Kale sauteed with sesame oil and red pepper flakes, toast with olive taupenade and avocado, dal from a can when it’s last minute and I’ve been reading about Indian cooking all day in a novel. I am hungry for what the main character eats as he grieves for his father. Pad See Ew from a restaurant that—from the outside—looks too dark to be true. Shepherd’s pie with lentils instead of lamb, cooked in the long afternoon before a show in our apartment. I mashed the potatoes with a whisk and said, “You know, this is fitting, because wherever I’ve lived, I’ve made this for my favorite people.” I didn’t realize it until I said it but it’s true, it’s a total tribe food. One of the members of a band set to play that night quietly came up to me and told me it was a relief to eat something grounding, because they’d been on tour and one of the most disconcerting aspects was “eating garbage.” All my life I think this will be one of my favorite sights: people waking on futons and coming in from the cold and eating all at different times, standing around, something hot.
Polenta with butternut squash, fig compote, and caramelized onions with my father, talking about family or architecture or the divine coincidence that always seems to color his life. Lamb stew with him near the Inner Harbor, in a restaurant whose windows he once repaired. He got a Guinness which reminded me of Adrian referencing “the milkshake of beers,” which in turn, reminded me of the afternoon she, Sweeney, Lyndel and I split steaks and talked about what it means to be able to write a sentence. Drunk well before dark, practically able to watch the grass grow at Pratt, that spring was so lush.
Sal and I made “magic bars” one afternoon, modeled after the ones at a cafe down the street, layering coconut, smashed graham crackers, chocolate chips and evaporated milk. Talking about variations. Talking about food with unattractive names: Dump cake. Garbage soup. Later, I re-read parts of Dinners and Nightmares and cringed for the thousandth time at the name “menstrual pudding” applied to a tomato-potato dish. I ordered two raw oysters at the dark wooden bar where Dave tends bar and had my feelings about them confirmed—It’s not the taste of oysters I like, necessarily, with which I’m actually always somewhat repulsed. Rather, they give me a dizzy, elevated feeling in my stomach and my head. It’s like taking a big mouthful of the sea and falling in love at the same time and trying to hold it all in.
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