I don’t acknowledge Labor Day as the end of summer, despite school starting, linen sales, and earlier sunsets. However, we’re almost to the autumnal equinox. The last of the tomato plants and chiles should be addressed, and it’s blessedly cool this morning. I also recognize that I haven’t written in some time. There are two reasons for this. First, this summer has been ridiculously busy. Second, heat impacts my ability to think clearly. We have tales to tell though, and list form will expedite things.

  1. Professor X caught the cooking bug. His skills were already solid, but he took the helm infrequently. Sometime in July, a series of conditions converged. My culinary inspiration petered out due to work and a scalding summer. We got an Amazon gift card for our wedding, with which we bought a small grinder and a carafe to fit the ancient blender I inherited from my grandmother. And oddly enough, Professor X discovered solace from work chaos in chopping, blending, and frying. He stuck to our usual repertoire of dishes for a while, but found additional inspiration when he rediscovered the cookbooks his mom gifted him for his move to the States. As it turns out, Professor X is a stellar cook; sometimes scattered – he forgets where he is in a recipe and still doesn’t trust himself to salt a dish properly – but that’s part of the adventure. I usually sit at the table with a glass of wine and read the steps to him.
  2. Professor X has become obsessed with cured meats, so much that we joke about his Plan B – salummelier. It’s like a sommelier, but with meat. It comes as news because he’s been wary of such things after a disturbing confrontation with pepperoni in 2008. Apparently the cashier told him that it needed to be cooked, when, in fact, it didn’t. Well, at least not cooked like he did at the time – fried in a pan. It was also the kind that needed to be peeled of its casing beforehand; a fact mentioned by neither the cashier nor the deli guy despite Professor X’s inquiry about the product.
  3. Confession #1: After much field work, we’ve concluded and accepted that there isn’t pastry or cake worth a good god damn in Corvallis. Sure, Fred Meyer tiramisu is tasty enough. Market of Choice’s pear tarts will do. Sugoi – the new conveyor sushi joint – had chocolate mousse cake that was competitive enough, but really? We have to go to a sushi place for decent cake? Neither of us can pin down exactly what it is about the sweets around here, only that it just isn’t happening. Corvallis folks, please don’t rise up with your opinions under the guise of being helpful. New Morning Bakery sucks. Gathering Together at the farmers market is too hit or miss. Professor X and I are city people. We want the pastry we want when we want it, and we want it sinfully based in classical baking principles. No more of this healthy version shit. I also don’t want to queue for half an hour behind every sun-wizened couple with five freckled kids only to find that everything is gone. And speaking of the farmers market…
  4. Confession #2: We’ve also admitted that, while we love the farmers market, Saturday between 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. is not possible. We aren’t even human during those hours, let alone possessed of sufficient cognition to either plan the week’s menu beforehand or be able to plan on the fly. It’s a shame because the quality and prices can’t be beat, especially when considered with the other grocery options around here, but we’ve stopped feeling guilty or honestly considering a church conspiracy. We’ll get there if the mood strikes.
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