A return to food

As we adjust to our new life, in our new apartment, with our magical refrigerator that actually keeps fresh food alive for more than 30 seconds*, we continue our human habit of consuming daily meals. Saturday was shopping day, but I didn’t end up cooking until Sunday. It was just as well, since it gave me an opportunity to compare and contrast eating out with eating in.

The result: there is no comparison to be made.

Saturday’s supper came from a sammich outlet that’s new to Toronto, and is supposed to be exceptionally tasty. I was underwhelmed in the moment, and subsequently poisoned by the shitty iceberg lettuce they used on a $9 sammich. That lettuce was a mistake on everybody’s part. We shouldn’t have ordered it (I’m allergic, the Fella forgot that part in his fervor to remember my order), but they should at least be serving Romaine. For $9 christing bucks!

Also, the bun had cornmeal on the bottom. The whole place is basically Emily-poison.

Then came Sunday, and a 2.5 hour stint of prep work. Please note that the length of time spent was at least as much to do with being relegated to the world’s smallest cutting board teetering on the edge of a stove burner as it was with the volume of actual work. That is to say, the kitchen counter’s small, and I’ve only just rigged up a roomier worksurface. Anyway, I made a big cabbage salad that needed to sit in the fridge and think about things before being eaten, and also Sunday night’s supper.

To call myself a genius may be overstating things a bit, but I have to say that I’m extremely proud of the result of Sunday’s culinary improv, and am not shy to share. The aforementioned salad called for fresh basil, just not an entire bunch. So I decided to turn the rest of the bunch into some breed of pesto-like sauce, which I would serve over baked barley and chickpeas, and garnish the whole shebang with some fried mushrooms and halved grape tomatoes.

I needed more green stuff to fill out the pesto. Since I’d also bought a bunch of radishes, replete with edible greens, I used those. I also used the green tops of a bunch of green onions, on account of the other thing I needed them for didn’t need the green bits. All of that, along with a wee bit of diced jalapeno (another leftover), one clove of garlic, some oil, some vinegar and some seasonings got blitzed up into green goo. Come suppertime, it got poured over the warm barley, and mixed up with the chickpeas, mushrooms and tomatoes.

You guys, it was like eating heaven.

Perhaps it only tasted better in comparison with the previous night’s ‘meal’, or maybe the wine was hitting especially hard. It was fresh, tasty, and I felt like I was eating the best thing I possibly could in the moment. Even afterwards, when we polluted ourselves with some cake from the bakery down the street, I thought back to supper and said, ‘Man! That was a really good supper.’ Just thinking back about it now makes me nostalgic for the beginning of the week.

As we head into growing season for our neck of the woods, I look forward to more moments like that. Winter’s great and all, with its soups and stews and chilis, but sometimes you want to have to work for your food. The effort involved in making and eating a great salad truly is its own reward.

*Like I told the Fella, we’re not touching settings for this device. It works perfectly, and has a giant crisper drawer with an adjustable humidity slider. Due to the variety in our veg, the slider is best left around mid-way along. So far, it keeps leafies and carrots alike crisp and happy – my excitement is incalculable.