Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 11

Hi.

Coffee: Sumatra Medium Dark, Trader Joe’s Brand; about done with this batch. I’ve been drinking less coffee lately. Down to a cup or two (though I still brew strong). It picks me up without dropping me after. Anyway, the Sumatra has a taste like lead pencils. Like you took all your number two’s from after the EOG’s and boiled them. Like you’re over one hump, about to climb the next one. It’s smooth, its bitter, it creeps up on you.

I cooked a big batch of pasta for the week and now my fingers smell like garlic. The pan I usually use was in the dishwasher. I could have washed it but I didn’t want to take the effort. So I cooked my veggies and soy hamburger in the wok. At the end, I tossed it in sauce. It worked better than I’d expected. That said, the mushrooms are a little undercooked.

So far, it’s been a week of canceled plans. None of us can fit our schedules together. That’s left me in those hazy spaces of ‘I might have something to do.’ You can’t move on. You’re stuck in the expectation of something that could happen. Times like that, I like to cook. Cook and eat, eat and cook. It’s a simple sense of accomplishment. My tastebuds are always available. They give immediate commentary.

That’s all I’ve got tonight. I’m off to wait on more responses, more loose threads. Whether anything answers, who knows? In the meantime, I’ve got some orange marmalade. Think I’ll toast some bread.

Novel Count: 29,630

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami; FINISHED!

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I began by preparing my pasta: my deft fingers forming the intricate shapes of rigatoni, ravioli, spiralli, spaghetti, cannelloni, and linguini. Then I would brew sauces of sardines, or anchovies or zucchini or sheep’s cheeses, of saffron, pine nuts, currants, and fennel. These I would simmer in the huge iron cauldrons, which were constantly bubbling above the fire.

Lily Prior, La Cucina


Coffee Log, Day 312

Hi.

Coffee: Cafe Pajaro Extra Dark, Trader Joe’s Brand

There’s an animal conservatory in Caswell County, not too far from where I used to live. It takes in animals that are abandoned or rescued and not safe to keep anywhere else. It has lions. Today, one of those lions got loose while it’s cage was being cleaned. It killed a young woman who’d been interning there for two weeks before being shot and killed itself. A tragedy, but an all-around innocent one.

When I was 15, I got invited to play with lion cubs. The then-wife of a friend of my father’s worked in conservation. She’d take the wild animals to her home to nurse them until they were fit to ship to wherever. Fifteen years ago, she was nursing two cubs.

I sat on the floor and let the lions walk over me. They made little growls that sounded like a frustrated raccoon. You were supposed to pet them rough – if you were gentle, you were prey. So I slapped the cubs on the tops of their heads. Their fur was wiry. Their bodies were muscle. It felt like cheating – like I’d been let in on some secret the world saves for its gentler species, something off-limits for all-consuming humanity.

Tonight, I cooked a feast. My parents gave me a wok for Christmas. It was a thoughtful gift. I spent an hour seasoning the wok with oil and green onions and ginger. I cleaned it over and over to get the factory oil off. Then, when it was ready, I tossed together vegetables, onions, more aromatics – fresh basil – and tried flash-frying tofu. I finished the dish with chili paste.

The dinner was good. Bloodless. There’s no sin in a wild animal picking it’s game. There’s no real sin in a human embracing her wild tendencies. But I’d like to think I’m a little better than the lions because – when given the choice – I’ll choose not to eat them. It’s a lonely world, artificially pure, privileged, but that’s also what makes it kind of divine.

Novel Count: 8,178

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami; Four chapters in and it’s consciously meandering. Jury’s out if it ends up anywhere interesting.

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Did you think the lion was sleeping because he didn’t roar?

Frederich Schiller