I understand that my new schedule has left me out of sync but cooking was the one thing that relieved the everyday stresses. Now I find my back aches more and my head is more muddled than ever.

The project manager in me is also upset my goal to cook a Chinese New Year’s dish is being sidelined. My main obstacle is the ingredients. I’m ready to make turnip cakes. My mind and body is willing. I just need daikon radishes, Chinese sausages, some dried shrimp and mushrooms and rice flour.

Now call me lazy but I’m not trekking to Chinatown. Anyone who has been in Chinatown in Manhattan knows very well it’s crowded on regular days but we are 3 days pre-New Years. Crowded becomes an understatement. If you want to experience claustrophobia outdoors go to Chinatown.

The trains are crowded. Red bags of fresh vegetables, chicken and fish are everywhere. Crowds push and fight for the prettiest, roundest oranges. Tangerine with full stem and leaves are battled over. Don’t even try driving in. The idea of going down to Chinatown to pick up these ingredients is just too much for me.

I’m not letting go of the idea though. I do plan to learn to make these babies. First, I need to get back into the kitchen. Tonight, I hope to break the long absence. Andrew at Slashfood has inspired me to make Chorizo stew tonight. Hopefully it will kick start me. Who knows, maybe I’ll be inspired to battle the crowds and head to Chinatown tomorrow to grocery shop.