Wednesday, February 06, 2008
The Laptop Supper
It was almost sunny this morning, and I brazenly went out without my burly Carhartt jacket. I'm so over this business of defending myself against the rain. I want to acquiesce, to submit my tenderness to the gentle inspection of the sunshine. But it's a cruel, wet world, a rebuffing buffeting place where the 5 o'clock traffic rushes over crosswalks like the drops on your southwest windowpanes, splashing up viscous puddles of an entire winter's worth of Powell Boulevard strip-club dregs and congealed pho noodles. I stand my ground and shiver and shake and by the power (di)vested in me as a coatless pedestrian in the rain, I demand the WALK signal appear.
Megalomania never works the way you wish it would. Thank heavens there is a balm for sin-sick souls like mine. Called supper. Something even lighter and more soothing than "dinner," something at-hand and intimate, something to nibble in nubbly sweaters after we have doffed our weighty nobility.
Back on the farm, noontime dinner was the largest meal of the day, with supper following the evening chores. Then folks started working outside the home. "In cities the members of the family usually eat the noon meal 'in town.' This meal is light and often hurried," notes Everyday Foods, my favorite 1950's home economics text. "Dinner," on the other hand, "is a more leisurely and dignified meal than luncheon, and likely to be heavier."
I think we all know which members of the family were and were not encouraged to be out eating luncheon "in town" with their attache-toting associates. In any case, nowadays we're getting back to the farm scene in our dining habits. We not only lunch but live in the city, too; family is over on the other coast and our colleagues are our housemates (our "urban tribe," in Ethan Watters' words). Now we can work late from home, after which we'll share potluck suppers at 9 or 10. Supper because it's informal and food isn't the greatest part of the whole affair -- which, of course, is good company and guitars by the fire after the laptops get shut for the evening.
Tonight's supper: creamy little nuggets of yukon gold, parboiled till tender, then roasted at 500 with just oil, salt and pepper (an idea I got from Roast Chicken & Other Stories). While they turned brown, I tossed together a mixed green salad, sprinkled it with soaked sunflower seeds (put raw ones to soak last night), and a few shreds of slow-smoked salmon (with apologies to my budget). For the dressing, I whisked equal parts olive oil and maple syrup, dashes of salt & pepper, and a splash of red wine vinegar. Even the salad-eschewers like greens under a good wholesome sweet-rich-tangy dressing -- and, quite frankly, the time it takes to make a delectable salad dressing is significantly less than the time it takes to pick out your favorite flavor from the hundred different Lite, Lo-Sodium and Charitable varieties on the supermarket shelf.
Enough ranting for today. Tomorrow I will go throw bottles of Newman's Own at splashing cars. For now it's suppertime.