Browsing Tag

passion

Food

Food & Ardor: Free Admission

FOOD.

Chow. Fare. Eats. Bites. Grub. Cuisine (best French word, ever).  Slop. Provisions. Rations. Sustenance.  Goodies.

We all love it…well, except you weirdos who eat solely for the purpose of survival.

Pleasantly plump, like yours truly.  Thin.  Average.  Athletic.  Chunky.  Tall.  Short.

Food is always crossing our minds in some form.  We either love it, fear it, don’t trust it, or live for it.

Me?  I’m not a chef.  I view myself simply, humbly, pretty plain Jane.  I’m a woman of extremes, of passions – seemingly indecisive, but just yearning for room to fill to capacity and overflowing with everything I love and experience.

My mind is a racetrack, an obstacle course, a third grade playground.  Thoughts of walks in the forest give underdogs to a middle school slumber party, and before I have time to ask if I can play with them, they bolt over to the tetherball pole to smack around the hilarious away message on AIM from November of my freshman year in college.  Together they rally up the most endearing moments of my relationships and play Red Rover with that insane Couch Surfing experience in Madrid and the time I peed behind a twiggy bush in an alleyway in Poland; my childhood fort is left standing alone on its own team and loses.  In a flash, they all cross the monkey bars on their way to the tallest slide on the turf, taking with them all the butterflies in my stomach and the time I wore a hunter orange helmet while muddling in a jeep in the woods.  They all giggle and scream, pushing each other out of the way to race to the top of the slide and crash down in one big pile on top of my first kiss.

There is no indecisiveness here, only an index full of passion and nostalgia.

Over the past few years I have found that I can give life to nostalgia in the kitchen.

Have you ever had a Ratatouille moment?  You know, where you bite into something delicious and hitch a ride in a DeLorean back to one of the most perfect memories that recalls to your memory in that moment?  Or perhaps you’ve boarded a hovercraft and sped forward to an exotic destination you’ve always dreamed of visiting.  Maybe you’ve basked in the sun at the park and sworn you felt that beloved ex lying next to you talking or you’ve imagined yourself in Scotland on a rainy day.

If you’ve experienced any of these moments, you’ve experienced nostalgia.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford to hop a plane every time I want a moment.  I can’t always be in my childhood home, or on a Mediterranean beach with an attractive Greek man wearing linen pants and serenading me with a cello, back-dropped by an Adriatic sunset (yes, I just mixed three points of Geography there).  However, I can live in the moment.

And those moments happen in the kitchen.

They happen in every knead, punch, slice, pinch, garnish, sprinkle, degree, sear, mix, beat, fold, measure, leisurely pour.

This is a place of my experiences, my thoughts, my memories, my nostalgia, my recipes.  My delights as I listen to Enya while make pita bread at 1am during a thunderstorm.  My sorrows as I eat an entire Cadbury chocolate bar and mix a giant spoon of non-natural peanut butter into a tub of vanilla ice cream and swirl it around until my bad day disappears into a pool of melted Haagen Dazs.  My longings as I chow on a flat of fresh figs.  My quiet desires as I practice “normal ingredient” meals for the day I could be a domestic housewife.

Who am I kidding?  I’ll never be fully domesticated.  There’s too much intrigue, too much opinion for me to just sit back and make green-bean-and-cream-of-mushroom-soup casseroles all day, waiting for my husband in my pearls and vintage dress.

I don’t wear pearls.  I don’t do canned vegetables.  And chances are – if that day comes – I’ll be holding said casserole in a Le Creuset, wearing some lacy racy black get up appropriate only for maximum wear time of ten minutes or less.  Vintage schmintage.  Whoever he is, he may not like chevre and arugula, but I’m sure he won’t have a problem with it.

I’ve never been conventional.

I’m a good, wholesome girl.  But the golden sweat?  The yearning?  The flame?  The eccentricity?

Welcome to my kitchen.

Travel

Rodrigo

Comentarios Literarios Hispanoamericanos del Siglo XIX.

Sounds sexy, right?

If you don’t speak Spanish, pretend like you’re in a Taco Bell commercial, then say it again.

This class is a contradiction, like all of my experiences in Spain thus far.

The roughest class I have this semester.  Interesting, but let’s be honest: I have no idea what the Helsinki Finland is going on.  Our professor mentioned that on the final we won’t have any reading samples from what we read in class, but we will have to identify the author of readings that we did not discuss in class.  Makes sense, right?

The teacher is a beautiful Spanish woman – thin, great boobs, gorgeous mop of morning-after curls, trendy, a smooth voice and an incredible passion for her field of interest.

In this classroom we have a hearty mix of students.  There are but a couple of us that are not Spanish.  And then you have your popular Spanish girls, your awkward wannabe popular Spanish girls, your token hipster, a middle-aged non-traditional student, a couple loners, and one single male student.

This post is dedicated to him.

Rodrigo.

About a month ago, we were reading the 1839 piece “El Matador” by the Argentine author Esteban Echeverría.  I remember that day in class vividly because it was the day my innocent American hormones went AWOL and became intoxicated by the literary sangria of Spanish culture.  It was not only the first day of the semester the professor asked for class participation due to a losing battle with laryngitis, but it was the day she called on Rodrigo.

Rodrigo…Rodrigo.  Each time that name rolls around the hollow of my mouth, I trade in cotton pajamas for black lace lingerie.

Rodrigo sits in the front row every day donning his coke bottle glasses and clad in sweaters, khakis and loafers.  He nervously bounces his legs under the table as he holds a bottle of medicated lotion he frequently applies to his flaking, red, patchy, burned skin.  He’s always the first and only to interject a commentary in class.  Clearly, he spends his free time pouring over these obras with his lit major friends; everyone knows who they are because the small handful of them hang around in the hallway between classes, sitting in archaic window sills next to the classroom and chatting quietly about what I – as the daydreamy foreign student – imagine to be planning sessions for poetry reading and wine nights at a local underground bar.

They’ve got this vibe of coolness.  Geek chic.

But oh, Rodrigo.  I was on to him.  His savage afro of sandy brown curls hinted to his secret.

On that day – that day when I became a real woman – I knew why this boy’s mother named him Rodrigo.

Profesora Gil asked Rodrigo if he would read.

This sweet dork-of-a-guy pushed his glasses up high onto the bridge of his nose, stood up and walked right to the projector screen where he planted his nose so he could see the already enormous letters.

And then he began to read.

WAIT.

…what was this feeling?!?!

I lost all control over my ability to focus.

I squirmed uncomfortably in my chair.

I felt the words rip open my chest and plunge their primal hands into the core of my soul, the factory where raw emotion and carnal desire is manufactured.

melted.

I was confused.  Here I was staring at the Spanish equivalent of Steve Urkel, but having a lustful affair on my own personal cover of a Harlequin romance novel.

Rodrigo became the author with a quill by candlelight, glancing over at the love of his life wrapped in a sea of white linen, quietly resting on the bed.  Rodrigo read like a debonaire, deliciously exotic Spaniard whispering sweet nothings into my ear.  Rodrigo was Brendan Fraser taming horses in George of the Jungle, except in this version Rodrigo was taming wild lines of poetry.  (If you are unfamiliar with this scene in George of the Jungle, you must watch it…it’s a hot, comedic, melodramatic moment.)  This nerdy kid beneath the plastic frames swallowing his face transformed into the most sensual guy I’ve come across in Spain.  His voice read each word with the longing and sensuality of an unfulfilled love, holding and caressing each one individually as if each line was his lover.

Please hold while I sit very unladylike and let a draft lower my body temperature just a little before continuing.

There are no words in English or Spanish that will do justice to the beauty that Rodrigo conveyed.  His voice trumped all prejudice the world may throw at him.  Beautiful.  Tender.  Tranquilizing.

Now when I’m wandering the second floor on campus, I’m secretly hoping to catch a glimpse of him.  And when I do, I’m twittered, even if just from the mountain of respect I have for his knowledge and passion of written word, and his amazing ability to read even the most confusing texts so beautifully and deliver their meaning with such devotion.  And sensuality.  Let us not forget that little gem.

Wow.

Way to go, Rodrigo.
Ten points to Gryffindor.