one man's ceiling
Saturday, March 10, 2007
  someone's in the kitchen...
i wake up to the smell of... what is that smell? something slightly burnt, some sort of sugary-starch that's burnt to the bottom of a pan is what it is. it's a bit like parsnips hanging in the air, or maybe some sort of sausage made with something other than beef or pork. or chicken.

where it would be nice to wake up to the idea that someone was making me breakfast it's rarely what i would want to eat. part of it is a case of familiarity; my in laws eat differently than i like or am used to. they don't necessarily eat terribly or unusual foods... i just can't explain it.

during the weekdays i'm up with the famberly and get them revved with (lately) fruit smoothies that have yogurt, apple and orange juice as a base and a mix of frozen fruit, but always red grapes and blueberries. j. also gets a bagel half (she prefers the bottom) with cream cheese and apple butter (my influence). e. supplements her smoothie with either oatmeal or shredded wheat (called fweets in our house) or at the very least a handful of nuts. i consider it a victory if i can get zuska to down her smoothie because for the longest time she could never eat first thing in the morning. i'll usually take the other half of the bagel and a smoothie and that'll hold me until i can get my green tea at work.

weekends are something else. i like to try at least one of those days to make a traditional egg-n-breakfast-meat breakfast. i like french toast. i like doing an egg scramble. i like breakfast burritos and the girls are slowly accepting them but zuska thinks they're alien. what i'd really like is to have a nice traditional huevos rancheros -- a set of corn tortillas topped with chili relleno or spicy black beans, fried eggs, cheese, salsa, the works. i eat lots of things that the famberly thinks is odd: eggs with ketchup~

interlude: i was asked to make breakfast for everyone about an hour ago. i forgot where i was going with the odd things i eat. give me a second while i rethink this post...

yeah, so odd breakfast things i will eat: cold pizza, cold leftover spaghetti with sauce, most leftovers in general, leftovers wrapped in a tortilla, cold spaghetti with sauce wrapped in a tortilla, last-night's nachos, quesadillas with salsa... basically, anything that looks good to me at other times of the day. i don't think of breakfast as being this rigid thing where it's eggs or cold cereal toasted breads, any more than lunch has to be about sandwiches and dinner about some roasted meats.

there's a lot of emphasis on breakfast being the most important meal of the day, breaking the fast and getting the body moving, but i feel way too heavy to work in the mornings if i eat an egg-based breakfast. sure, i feel full, and have enough energy to get me through to the afternoon, but more evidence suggests that we should be eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day and a big breakfast runs counter to that.

at my healthiest (which isn't now, and was long before i had a famberly of my own) i grazed more. i didn't always graze as healthily as i could or should have but i also didn't over eat when it came to meals. and when the in laws are around there's this sense of meals coming heavy and one on top of the other. zuska's dad started making a chicken cacciatore for tonight's dinner long before we got up, which is fine except that he just announce "another hour and it should be good". unless i misunderstood, that means he'll have dinner ready anytime starting after 1 pm and it's just now noon and we just finished breakfast. i know that there are errands between now and then, and that the dinner can simmer for quite a bit, but i'm pretty sure that by the time dinner rolls around i'm not going to be fully hungry. and politeness being what it is when one has company over (company that's cooking dinner) i'm going to have to eat before i'm hungry.

i guess that's the sticking point, that whether i'm at their place or they're at our place, meals around the in laws means my eating schedule gets thoroughly thrown off.

that smell i woke up to? carrots, in need of deglazing from the bottom of the pot. because zuska didn't have any wine, and because zuska's dad is an emeril lasagge zealot, he insisted on using brandy to deglaze the pan. because that's what emeril says to do; alcohol is required. long ago i learned that one could deglaze a pan using stock with excellent results and not add to the calories in a meal. far be it for me to suggest that emeril isn't the be-all and end-all in the kitchen. i'm sure it will be fine with the brandy, i just wouldn't get all bent out of shape about it.

so that's where my conflicting sides sit this morning. on the one hand i can be very fluid when it comes to improvising when i'm comfortable with my surroundings; when my surroundings become uncomfortable i get agitated. i don't need to be in control, but i need to feel like i still have some control. and with in laws in the kitchen i feel very out of control.

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