Sunday, April 19, 2009

Around the House


Robb has been experiencing very low energy and so we spent Saturday at home. Actually, I was at work at 8am, but nevermind that.

I finally took the opportunity to divide my over-crowded orchid plants, which was a huge, messy task. Let's just hope that I wasn't too ignorant about my plant care, and that all my orchids don't all drop dead from my attempts at kindness.

I made up a little spreadsheet of my orchid plants, so that I could better understand the care they are supposed to receive. I was rather appalled to realize how many plants I own that I can't name. How did I manage to lose so many nursery labels in my own house? How did I manage to lose the names of the orchids Chih gave me, twice?

I'm an idiot.

For the last few months, Robb has been on a baking spree. Baking is one of those great activities, that can include a lot of laying down and resting. In our case, both the rising dough and Robb benefit from a little rest. Unlike beer brewing, bread making fills our home with delicious smells, and gets done relatively quickly.

Too bad our apartment's oven is such a piece of junk. The oven is never the correct temperature, and to make matters worse, there's no pattern to the discrepancy. I suggested that Robb keep a log of the oven's stated and actual temperatures, and submit it to our landlords in the hopes that the building owners will buy us a new oven.

We're not holding our breath on this issue. Much like my orchid care, our apartment's owners seem to subscribe to the Benign Neglect school of thought. Having lived all over the country, I'm amazed at the lack of tenants' rights in the Bay Area. Around here, landlords aren't required to do any but the most basic upkeep. If a repair isn't an actual safety risk, it doesn't get done.

In addition to fresh bread, Robb and I also made fresh ravioli last night. Robb did most of the work, and I did the assembly. The late afternoon light was so pretty that I could not resist taking a photograph. Robb and I had just been laughing ourselves silly about our ability to introduce Cat Hair as an ingredient in any recipe. We were imagining the old Japanese episodes of Iron Chef, and doing the voice-overs for an imaginary show where Cat Hair was the key ingredient.

I think that our ability to laugh at our own failings, to get genuine joy out of something that might otherwise be stressful is one of the core strengths of our relationship.

I remember cooking pastries for one of our Baltimore New Year's Eve parties and getting so frustrated because my cookies did not look as immaculately architectural as Martha Stewart's. In an irrational frenzy, I actually threw my really rather lovely cookies across my tiny kitchen. Looking back, all I can do is laugh. The notion that a Total Cooking Dilettante like me could aspire to the level of perfection of a professional cooking magazine (with its army of trained pastry chefs and food stylists) is truly absurd. And yet, one finds one's self sucked into that Fantasy of Perfection.

So, after joking about our Cat Hair cuisine, which reigns supreme, we had a good laugh at the the idea that we might be turning into Overly Perfect Food Bloggers, who seem to spend more energy on the appearance of their cooking, rather than the flavors, or nutrition or comfort it might possess.

Who us, overly perfect?

Yeah, right. Ask us about the beautiful but (potentially) deadly farmhouse cheese we just made.


Pockafwye said...

Beer brewing, baking, and cat hair as an ingredient... sounds like our house.

Kristen said...

all right, I'll ask. Mix in a little botulism with the rennet? Or perhaps coated the rind in shoe polish instead of wax? (I read about Inishmore's spoon-worthy shoe polish--that's pretty funny.) What happened to the cheese?

Anonymous said...

Hey there guys-

Time to create a "high protien, high fiber, cat hair based cookbook"- Pet lovers all over will relate to it and enjoy- I suggest including recepies where the cat hair is both throughly hidden in the meal (beef stew) and really really apparent ( home made ravioli).

Good to hear you are cooking and baking up a storm- Gary also got really into bread making, and we found out the hard way, after lots and lots of sorry looking loaves, that the key to good bread is really great Yeast. Also, dont use any metal bowels.


Anonymous said...

metal bowels sound like a bad idea...

Anonymous said...

i meant bowls, not bowels!

Sorry! BUT having metal bowels might help to digest those aforesaid loaves of bread...


Anonymous said...

At every dinner my daughter seems go have a hairy meal. Cat hair, dog hair, her hair.... Either the rest of us just eat it and don't notice or she is just unlucky.

Larva lady-ZZ

Sue KuKu said...

Having had an ex-husband who both brewed beer and baked bread, I can attest that the smell of hops may seem great to beer brewers but the other resident is holding her nose! Bread baking is always a MUCH better smell!


Hendel D'bu said...

I just have to say that photo of the dough rising is incredible...just love it! :-)


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