Guys, I have to apologize. I am about to be a tease.
Just as corn season is ending, I’m showing off a fresh corn recipe. And not just any fresh corn recipe, but one of the most magical and confoundingly delicious things I’ve made in a very long time.
It’s a pudding made from corn–and nothing else.
I know, right?
This meal I’m going to write about was a little rite of passage. It was the first thing I cooked in my new kitchen, in my very own studio apartment.
When I was a little kid, and making my little-kid list of what Being a Grown-Up might possibly mean, high up on the list was having a living space all to myself. From the time I was 3 until the day I left for college, I shared a room with my sister. Never let it be said that I don’t love my sister–if you’re reading this, sistah, I love you–but the everyday grinding closeness, the shattering of any privacy, got under my skin in a big way.
I went to college, and had roommates and dorm-mates. I graduated and moved back home, then found other roommates. But this is the first time, ever in my life, that I have really had a complete living space that was 100 percent my own.
I’m so happy I could cry.
This weekend, I took Slow Food USA’s $5 Challenge. The gauntlet laid down: to create a delicious home-cooked meal that costs $5 or less per person.
To commemorate the occasion, I wrote a poem. It’s called Ode to the Chinese Takeout Place Near My Old Apartment:
You seduce me, you know
with your glossy nuggets of floury meat
and your vegetables, crisp then yielding
like a starchy executive in a big-screen comedy.
Day after day you whisper
down the street and around the corner
to the white-walled living room with the anemic lightbulbs
and jaundiced molding
where I’ve collapsed fresh off the train.
“Come back to me,” you murmur,
as I wonder if the kitchen wouldn’t mind just one more day of disuse.
IT’S A TRAP.
So yesterday was a pretty big deal. And I just about missed it.
I’d been thinking for ages about how to deal with September 11, 2011. The events of ten years ago have left a deep bruise-purple handprint on the psyche of an entire American generation–a generation of which I am part. But everything that could be said, has been said many times over. Anything I could say would be a whisper in an echo chamber.
So instead, I spent the day engrossed in the business of living. I woke up late and cuddled with my boyfriend; bought a purse at the local art and wine festival; played with my friend’s new kitten; watched The Matrix; ate sushi; packed for a business trip; slept. When I return from my trip, I’ll make myself a simple tuna and piquillo pepper sandwich, inspired by the one I ate on my last afternoon in Spain. I’ll call my parents. I’ll braid my hair.
Ten years ago, we questioned whether these little things might ever be so normal again. For all the intervening upheaval, they are. That’s no small triumph.
Bocadillo de Atún
Toast a slice of good crusty bread, and let it cool just until you can handle it without burning yourself. Drizzle the bread with olive oil. Cut a juicy ripe tomato in half, and rub the cut side all over one side of the bread. Spread some canned tuna on the tomato-rubbed bread, then drape a couple pieces of roasted red pepper over top. Lay two or three oil-packed anchovy fillets on top of the sandwich, then take a big bite and immediately make a mess of tuna and tomato all over your plate. So. Good.
Once again, this blogger has failed to blog on the regular. Apologies to all.
I’m currently in the process of settling into some brand-new digs. With a lovely little kitchen. That is exclusively mine.
Oh, the things I will cook. The pictures I will take. The gastronomical experiments I will try. The dustings of flour and bits of broccoli florets that will all too soon blanket this kitchen.
Once all these boxes are unpacked.