Seasonal affective disorder

March 15, 2010 · 11 comments


Yes, it’s that time of year again, friends. That tail-end of a season, when everyone is sick to death of the weather, the monotony, the waiting — waiting for change, for the promise of new activities, anything that’s different from what we’ve been doing for the past three months. Waiting for time spent outdoors, for different clothes, for the excuse to be social again, for a new landscape, and — of course — for new food.

I don’t know about you, but I get to a point of desperation right about now. It happens at the end of both summer and winter, equally. Right now, I’m supposed to be planning our dinner menu for the week — and it’s even only a half-week, since we’re traveling this weekend for a family wedding — but I can honestly quote the Ryan Adams song that’s currently (and appropriately) being piped out of my iPod right now — I’m really dying here. Three meals, that’s it. And I’m at a total loss. I don’t want to eat anything that we’ve been rotating in our plan since New Year’s. Don’t want to roast another chicken. No more lentils, sweet potatoes, or winter squash. I refuse to cream chicken, make tomato soup, or a come up with yet another random take on the quesadilla. I’m even sick of arugula — are you taking me seriously now?

Come to think of it, the only thing I’m not sick of is pizza. I’m just sick of making it.

So, what to do? Throw in the towel, and grab take-out for three nights? Somehow, like the spurned lover in the movie who ends up with a bad one-night stand, I doubt that would solve anything — only eat up our tiny eat-out budget for a cheap thrill. And I tend to guard that eat-out cash with a chastity belt.

Ok, so I do have one idea. I saw this post from David Lebovitz, and while — yes — it’s basically roasted chicken, it seems new enough to me to suffice (not to mention the word “caramelized,” which gets me every time).  I just happened to pick up a cut-up roaster this weekend at the farmer’s market, and have some shallots sitting around waiting to be utilized. So that gets me started, but then I get stuck. Since it’s a whole chicken, unless we have last-minute guests, we’ll end up with leftovers. And this is the part I can’t take — I need something new to do with the leftover chicken. The leftover chicken has me near a panic attack, right now.

The thing is, it’s not like I’m just sitting around waiting for tomatoes. I’m not sure what I want, I just know it’s something different. I’m so utterly uninspired in my kitchen right now, I have nothing at all to say. I’m going through motions — making the bread, the yogurt, the almond butter, all of those things that we need on a daily basis. But when it comes time for dinner, I’m just so uninterested. And — is it just me, or does it seem that the rest of the food-blogging world is in a similar mood? Maybe I’m reading my own apathy into the posts of others, but there just hasn’t seemed to be much going on in the world of food (or rather, the world of those who obsessively write about it).

But then, this morning, my friend Liz posted a link to the art of a guy named Christoph Neimann — this link particular to his love of coffee, illustrated on napkins. They are beautiful, funny, and familiar — and totally made my morning, as I drank — of course — my coffee, the coffee that I love. So not only can I be reminded that there’s actually always something to enjoy eating, no matter the time of year or level of seratonin — but I can also rest assured that the love of a food can perennially inspire great things, even on the face of a napkin.

Thanks, Liz — you saved the day. Looking so forward to drinking a cup of coffee with you on Friday morning! (Er, you will have coffee, won’t you???)

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Liz March 15, 2010 at 11:54 pm

Of course! And now I can confess that I’ve been in a similar rut, and I asked Brett maybe, I don’t know, a billion times yesterday, “What do I make for the Carters Thursday night?!” I so wanted to be good and seasonal in my selection and use some of the great little tips you’ve taught me through this blog. End result? I’m sort of pulling from all seasons, falling back on standbys that I know my family likes, and I’m pretty sure your family will, too. No chicken, but it does involve the other white meat, some sweet potatoes, and a spring vegetable–I’ll keep you guessing on that last one.
And yes, coffee on Friday morning– lots.
Cannot wait to see you.

Rebecca Martin March 16, 2010 at 9:20 am

Hear, hear. It was so good to get out of town for a few days just now to get away from having to cook more winter food. (I made the restaurants do it for me.)

Katy and Elizabeth drinking coffee together: that is a lovely picture in my mind. What fantastic people to be together in a room!

katy March 16, 2010 at 9:32 am

Liz, even if you’d decided on chicken, it would have by nature been different than any chicken dish I’ve been repeating for the entire winter, and moreover I would not be making it, so I am so looking forward to eating it — the dinner sounds perfect! Also, remind me to tell you the very funny dream I had about our visit.

Rebecca, wanna join us? It’s just a jaunt to rural Ohio, isn’t it? ; )

Rebecca Martin March 16, 2010 at 3:42 pm

You bet I want to join you.

nan March 16, 2010 at 9:05 pm

if rebecca comes, i’m coming too.

katy March 16, 2010 at 9:27 pm

Nan — Liz and I alone weren’t good enough?

CK March 16, 2010 at 10:42 pm

I don’t even know Liz or Nan and I wanna be there. Son of a bee sting!(which is Waits’s most recent favorite epithet, and he made it up himself, no lie.)

Liz Wiley March 17, 2010 at 7:33 am

You area all welcome to join us! Old friends and new.

Liz Wiley March 17, 2010 at 10:48 am

.. and I’m going to borrow the “son of a bee sting.”

katy March 17, 2010 at 5:13 pm

That Waits — humor beyond his years. He should trademark the saying, and start saving for college.

CK March 17, 2010 at 10:59 pm

Well, thanks to A. A. Milne and the original Pooh, Waits now thinks that anything having to do with bees is funny. Not looking forward to the day that he actually encounters a real, live bee and finds out that it’s not a bunch of laughs.

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