Yesterday Michael wasn't feeling up to much. He's got that flu that is going around, keeping him up at night coughing and feeling generally ill. As a result, we didn't go out to the Mojave to find a desert hot spring. Instead, I got to take some time to cook.
When I was off in Italy, I told my Italian host mother that I didn't want to learn how to cook because I didn't want my future husband to expect me to. But then, two weeks before I was scheduled to return to California, I realized I should have learned how to cook those amazing meals while I had the chance. As a result, I have about 4 dishes from La Mamma - not nearly enough. Somewhere along the line I got hooked.
For a while, in my mid-twenties, I was close with a woman named Lauren. She would come over and the two of us would talk and cook up a fine meal. We did a few dinner parties together, which were often an excuse for trying out a new recipe. Poor Mike and Ken, guests at several of my first hostessing attempts. The first dinner I servered, pork in foil with veggies, just would not cook! At 9:30 I finally got it on the table - they were nearly passing out with hunger. Another time, I forgot to ask if they had any allergies. I made a curry from scratch, using 8 bell peppers. Once served, Mike then informed me that he was allergic to peppers... he kindly munched only on rice and salad. Opps.
But yesterday, I got to make up a sausage ragout from the Silver Palate which required me to first make up a spicy tomato sauce that needed to cook down for 3 hours. It was divine, but the sauce and the ragout (served over cous cous, but I think soft polenta would have been better).
Since Michael was stuck on the couch, I was cooking with time to think of all that is good in this world. Los Angeles does have a good side: I was out in a short sleeved top and flip-flops yesterday. No one stopped to gawk at the over-red color to my hair as they do in Washington DC. I have the resources to shop at Whole Foods. I have been very lucky this week. I had three days to myself with few appointments and unscheduled time to myself. That could be habit forming.
Most of all, the pollution here gave me the most beautiful sunset - with pinks found only in pre-teen wall posters of puppies and hearts. Living on the 6th floor also gives me views and the ability to put life in prospective, to see above and beyond the immediate.