Monthly Archives

September 2014

Well-being

A Fatty’s Feelings on Food

I know you’re curious…you clicked because you can do so in privacy.  No one has to know of your curiosity on the taboo topic of the feasting feelings of your heftier counterparts.

I can’t speak for all heavyweights, but I can speak for myself.

Let’s start off and lay it all out on the table, unlike your last favorite presidential candidate or your most recently failed relationship.

I’m not full of surprises.

Or maybe I am.

But I want us to have a good relationship.

I’m a pleasantly plump girl.  Naturally, I love to eat.  But not in the way you’d be quick to assume.  I love the social experience, the nearly orgasmic moans rolling across the kitchen as forks penetrate mouths and culinary delights spread across palettes.
I’m depressed when I don’t feel hungry only because I just want the world’s flavors to nestle on my taste buds.

I’m a good girl.  I’ve got a strong faith.  I’m abstinent until I’m hitched.
But I seduce with food.

I just love food.  I have no training, no in-the-kitchen-with-grandma-recipes.  I grew up on a potholed street in a house insulated with quilt batting.  We ate large pots of goulash or sloppy joes for dinner.  My dad told me how he used to hang with the kids down the street when he was growing up, and eat “Tyner Dinners” – elbow macaroni and canned tomato.

I’m not scientific.  All I know is what taste buds like.  I don’t know that aphrodisiacs are proven, but I know for me, moments are aphrodisiacs.  For myself.

At the heart of it all, I’m complex, layered (ogres have layers, you know).
I have constantly been told I view the world with different glasses, I see things in ways that most people don’t see them.

I’m in the kitchen at 1:30am during a thunderstorm blaring my favorite Enya song on repeat and kneading pita dough by hand.
By 3am, I’m snoring on the couch with my laptop sliding off my lap, and I wake up as Ted Allen enthusiastically dooms the next hopeful chef with those fateful words, “You have been CHOPPED.”

At work, I’m making a mental list of everything I need to get at the store on the way home…just a few produce items.
By the time I leave the store, I’m swearing under my breath as I chastise myself for one more ridiculous food purchase on the credit card, and as I carry four huge bags to the brim with groceries and wait for the bus under the 99 degree Utah sun.

But food is never ridiculous.  Food is beautiful.  Food is logical.  Food is divine.

I don’t own any fancy kitchen utensils.  No mixers, no food processors, no nice knives, no silpats.
Most of the time, I don’t even have parchment, and I’m almost always out of aluminum foil.
Just me, some steak knives left by old inhabitants of my rental home I share with three other girls, some tomato stained cutting boards, and music.

Oh, that’s when the magic happens.

The cursing comes to a stop when I lay my debtful buys out on the 70’s counter.  Our kitchen is as hot as the devil’s infant incubator, so I have approximately 37 minutes until all of my food withers and rots.  Better get to work.

The magic happens when I flip on my music…Spanish guitar playlist.  Golden sun leathering me to a crisp.
I plunge my hands in a bowl of foamy, yeasty water full of fava beans, waiting to be shucked.

Yes, shucked.

Food is about imagination, about making it your own.  Be a thesaurus and let the words flow from your mouth and imagination when you’re in the kitchen, even if you’re just unrolling a container of pre-made biscuit dough.

I hope this makes you feel that experiences with food are accessible, personal, possible.

This isn’t a cutesie blog with giveaways and contests.

This is me talking to myself, just like I do in the kitchen.
A hoarding place, a memory, a fiery corner of my brain.

Travel

Te dejo Madrid, a tu boca de anís

Color. Contrast.
Stalwart classicism of a city defaced
by modern ideas and notions of revolution.

Madrid was just a six hour bus ride south of my home in Oviedo.
On every finde I felt its dynamic spirit coercing me to come visit.
Finally, at the end of March [2012], Annie and I meandered to the ALSA platform and hopped the next bus to Madrid.

The route was familiar, and I had it memorized by that point, as Madrid is the central mecca through which all routes pass.
Every twist through little Spanish villages, stopping to pick up frequent riders,
the gorgeous green mountainscape of the Asturian principality that welcomes you in or bids you farwell as you cross the border into stark plains of León, where the rain really does mainly stay.

We boarded with our weekend bags and an e-mail to a host from CouchSurfing, content to wander and experience Madrid as it would have us.

“A good traveler has no fixed plans
and is not intent on arriving.” 

– Lao Tzu

We wandered the streets of Madrid, exploring every little alley way.  I love the strong, looming buildings, dotted with eccentric life below.

Here are a few of our discoveries:

The Mercado de San Miguel

Great for a go at a round – or five – of tapas!  We made a few rounds just to be sure all the food was up to par and met code requirements of deliciousness.

Street Life

Spain in general has some crazy findings on the streets, but Madrid takes the cake.  Barcelona has a lot of weirdness because it’s meant to be colorful, but Madrid is just in its natural state with layers and layers of oddities.

Of course, I wouldn’t acclimate to the culture as well if I didn’t participate in the strike with the lot of them.

wheninmadrid

When in Madrid…

Bullfight

Annie was desperately looking forward to a bullfight as part of her Spain bucket list, and what better place than at the Plaza del Toros in Madrid?

The drizzle outside had a different idea.  We waited for about twenty minutes for the matador to come out in the ring, but nothing.  And then the Spaniards got passionate about their bullfight.

passionate bullfight

Don’t mess with the bullfight.

After another 15-20 minutes, an announcement came over the loudspeaker that the match was cancelled – and it had stopped raining.  Angry booing ensued and seat cushions (5€ a piece, mind you) flew overhead into the ring, until the place emptied out.

thatwentwell

Well, that went well.

…y Luego…

The rain didn’t let up much, so we popped in to get some tea at Gran Vía and did a little reading on the city while we tried to dry off and warm up.

write it out

Write it out

And what would a cold afternoon in Madrid be without some churros y chocolate?

churros y chocolate

You complete me.

CouchSurfing and the Music Scene

Our CouchSurfing host, Jay, was an incredible musician.  He and his band, Youthness, had a gig the first night that Annie and I went to support.  Jay has an incredible voice and is a ball of fire in a sweet little package.

Jay

Jay is a great artist

That night on the metro, we sang Phil Collins, “In the Air Tonight”.  He sang lead and Annie and I sang back up for kicks.  We accumulated a little immediate audience.  Every time I hear that song, I think of zooming through the Madrid underground.  Likewise, every time I think of Madrid, that song pops in my head, and I think of the good vibes at Quintana Nation (Jay’s place).

The next night, Jay took us to Café Berlin jazz club in the centro, where some of his musician friends were doing a tribute to a late Argentina jazz and blues musician. We wound upstairs and were welcome into a salon packed with some of the most talented people in Madrid.  Once again, it was a great experience.

café berlin

Café Berlin

And later that evening, we walked across the centro to BarCo, where more of his friends were playing some amazing jazz.  Annie and I had a crush on the lead singer from Portugual.  She had such presence!  I also had a crush on the Argentine trombonist.  It was a night from another realm.  I was sweating, intermingled with rhythmic bodies that felt the soul of the beats.  There was a lot of laughing, singing, swiveling, and dancing.

jazz

Fresh air after a long night of jazz and dancing!

We were pretty spent by the end of the night.

silly

A little silly

My first experience in Madrid was incredible thanks to Jay.  CouchSurfing really is the way to go to see a new side of a city!  It’s akin to running parallel to all the other tourists, but actually traveling, and seeing a world that is right below their noses that they will never experience because the places aren’t on a map.  If you head to Madrid, I definitely recommend checking out the broad music scene.

Art

We saved the masters for last.  Two trips to the Prado museum and one trip to the Reina Sofia crowned our time in Madrid.  Standing before so many masterpieces I’ve only seen in textbooks was like meeting a phantom face-to-face.  I loved the vibrant Spanish flag waving atop the Prado against the blue sky.  The Spanish deserve to be proud of the centuries of art prodigies that they boast.

Madrid is a city to be visited over and over again, and you will never see the same thing twice.  I visited a handful of times and would visit a dozen more.  It has an unspoken elegance, a pride in its history, and a claim to all things progressive and modern.