Monday, August 29, 2011

Peppermills: Not All They're Cracked Up to Be


Mortar, meet pestle...
I don’t own a peppermill.  I mean, I did, but then I broke it when I dropped it not once, but twice in my tiny kitchen.  It was a gift from my brother – one of the only thoughtful ones he has produced – from Williams-Sonoma, a clear, glass mill that cracked some wonderful black pepper into every sauce, soup, and pasta that I cooked.  We were pretty good friends.

Once I dropped it, breaking it beyond repair, I was lost.  Shattered bits of glass mixed with half cracked peppercorns and I knew that life would never be the same.  How would I ever crack fresh pepper again?  I tried buying pre-ground stuff.  No good.  I priced out peppermills at the store.  They were way out of my student budget.

I looked around my kitchen, carefully eyeing my options.  There it was: my mortar and pestle.  I took the peppercorns and started to smash, grind, and pummel them into a fine powder fit to coat any chicken breast steak.  Instead of a few quick turns of the peppermill, I now spent around ten minutes working my upper body ragged to obliterate the tiny black grains that shoot all over, falling into every crevice in my kitchen.  It felt wrong, but it felt good.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Vacation Post-Partum...

I'm trying...
After a week in Italy, traipsing along the Amalfi Coast, eating pizza in Naples, and tanning in Capri, who can blame a guy for lacking the motivation to return to the real world?  So far, after one full day of being home, this is as far as I got on my "To Do List" and I'm not ashamed.  I probably need some motivation, but it will come once everyone starts returning from les vacances and Paris is alive again.

There are plenty of things to anticipate.  The fall will arrive in a month or so.  My favorite bakery will open back up and I can indulge in the best escargot pistache in town.  School will start up again before we know it. 

But something tells me that it will be hard to forget the plunging seaside cliffs and umbrella-covered beaches of Italy, the never-ending gelato, and the seaside Camparis that filled a week of wonderment.





Saturday, August 6, 2011

A Summer Fling All'italiano

Cheating with Italy?  Could be a clue...
It’s August and, as part of Parisian protocol, I’m supposed to leave the city.  At the end of every summer, the Parisians flock elsewhere – the Atlantic coast, the Riviera, Italy, Tunisia, New York, wherever they can to get away from the City of Light that slowly but surely is dimmed by an influx of European and North American tourists doing the reverse trajectory.  I resisted baselessly, asserting to stay in the city that I loved during a month when my favorite bakery is closed, when most of my friends are gone, and when the heat – usually – turns my apartment into a sleepless sweaty box that smells primarily of onions and fabric softener.

True love knows no bounds.