the wandering homebody


the best i could do
03/16/2011, 10:13 pm
Filed under: everyday life, food

I was going to bake a pie for Monday — pie for Pi Day. I had it all planned out,  how I would carefully look through this cookbook and finally get some use out of it, how I would try two different pie crust recipes and compare them. How I would patiently cut butter into the flour by hand and work it in until just combined; perhaps pull out some of the blackberries we picked the week before the wedding and froze for “later”. The lattice crust I would make. I even thought about venturing out for pie weights, although I have a sneaking suspicion that dried chickpeas probably do the exact same thing at a fraction of the cost. I was going to write about the pie café I dream of one day opening, with handmade quilts and milk served in mason jars and a wall full of books.

Instead, I spent the weekend unsuccessfully fighting off a cold, battling insomnia (very rare for me), and worrying endlessly about Japan. I gorged on news updates and YouTube videos. Thankfully, we don’t have a TV; I would probably have kept it on day and night. I thought about that pie, thought about writing on my silly little blog, and it all just seemed so pointless. I donated money to the Red Cross and wondered if the ridiculous coasters which are pretty much the only things I can make could possibly be helpful to anyone.

So I didn’t make a pie. I managed to make pudding, and this only because I desperately craved some comfort food. What I really wanted was to be able to crack my wand and apparate to my grandmother’s flat in India. I would put on one of her often-washed, soft, faded caftans and a pair of rubber flip-flops. I would sit with her at her worn, wooden table and eat one of the meals I dream about when I’m on the other side of the world from her  — dosa, idli, upma. Afterwards I would watch her sort her pills for the evening and take her shot of insulin. She’d regale me with gossip about such-and-such cousin and I would pretend I remembered who they were and nod back. Later she would go into her bedroom and watch one of her crazy, dramatic Malayalam soap operas, and I’d sit beside her and read, perhaps listening with one ear open for the rise and fall of the dialogue, just so I didn’t miss anything really juicy.

I can’t apparate though; I can’t even use the Floo Network. I am no magician. Instead, in the face of all of the incomprehensible terror and sadness and fear, I roasted a chicken. We turned the fireplace on, so grateful for this small pleasure, and snuggled into the couch. My sweet husband let me talk him into watching Love Actually (although I did have to bribe him with boilermakers) and he “mmmm”-ed out loud when he took his first bite of the potatoes roasted in all of the chicken’s delicious drippings. We kept pausing the movie to talk about our travel plans and baby plans and future life plans. We ate chocolate pudding and though this helped exactly no one but us, it was the best I could do that day.

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