Saturday, December 12, 2009

7:02 p.m.

Most of the time, I think that I must seem much younger than I really am.
I am out of college, but would laugh and then feel very uncomfortable and anxious if someone called me an adult. At times, I think I still have more in common with 7-year-olds than with the adults I know. Even as a proper employee, at work I sometimes forget that I am not an intern. I have done my very best to cultivate my Windsor apartment into a tasteful yet inexpensively decorated place to cozy up with a book in a big chair. Still, I can't seem to dust enough, pick up enough, and I can't bring myself to buy fancy soaps for the bathroom.

I have accumulated more broken glasses than complete ones, and I have managed to get away with preparing dinner using a $7 knife. Until today, that is.

But I can't start with today because I think my small, but noticeable adult-like behavior began last night. T and I went to Sycamore for dinner, my favorite restaurant in Columbia. Quite possibly, one of my favorite restaurants in general. We sat at a pretty, four-person table in the front alcove of the restaurant and from the warm, ambery-light-filled room, we watched the cold passersby peek in. Instead of having a drink, we ordered a bottle of wine. Immediately after, I commented to T, "I feel like an adult!" The slightly older and slightly wiser boyfriend shrugged off the comment, and we studied the menu.

I will now say that I love food. You know I love food. I write about it constantly. I think about it even more than constantly. Food critics might be my favorite writers. I live vicariously through their reviews from across the world. I can imagine what Le Cirque must have been like when it first opened. I try to taste the absurd amount of courses given by a Michelin-rated restaurant. It seems that my vocabulary for food is expanding (thankfully not my stomach). But, until last night, I had never tasted foie gras. I had read about foie gras. Hell, I had just finished reading what seemed like a chapter dedicated to it in one of Ruth Reichl's memoirs. Last night, foie gras was on the menu, and we ordered it. It was served au torchon, shaped in a perfect circle and chilled, and on the plate, it sat beside a delicate bit of brioche that was both crusty and slightly fluffy. I wasn't nervous about the fact that I was about to eat duck liver; I was mostly afraid that my hopes, which food critics such as Reichl and Jay Rayner had set so high with countless descriptions of the perfect foie gras, would be dashed. They were anything but. In fact, I don't think I have ever tasted anything as wonderful as the cool, subtle mousse that slowly made its way down my throat. And when the brioche was gone, I used a bit of French bread from earlier to scoop up the remainder of the stuff I could now eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Not only was the foie gras superb, everything else was too. And so when we awoke this morning, I knew it would be difficult to even compare today's events to yesterday.

I miss college very much. I miss my professors and walking and lectures and homework and writing papers. Perhaps I am a glutton for punishment, but it was never the drinking or partying that made me like college; it was rolling out of bed and walking to class in the cold with a big scarf on and a coffee at half eight in the morning to go to a lecture on magazine editing. Yeah, I liked the learning bit the most. But I think the coffee helped. Anyway, this upcoming week will be filled with final exams for the rest of this college town, and as T and I lounged around in our pajamas and watched Zelig, I was — for the first time in quite some time — quite relieved I was finished with undergrad. On this very day last year, I was wrapping up three different 10-page research papers. To celebrate, we ran errands (and I decided not to dwell on the fact that after finals, my friends will have six-week Christmas breaks and I will get off of work for two days).

Yeah, we were adults. We lit the candle in the apartment. My first candle I've ever been allowed to own. My parents refused to help pay rent if I had candles, but now that I am *ahem* grown-up and paying my own rent, I have a pretty, wintry Slatkin candle, bought for me by my mother.

After I (gasp!) vacuumed, we braved the holiday shoppers, went to Target and replaced the broken glasses with nice, new stemless wine glasses (that will double as anything glasses — okay maybe that's not so adult). I bought a new knife, and it was fifteen dollars. I've not yet used it, but the weight of it tells me that even though fifteen bucks is still a pretty meager investment, it'll do the job. We bought fresh bagels for tomorrow morning. We excitedly wandered around the new HyVee that opened on South Providence. And it was like Christmas morning when we received the total for our bill:

$1.86 for fresh asparagus? Yes please!
$5 for almost a pound of gorgeous, freshly stuffed olives and feta? Hooray!
$2.20 for Twining's Lady Grey tea? Life is good.

The only thing we couldn't find was the sea salt. HyVee has plenty of sea salt, but not the flaky kind, which is really the best. So, we did a bit of exploring, and we found the international food shop and bought a box of Malden sea salt to replace my dwindling canister.

Errands can be so dull, but today was spontaneous enough to not get bored and to still relish in my grown-up-ness (which I hope is quite temporary). I'm already wondering what might happen tomorrow. Will I clean my car? Organize my studio closet? Shop for a frame for the lovely poster that came in our issue of the Believer? Who knows, I might just eat donuts and only read the funnies. I think I'll see how I feel.

For now, I'll make another cup of Lady Grey, sit cross-legged in my arm chair and read about food.

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