Archive for August, 2010

Buried treasure.

August 30, 2010

Here’s a good recipe for overcoming materialism: Pack up all of your worldly belongings, move to a new city, relocate within that city four or five times over the course of a year for good measure, and then, once you’ve arrived in an apartment in which you think you’ll be staying for awhile… Finally unpack everything.

I’ve been wishing for a lot of things — a lot of material things — lately, but I’ve discovered it’s a lot less expensive to open an old suitcase and rediscover things that you completely forgot that you had.


• The afghan my great-grandmother made for my mom when she went off to college in 1973. My tastes weren’t sophisticated enough in my younger years to appreciate the color palette. Then one day a few years ago, I walked into my parents’ room, saw this in their armoire and was like, “Uhhhh… this is amazing. Can I have it?” To which my mom said, “Yes.” This has been in storage since the winter for obvious reasons. It may be a little too early to bring it out again, but I don’t care. It will be making an appearance on my bed shortly.

• One of the hardest parts about moving was trying to decide which books to bring along. I ended up bringing a conglomerate of new books, old favorites… and some real wild cards, such as The Elements of Journalism (a college textbook I never sold back), Telling True Stories (another remnant from my college days) and, embarrassingly, Your First Novel, which I’ve never read. I picked up the Donald Miller book earlier this year (pretty good) as well as the Shakespeare ($1 at a library sale). The copy of McSweeney’s Thrilling Tales was a loan from a friend with whom I’ve been long out of touch. There are plenty more where these came from, too.

• My first job in New York was at a very popular and profitable computer store in SoHo. That job had a lot of nice little perks, including but not limited to the guarantee that every few weeks or so, like clockwork, all employees received a set of new T-shirts. What we have here, ladies and gentlemen, is my employee wardrobe: 10 T-shirts, two thermal T-shirts and a fleece pullover, all accrued in the course of less than five months. And this isn’t even all of them: After I took this picture, I realized that I was wearing one, and then I found another fleece pullover in a pile. So, yeah. I guess you could say I was, and still am, well-outfitted from my time there.



August 12, 2010

I hated them as a kid, but now that I’m older, I think that tomatoes just might be the perfect food.

A few months ago, right around the time I caught the cooking bug and attempted to expand my culinary horizons, I found out how crummy the produce selection actually is at 90 percent of Brooklyn supermarkets. There are some things that I can let slide — less-than-perfect apples, mediocre grapes. But there is one thing that no amount of money can buy at a grocery store, and it’s this: a perfect, homegrown summer tomato.

So, here is my Saturday morning routine: Wake up at 9 a.m., put on my shoes and walk about two minutes down the street from where I live to the Greenpoint/McCarren Greenmarket. I’ve known about the Greenmarket since shortly after moving here in March, but I didn’t do a whole lot more than browse a few times on my way to the L train. Now, it’s my favorite part of the weekend.

This past Saturday, I got a pint of bright orange Sun Golds, which I ate like candy, and a couple of weeks ago, when it was way too hot to use the oven, I made a little bruschetta with one standard red tomato, one low-acid yellow tomato, a handful of basil, one finely chopped garlic clove and a little salt and pepper. It would have been the perfect meal if 1) I hadn’t forgotten about the bread while it was broiling (I flipped the slices over for the picture; pretty smart, eh?) and 2) I hadn’t gotten eaten alive on the back patio (referenced here) and had to move the party indoors. I’ve also made a variety of sandwiches, salads, etc., but am looking for more tomato-centric recipes to tide me over ’til the fall.

Sorry so sloppy.

August 8, 2010

In the words of Jim Anchower, I know it’s been awhile since I’ve rapped at ya, but I’ve had some important business to take care of since the posting of my last entry, an event which almost directly coincided with the onset of summer.

I had such grand plans for this summer. I was going to buy this thing and drink from it exclusively until September and host a barbecue on my back porch and wear only high-waisted shorts and sunglasses all day, every day. But then I realized how broke I was, and this was never bought, and I discovered the hard way that we’ve got a bad mosquito infestation on the back porch (still have the scabs on my ankles to prove it), and I realized that high-waisted shorts probably wouldn’t be a practical wardrobe choice for someone who works in an office 40 hours a week and has thighs that look like Christmas hams. Additionally, sunglasses and I have a love-hate relationship. Like, I’d love to wear them, but I hate the fact that I don’t wear contacts and am blind without my real glasses. Ya heard?

But my summer’s turned out pretty well after all. I went to Long Island for the first time, which was a little surreal. I felt like I was in The Twilight Zone if The Twilight Zone took place at my roommate’s in-laws’ house, and there were aunts with heavily penciled-in eyebrows serving you things like deviled eggs, and at the end of the day, when all you wanted to do was get back to your version of civilization, you pulled up to the Long Island Railroad station just as your train back to the city was pulling away. But that’s another story for another time.

I started running again in hopes of reversing the aforementioned case of Christmas Ham Thigh Syndrome. The results, thus far, have been promising. I got health insurance, REAL-LIFE HEALTH INSURANCE, and went to the dentist on Thursday. No cavities. And the other day, I found not one, not two, but FOUR green Matchless happy hour coins, which for someone who doesn’t drink that often (for health and pocketbook reasons alike), was like finding a goldmine. I’m still saving two of them for “a good time.”

The majority of my life, if you break it down, hour by hour, is spent at work every week. When I’m not there, I’m with my guy or reading (right now, it’s A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, a book that I read in high school for AP Lit and managed to smuggle into one of my suitcases during my move last year) or watching 16 and Pregnant or, most recently, dreaming about what I’m going to cook next based on that week’s farmers market bounty. My interest in cooking has really taken off since this, but more on that later.

In my mind, I’m always striving for something a little better, but all things considered, I couldn’t be more content at the present moment.