I cannot go any further without mentioning my favourite biscuit of all time, now sadly, tragically, extinct. The oaty, crumbly, demerara notes of the long-forgotten Abbey Crunch will remain forever on my lips. I loved the biscuit as much as anything I have ever eaten, and often, in moments of solitude, I still think about its warm, buttery, sugary self.
~ Nigel Slater
That’s been my word these two months.
I’ve been thinking about it at work, sitting at my desk several stories above the traffic whizzing by below; standing in the lift feeling my head float a little from zooming up and down so many floors; sitting in meetings with coffee listening to others speak (thinking to myself that I have so much to learn yet).
I’ve been thinking about it since the earthquake, of course, like the rest of New Zealand – on one hand unable to empathise in full, on the other knowing exactly what it feels like to have relief and joy leap to your throat when you see your friend from Christchurch standing in one piece post-quake in the airport (Ian, yes, in all seriousness thank you for staying alive)… and to love a country with pride (thank you, my adopted land)!
I thought about it when I got two handwritten letters in the post from two sweet friends of mine; letters have a wonderful way of combining the elements of friendship, reality, dreams and sweetness.
… and loads of other things these two months. New acquaintances, chance happenings, a black tie event, a summer jazz festival, unwanted attention, a book on “optimal experience”, dancing, a conversation in Mandarin, discussions over dinner, light-headedness from red wine, happiness from venison pie, reading the news, shopping for bedsheets, etc etc etc… have all been lessons in perspective.
I realise that everything in life is rather important, but at the end of it all, I don’t need a lot of it. I like the good things: my job, having a salary, good food, spicy syrah, laughing beneath moonlight. I feel the bad things: some days I feel like the universe conspires against me, I wake up displaced, I go to bed sad or missing my ex. But really… when it comes down to it…
But in a lot of things… it doesn’t matter. Joys and sorrows are present for all. All I really need is people to love – whether they love me back or not – and the ability to make light of every single situation; the strength to pursue people and things in order of their importance, without using them to fulfil my expectations/needs and without holding bitterness in my heart if they should depart. Oh, and constant learning – about people, Google Analytics, South African culture, anything I can possible enlarge my world with. These are really the best things. Right up there with a fresh slice of tarte aux pommes and a steaming mug of chocolat chaud in Paris in Winter…
Anyway. I so meant to write a post about the challenges of cooking for one with an electric stove… but I guess the above musing post kind of wrote itself. It’s late and I should get to bed.
Tonight’s dinner was prawns with sweet peppers from La Cigale, cayenne pepper, dried basil and lemon juice served atop a bed of angel hair :-) I’ve enjoyed the last few days of eating out at the likes of Iguacu, Rosehip, Sri Mahkota… but it was nice too to come home and just experiment with the ol’ electric stove. Must admit I miss having people to cook for, Moore Wilsons and the wonderness that was my old kitchen in Wellington though!! In other news, I shall REALLY have to be more strict with my budget again henceforth… maybe a series of “how to cook with less $” is in order?
My mother in law has an electric stove and the thing just frightens me. I love to cook but I know that an electric stove makes cooking a bit difficult.
sounds like you are settling in and yum venison pie !! bring on winter
The one downside of moving to my (otherwise awesome) flat was leaving behind the gas stove. This one is awful and the front 2 elements basically have only 1 setting: burn-everything-to-a-crisp-super-high. But I’ve slowly made adjustments in the way I cook that I hardly notice it anymore. Funny how we sort of tweak everyday things to fit in to the greater shape of our lives. Sounds like Auckland is keeping you busy, and on the whole treating you well :)
Lovely words. I think lots of people have had a perspective shake-up in the last couple of weeks…myself included…
Your travels sound amazing, making me so excited for my own! :) And yes, the cooking on a budget is an issue now (saving for trip) and will still be afterwards (overseas spending comedown)!!
This… is a really thoughtful (and awesome) post.
And well said about Moore Wilsons. :-)
Thanks Brad. Oh, I am looking at coming down again to Welly sometime for Moore Wilsons… I mean, to see my friends….
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