December 2, 2012
It’s been a weird week. On top of hightailing it back to Paris after the break-in, I came home to a very sick dude who required lots of love and tea and homemade chicken noodle soup (coming eventually). My comfort comes from elsewhere.
I have a love affair with diners. On early afternoons on Saturdays or Sundays back in LA, after rolling out of bed, I would take a thick book to Rae’s or Bobby’s or whatever other first-name-apostrophe-s greasy spoon was closest and served never-ending coffee. I would order bacon soft, eggs over easy, hash well-done, and wheat toast with butter and jam. I would sit there at the counter and eat and read and drink coffee until I was gently vibrating in my seat. After a while, the waitresses stopped asking me if I wanted more coffee and just poured more whenever they happened by. Then they stopped asking me what I wanted to order and just brought me the usual. Once, I leant a copy of Infinite Jest to a Bobby’s waitress. Another time, a server at Rae’s let me borrow her copy of Maus. I liked being alone around people. This is how I would reset before the onrushing work week, and now I guess this is how I reset when life gets fuzzy around the edges.
Breakfast in America is as close to those diners as I’m going to find in this city. Heinz ketchup and French’s yellow on the table, bacon and eggs and pancakes and burgers on the menu (though with the shocking omission of biscuits and gravy). Purportedly bottomless cafe americain.
November 15, 2012
We are creatures of habit in this apartment. As soon as we wake up, I walk over to the stove and make scrambled eggs for the gentleman: two eggs, a swirl of cream, seven grinds of pepper, a scattering of allumettes of crispy bacon. Quickly broken up with a spatula and stirred over the lowest possible heat until they’re just cooked but still a bit wet, served with a mug of iced tea. We both catch up on the news and emails that have accumulated in the night, we get ready for the day, and when the gent leaves for the office, I make myself some oatmeal.
For a long time, my oatmeal was a variation of the gentleman’s preferred breakfast. I scattered a little cooked bacon into my oatmeal with seven grinds of pepper and a good amount of salt and cooked an egg over-easy and let the yolk run all over and into the oatmeal. But lately I’ve been wanting something sweet with my coffee, and to keep myself from eating cookies for breakfast, I’ve turned to this: oatmeal with homemade apple butter.
I originally made this apple butter for that party last weekend, to pair with salty cheeses and buttery foie gras, but it works equally well here. It’s like a grown-up version of that instant apple-cinnamon oatmeal that I’m sure lots of us relied upon in college for non-ramen sustenance. For me, the nuts and cream are crucial for texture and mouthfeel, but feel free to leave them out if you’re into pure unadulterated apple-cinnamon oatiness.
October 29, 2012
Like Elaine from Seinfeld, I’ve always been something of a man’s woman. I have a lot of dude friends and not too many girlfriends. In fact, I remember in first grade that my two best friends were boys. I still talk to both of them on occasion. One is an expat in Vienna and other brews beer. Apparently first-grade me knew how to pick ‘em.
But I do crave female company a lot of the time, especially here where friends are precious and few. There’s nothing quite like girl talk. There’s that ineffable quality in women, especially in gossipy one-on-one sessions, that makes me open up a little more than I am usually wont.
Ariane is one of the first friends I met after moving to Paris. She’s an artist. I have never seen her without some kind of sketchbook in her bag or in her hand.
October 19, 2012
I made and ate these pancakes at 4pm on a weekday afternoon. Afterwards, I texted the gentleman to say that I had made the best pancakes I had ever tasted, but they weren’t any left for him because I ate the whole batch. You see what this guy has to put up with?
This is another recipe from the accidental goodness chronicles. I wanted pancakes. I had figs and hazelnuts. I was short on flour so I added some cornmeal.
The figs stayed in big, ripe chunks that made some bites of these pancakes deliciously juicy. The hazelnuts provided some up-front crunch, with the cornmeal playing backup toothsomeness. They were, in the words of GLaDOS, a triumph.