November 28, 2012
And just like that, I’m back in Paris.
I know, I had just arrived in Nice when I posted, and I had been intending to stay for at least another month. So what caused my precipitous departure from the French Riviera?
My apartment was robbed.
It happened while I was out at a café, leeching off their wifi and posting about salmon. I came home and saw that drawers were open and things seemed messier than how I’d left them… and the windows were all open… and the closets had been rifled through… and there were muddy boot prints leading from the tiny window in the bathroom, which I saw now had a broken latch.
On the one hand, I was grateful that I wasn’t home when the break-in happened. Intellectually, I knew that the last thing a robber wants is for residents to be home when he’s about his thievery. On the other hand, I was still scared. Scared that whomever it was would come back for more (since I’d taken almost all of my electronics — anything of decent value — with me), and this time I’d be around for them to hurt. I called the gentleman and the friend from whom I was renting the apartment, packed up my things, and found a hotel room. Only after I got into the room did I see that my mascara had run and I looked like the star of a bad 90’s music video featuring a pop star with a no-good cheating boyfriend.
I felt violated. I had started to make a home for myself there, albeit a temporary one, and good homes are extensions of ourselves. I had even roasted a chicken in the kitchen the day before. Is there anything more homey than roasting a chicken on an Sunday?
So now I’m back, sooner than expected, trying to create some normality around me. Maybe I’ll roast another chicken tomorrow.
October 31, 2012
My boss once said to me, “You know, you are probably the most outwardly normal-seeming person who is actually completely batshit insane.” He said something on this order once a month or so, usually because I had said something heavily nerdy, such as reciting the first few lines of The Canterbury Tales in Middle English, or was eating something that he considered weird, such as raw corn on the cob or roasted bone marrow. Nothing like walking into the office and seeing your assistant chowing down on a hunk of cow bone.
Bone marrow is one of those divisive dishes. You either get it or you don’t. I’ve been trying to convert people to the gospel of marrow for years now, ever since I read about it in college and immediately went out to the local grocery store and to roast my own. “It’s like warm, gelatinous, beefy butter!” I would say. I would get weird looks.
Later, via Anthony Bourdain, I learned to pair my marrow with a parsley salad, dressed simply in lemon juice and shallots. Later still, I began experimenting with that salad and have landed on something a bit more peculiar, with a base of fig-infused white wine vinegar and minced preserved lemons for a citrusy kick. It cuts through the unctuous fattiness of the marrow perfectly.