Friday, On Me

[Saturday snack, August 2008.]

Last night I walked home from work, all the way up Market to the art supply store to pick up watercolor paper, and past the library. I thought I’d catch up with the bus eventually but it was such a gorgeous night — crisp, even, and cool and clear — and I was chattering away so happily to the Greeks in Rochester I decided simply to keep on walking. It was probably about two miles or so, all told, and you know, it really didn’t feel like it. Unfortunately Upper Market has a certain … essence all its own which makes for a less than pleasant experience, but soon I was pointed west up McAllister to Little Star and dinner and I hardly noticed it at all. I think I’ll have to make it a regular thing.

(About that pizza: I think I drove my coworkers crazy while trying to decide what to order. Thin crust with cheese? Deep dish vegetarian? Thin crust with pesto? Dear gracious. I finally settled on deep dish with cheese and mushrooms — pretty simple and not too exciting but oh man did it taste good.)

I love Friday nights just for me — I might stay up late baking a cake or preparing for a dinner party the next day (I do like to take some of my work in advance) or even just trying out a new recipe that I’ve been meaning to (recently, that sweetly unexpected apple cake). Oh, I do go out sometimes as well, or maybe I’ll be in Sebastopol, but some weeks — particularly especially long and exhausting ones — the only thing that helps me make it to the end is the thought of Friday night on the couch with a new-to-me book (or, OK, a reread of a favorite) or a movie I come across quite by chance (last night, ‘Love Actually’) and which completely erases the memory of all those early mornings in the preceding few days.

I’m still figuring out this whole cooking-for-one thing; a few months ago I ran into a bit of trouble because the farmers markets were overflowing with gorgeous heirloom tomatoes, new potatoes, and seriously the most beautiful cauliflowers you have ever seen. And everything was so cheap! And local! And I sort of lost my mind and snapped up as much as I could fit into the canvas bag I use expressly for market-going because it was all just so good. The problem was that in my enthusiasm I perhaps picked up a bit too much and thus was faced with a barely-dwindling pile of vegetables I frantically worked my way through in a mad race against the coming Sunday when I’d be back at the market ready to swoon all over again. I mean, I was eating really well but I’ve since learned to be more prudent and maybe only get 1 bunch of basil, say, instead of two (unless I make pesto and then all bets are off). I don’t need quite as much when I’m cooking mostly just for me and I think I’m finally reaching a comfortable balance (my wallet is quite pleased with me, too).

So while last night involved pizza and salad from the local joint another Friday — with me and my cake, or books, or or or — might be half a head of cauliflower roasted salty and caramelized, with a bit of bread and cheese. Or maybe I’ll make whole-wheat spaghetti with mushrooms, tofu, and spinach with a quick lime-laced peanut sauce. Or I’ll roast half a bunch of asparagus on a chilly spring evening just after the time change and slip it alongside a plate of olive oil spiked garlic and white beans. If I’m feeling particularly decadent I’ll treat myself to a glass of red wine and follow it all with a dish of ice cream or milk chocolate pudding. I test out my mood in the early afternoon when I know I’ll be hanging out at home for the night and think about what I really want to eat — sometimes, to be honest, it might be a bowl of home made hummus and carrots and chips, nothing more — and that’s what I’ll have. It’s kind of fun.

Yeah, I guess you could say I’m pretty much getting the hang of things.

The weekend looms, bare and lovely, and I have plans to bake some holiday-inspired goodies (mostly for my office; I’m also going to make lentil-spinach soup at work on Tuesday for a proper send-off to the long weekend, the girls will make cornbread, of course I must bake a pumpkin pie — right?) and sleep in a bit and go to my yoga class. I have a strange hankering to make a big pot of split-pea soup, too, but as I’ll be going out of town next week I might have to put that on hold until after Thanksgiving. Yet I still do have a wish for it …

What’re your pre-Thanksgiving plans?

Join the Conversation

  1. I guess I shouldn’t say that I like “Love, Actually” even though Debra Messing isn’t in it. No, that would be wrong.

  2. I love weekend nights at home! I always feel like I’ve stolen that moment for myself… very indulgent. And yes, it always involves lots of cooking.
    I’ve been planning my Thanksgiving shopping list for a few days now and I’m so excited today to go the the store and buy everything. I’m trying to work my way through the leftovers we have in the fridge before we stock up again with the Thanksgiving leftovers!

  3. Mmmm, lost me at pizza. Just kidding.
    But I do love me some hummus. And the fact that I’ve actually learned to make it myself stuns me.

    My pre-Thanksgiving plans are to run or bike every day and then show up in another state on Wednesday night prepared to cook and eat through Monday. Ha. :)

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