I have disappeared and returned, but I have never disappeared for this long. I am working full time for the first time since Sam was born (that’s 11 years) and I am working as Press Secretary for a Congressional campaign. That means that I write all day long, and that “recreational” writing seems less appealing that in days of yore. It also means that the closer we get to The Big Day in November, the faster things move. Inevitably, it means that I am not whipping up Thai dished for which I personally smash the stalks of lemongrass, or anything that involves crushing spices with a mortar and pestle. i cannot peel 40 cloves of garlic for a meal, or make pie crust from scratch and craft it into a scallop-edged lattice (okay, I never made pie crust). I can barely get potatoes peeled for mashed potatoes.
So I had this internal debate with myself about this blog. A wise fellow blogger told me last summer that I should write for my “people.” At that time, my “people” tended to be busy, but still trying to cook from scratch, concentrating on the fresh and local, and with some variety. They read food blogs, they read food magazines, they tried new restaurants and knew who Anthony Bourdain was. They knew how to sautee, and that Parmesan tastes better if you grate it fresh. They owned KitchenAid stand mixers and Cuisinarts and probably nutmeg graters. Leading them ever onward towards the light, I scorned the crock pot, the canned soup, the meatloaf on Tuesdays, and the folks who were just really too tired and overwhelmed to think about what to cook. I said, more than once, that “anyone can cook,” and I did not mean that they were physically able to dump a bag of assorted Bertoli dinner parts into a pan and torch them.
I am now part of a different group. I can still cook, of course; it’s like riding a bicycle. Well, it is less aerobic and more creative than riding a bicycle, but let’s not be excessively technical. I am a person who gets home too late to start the dinner she had planned to make, and orders pizza. I am the person who uses a crock pot at least twice a week, and feels unreasonably ecstatic upon coming home to find that “someone” (her morning persona) made dinner already. I am the woman in the ads who stands gobsmacked in the grocery store at 5:30, hoping that a muse wearing a white sheet and carrying a harp will tell her what to make for dinner.
So if I am going to write about what I’m cooking now, really, there will be about five more weeks of crock pot soups, convenience items and meals that never happen. It would be honest, and might be helpful to working folks or those who really don’t enjoy cooking, but will they feel swindled when I start posting fast and furiously on November 5th about making cassoulet from scratch? What happens if we win the election? I’ll have about a two month hiatus of cooking like a mad fiend, and then…I’ll be working again. If we lose the election, I might still get a job, because I kind of like this whole fast-paced insane pressure-cooker thing.
Tonight, I am in the middle of this road. I made pork chops in the crock pot. (Go ahead, delete me from your blogroll). With them, we are having frozen peas, but we are also having mashed potatoes made from scratch. There will, I guarantee you, be no amuse bouche, no molecular gastronomy, not even an imported spice. Just dinner. If you’ll stay with me, I guess I’ll just write about the phase I happen to be in at any given moment – quick and easy today, complicated and adventurous after the election. It won’t help me build a brand, or attract readers expecting anything approaching consistency, but it will be real. For right now, that’s the best I can do. My name is Annie, and I approve this message.
P.S. If you aren’t registered to vote, you’re running out of time. Do it!!