Summer blues

August 14, 2007 · 2 comments

I’m in a food rut.

This happens at the lingering, ruthless tail-end of both summer and winter, without fail. Just when I think I can’t take the heat (or cold) for one more day, I start to despise the bounty of the season as well. In the month of February, I begin to be repelled by the very sight of a root vegetable. During the month of August, although tomatoes are still in full-swing (I ironically haven’t been able to get my hands on any home-grown ones lately, hence the delay of the ever-awaited Tomato Pie), my body takes a stand, my tastebuds boycotting ONE MORE BITE of summer squash.

The chain-reaction gets more complex. Being a person who likes order in life (only slightly understated), I like to prepare a menu for our household each week. I actually have two spiral-bound notebooks full of our weekly menus, dating back to 2003, the first one begun after I birthed our first child (anecdotally, my husband has pulled these notebooks out on at least one occasion for the entertainment of our guests, and duly, much laughter and disbelief ensued). I usually prepare these menus on Sunday night or Monday morning so that I can carry an accurate list with me to the grocery. During these weeks of food blues, I begin to dread Sunday night. It’s almost like the first trimester of pregnancy, when most foods repel me — I literally cannot think of a single thing I want to eat. I get this menu brain-fog, and my mind can only circle back to things we’ve eaten what seems like a hundred times since May, and my stomach lurches. Thankfully, my anal-retentiveness helps me here, for I can look back to the month of August in each of the previous four years, and be reminded of a dish that can save our family from starvation. Or, worse, yet another Golden Bowl (yes, one can even grow weary of The Fabulous Grit).

Last night, the menu called for our fifth revisit of a (normally) very lovely recipe from Everyday Food called Lentil Salad with Bacon. I walked into the kitchen at around 5 o’clock, took the bag of lentils down from the cupboard, and my body atrophied. I just couldn’t do it. Tim was due home within the hour with our box of produce, but that would be too late for dinner preparation. So, in a swift decision of negligible consequences, I decided that the evening’s meal would consist of a Clean-Out-The-Fridge recipe. This is pretty self-explanatory: whatever’s left in our refrigerator gets turned into a meal. Sometimes the results are odd, but edible, and other times the results are quite lovely. Lasts night I had a quarter-head of cauliflower, an onion, a can of chickpeas, and some frozen green beans. When in doubt, make a curry. I dug around in my overcrowded freezer (Tim told me yesterday that I’m a frozen-goods packrat) and found — YES! — a frozen half-can of coconut milk. The curry was complete. We ate it over leftover rice, and while the process wasn’t really worth jotting down, we (even Ada) consumed it without complaint.

An update on Tomato Pie: we found a guy. He’s got an organic farm co-op, and told Tim he might have a few extra tomatoes this week. We’ve set our Annual Tomato Pie With The Thompsons date for Thursday, and I only need 2 pounds, so our fingers are crossed. More to come.

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