With Sage Enough, and Thyme
And one of the further benefits of being in my own damn house for the holidays is one that I didn't really consider until after our return from the mountains: cooking! My own food! So last night we had spaghetti with turkey meatballs and I made a version of Senor Fluff's favorite--a spice cake. Thanks to epicurious, I managed a version of the gingerbread cake with vanilla cream cheese frosting (and for the record, whoever is responsible for the KitchenAid stand mixer should be canonized). Right now, I've got a chicken roasting, with garlic and olive oil pushed under its skin. Anyone ever done that? There's something all-too-prurient about it. I felt like I was violating the chicken. But garlic roast chicken? Sorry, poultry. Take one for the team. In addition, I've got a pan of my mother's herb stuffing waiting to be baked. I went the foo-foo route and actually bought fresh herbs (something that was unheard of during my childhood). Halfway through, I remembered that I had a food processor and could have avoided interminable chopping, but I think it will be tasty, nonetheless. Finally, I'm planning on doing up some brussels sprouts with pancetta, a la Giada, which I caught on Food Network the other day. In short, there's little like cooking for yourself and your loved one, all the stuff you love to eat. Oh, there will be hell to pay come tomorrow at the gym, (and when Senor F. sees the pile of pans in the sink), but nothing says mine like a house filled up with smells of my own creation. Eew. I mean the food, of course.
I'd never really thought about the therapeutic benefits of cooking during the holidays. I suppose it's because the experience at other people's houses is never so relaxing. I don't know where anything is, the tools are never quite right (I want a sharp knife, dammit!), and things that are ever so basic to me (hmm, bean and rice burritos, anyone?) are exotic to my relatives (you're not going to fry the tortillas?). But here, everything I want is at my fingertips (or, at least, I know what I don't have. Damn missing dishwasher.) And thus, the methodical assemblage of food becomes meditative, creative, yummy. Holidays at home: 5. Holidays away: 0.
I have a sinking feeling that we'll be traveling again next year, so I'm trying to enjoy every single minute of my holiday of freedom. And if that means cooking and eating and reading and drinking coffee and watching five seasons of Angel on DVD, then so be it.
Yup. you heard me. Five seasons.