I don’t mind eating alone — in fact, sometimes it’s one of my especial pleasures to sit down with a glass of wine and a little dish of pistachio nuts and the Sunday paper with dinner (often, a pot of soup) quietly bubbling away on the stove behind me. I savor my quiet time, listening to the birds settle in for the night and watching the fog drift in through my neighborhood like so much smoke. I’ll turn on the classical music station, sip my wine, nibble a bit of cheese, and really there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.
Then there are meals shared, out, when you start with a gin and tonic or two before moving on to freshly made pasta and glasses of red wine, which are equally as lovely though in a different way. Maybe a salad to start or a plate of slow-cooked, creamy polenta topped with the kind of portabello mushrooms that slip off your fork they’re so tender. Pastries after or a slice of flourless chocolate cake nestled alongside a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, melting and sweet. Mint tea back at home to help ease the way into sleep.
And then there are the meals shared with some of your favorite people on a porch in upstate New York, a baby alternately sleeping or babbling nearby, homemade wine, lots of hummus, and the Greek radio station playing through the Internet. As I’ve been enjoying a few of these in the past few days I have to admit this is my absolute favorite meal right now: so much good food and best friends and a cool breeze lifting the leaves of the trees on the front lawn; a feeling of spring all ’round.
The food, of course, has been delicious and plentiful but it’s true the company makes the meal and I’ve been lucky enough to have experienced some of the very best.
Usually whenever I come to Rochester there’s a lot of eating (this morning: eggs scrambled with feta and a bit of tahini I put on mine at the end which was surprisingly very good, toast, lots of coffee, Greek cookies, various spreads including but not limited to Nutella, juice), a lot of lounging about, a lot of drinking coffee, some wine, a dvd or two watched on the computer, maybe a trip to Home Depot (tradition, you know). This time there has been the added component of a one-month-old and I think he’s made my trip even more wonderful, if that’s even possible.
For Memorial Day we did a little bit of grilling on the new grill. I hung out with the baby for a decent part of the afternoon and then made a couscous salad (just couscous with cucumber, feta, halved cherry tomatoes, chickpeas, garlic olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper) and helped make a few skewers (tofu, pepper, tomato, and mushroom for me; the same with chicken I — yes! I did! — marinated quickly in soy sauce and olive oil). There was also homemade leek pita, hummus, olives, cookies, cake and did I mention I’ve been eating a lot? I think we were all starving from having skipped lunch and so ate it all pretty fast — and it was all so good.
I can’t wait to visit my farmers’ market again this weekend after a too-long hiatus (will the fingerlings be in, I wonder? And how much chard can I reasonably buy without seeming completely obsessed?) and there is a deadline looming in less than a week I must attend to. I miss my city by the bay but oh! It will be so hard to leave here. And not just because of the food.