Where have I been? Well, I’m back in the same spot that I was in a year or so ago. Working from home, going to virtual class, freezing in my inadequately insulated apartment, and generally feeling pretty sad. The fun of life has once again been limited by the pandemic, and while I understand keeping those frivolous social interactions to a minimum, I also feel like working without the reward of friendship or camaraderie has really put me in isolation. Pile on dark, cold wintriness and you have a recipe for disaster (a recipe that I would not recommend making at home).
It doesn’t help that my stress level has increased since taking on more responsibilities. When I last posted in the summer, I was working one job and one internship. Since then I completed one of the most rigorous semesters of my life while absorbing some additional responsibilities at a job. So yes, I guess I was also busy, but at the expense of my mental wellness, causing me to neglect this website.
My feelings of isolation have also driven me back to where I was a year or so ago – clinging to food as an outlet for creativity and comfort. While food literally nourished my body, it also calmed my stress and gave me an illusion of control despite feeling so helpless. “The world is crumbling but I can still bake a bread.” The heat from the stove and oven provided a heat far beyond what my apartment’s heaters could accomplish, and the sweetness from a quick galette or a loaf cake could lift my spirits in a way that far surpasses the fleeting satisfaction of a good grade or completed work project.
So here are some of the foods that fed me and hopefully they can feed you, too.
I was on a work call when someone said “have you ever had focaccia?” and for a full week that planted a seed in my brain. I simply had to make some. I used Bon Appetit’s no-knead focaccia and topped mine with oregano and Calabrian chilis. The house filled with that fresh bread smell and our two-person household finished the whole loaf in maybe 3 days.
Apple and blueberry galette
After using a store-bought pie crust to make a chicken pot pie, the leftover single crust simply begged to be baked into a galette. A beautiful mosaic of refrigerator and freezer odds and ends, this galette featured the aforementioned pie crust, frozen blueberries from last summer, and an apple on the brink of spoilage. This resourceful treat reminded me that sometimes there’s exactly enough of one thing or another to make something sweet.
Tomatoes on toast
Since last writing in the middle of summer, I have enjoyed more than my fair share of juicy tomatoes (thanks CSA share). There’s no real recipe: just a thick slice of lightly-toasted bread , a healthy but not overwhelming smear of mayonnaise (this is a Dukes fan account), and a few lightly-salted, sun-ripened, extra juicy slices of tomato. This combination got me through more than a few difficult days at home.
I went through a short but effective meal-prepping phase in the fall of 2021 during the brief window in which I commuted to an office. I leaned on Eric Kim’s sheet-pan bibimbap method to roast veggies and enjoy them throughout the week with rice, a runny egg, gochujang, and sesame oil. This on many occasions devolved into just a bowl of roasted squash topped with an egg and some sort of spicy sauce, but, hey, it fed me!
All this is basically a long, winded way of saying that I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I let my job dictate my free time so much so that I abandoned one of my favorite projects. I tend to make big promises when it comes to maintaining this website. I think now that I know what I want from this space, I can promise to eat more, think more, and tell you all about it more.