One of the worst things about coming home is the realization that my neighbors cook. And they cook really well. They cook so well I can smell it in the elevator as I approach the 10th floor and my mouth instinctively waters as if preparing myself to be invited in for whatever it is they’re preparing. This is never the case, considering I don’t even know what my neighbors look like, let alone the thought of receiving an invitation to break bread (probably homemade, probably buttered with garlic based on tonight’s elevator aromas) with them in their apartments.
Which is why coming home sucks because when I open my apartment and smell (what was it today? coffee grinds from yesterday morning? dust? flip-flops?) a lack of food, I realize how alone I am, and how very, very few skills in the kitchen I have. I make my family ashamed (all of them amazing cooks, and one of them a professional chef) and Dennis’ family too, while I’m at it, mastering only popcorn and the occasional pot of rice. Rice, I admit, is a difficult thing, so I feel a sense of pride in saying I can at least make that. But for once, I’d love to just, you know, whip up a lamb brisket with a side of mashed sweet potatoes, steamed spinach with almond slivers, and a white wine/cream soup of mushrooms, onions, and saffron. (Wait, is there even such thing as lamb brisket? I don’t think so, but it sounds like it would be on a menu. Furthermore, I don’t even eat lamb. And actually these days, I’m not even eating meat. But that’s beside the point. But what is a brisket? Or is it just “brisket,” not “a brisket”? It sounds like whatever it is, it would look like a brush. Brisket, bristles….you see where I’m going with this.)
The point is: I miss home cooked food. Mom, Dennis’ mom, please, when I come home, can we please just eat home cooked food all the time? I’ll eat anything as long as it comes from your hands and not out of a box. Or requires microwaving.
Tonight, to compete with my neighbors’ smells, I made a pot of…rice…(but it’s WILD rice! totally different!) and put garlic in it. Next door I’m sure they’re having a feast—-six courses, cheese and fruit plate, wine pairings, and chocolate mousse for dessert—-but as long as I can’t smell it over my garlic rice, I’ll be okay.