Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Settled in to Brooklyn - Finally.

If you couldn't tell from my first couple of entries, my transition to life in New York City has been rough. Coming from Chicago, I expected to have an easier time - one big city to another. Comparing the city of Chicago to the city of New York is like comparing crab apples to macintoshes, as far as big apples are concerned. Immediately I became so overwhelmed that I attached myself to my boyfriend. The only place in the city I had any familiarity with was his apartment, so I found it hard to leave even to venture back onto the unknown couches of my own loft.

But slowly everything changes. Actually, in New York, I suppose everything changes quickly. Either way, that change came by way of my boyfriend's tough love. He has this horribly annoying way of telling me things I hate hearing, but that I desperately need to understand. While sobbing to him that he hadn't been considerate enough of me and my huge life change, he told me that maybe this was a tad over-reactive since I had only been in town a week. As usual, he was right (we like to switch up the gender roles by having him be right all the time instead of me. Guys - I feel for you).

Taking responsibility for myself and my state of mind was exactly what I didn't want to do. I wanted to lie on the couch and close my eyes and hope that life would figure itself out for me. So I had to take baby steps. The following week I picked myself up and started to explore stores around my apartment. Retail therapy is not a misnomer. At my mother's urging I took yoga and pilates classes. I went out with my roommates one night. I applied to a job and got an interview. I met up with an old friend.

You don't read my writing to hear me whine about life. Though the internet makes that readily available, I aim at a higher purpose for my readership. You read my writing because a.) you are my mother or her very wonderful friends, or b.) because you love food as much as I do and expected me to start writing about wonderful New York restaurants.

I live to serve!

As I toiled away at all these life changing moves, I also ate! Of course I ate, how else would I deal with it all. What did I eat, and more importantly, what do I recommend?

I do not recommend Burrito Bowl on a Sunday night after a day of drinking screwdrivers and Coors Light watching football. This little combo also led to the sobbing, tough love, and revelation about my situation though, so maybe a little gastrointestinal queasiness helps occasionally. Of late, I have also rediscovered Thai food. Not exactly in the aforementioned category of revelations, I know, but after a summer of bi-weekly Thai Aroma, I didn't wanted to even sniff a plate of pad thai. Right down the street I've found multiple Thai places with $6 lunch specials! Made even more affordable when split between two people. Yes, I have become that cheap.

My kitchen presents its own problems. Not only am I sharing it with 4 other girls, but, well, see for yourself. It's not pretty, but it's all I've got.

My brief foray with a dishwasher already seems ages ago, and the cuisine gods laugh at my lack of counter space. Still, I've persevered in the form of beans and rice, potato soup, and lots of hummus and pita. After my first real grocery store run today, I can't wait to start making the basics again - faux hotdogs, spaghetti, and sandwiches with tofurkey.

So what ultimately led to my pick-me-up? A little time, a little love, and a little success - I got the job!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Gorgonzola and Scallions and Egglplant, Oh My!

Bonus! Free print-out activity!

After a week of adjustment I'm ready to break out the pots and pans from their boxes. A new spin on things while I wait for more emailed recipes for the cookbook: I'm cooking some completely original dishes. Honestly, minus lunch time George-Foreman paninis, I very rarely try dishes that don't have some authority behind them. But I can't very well write a cookbook without this expertise now can I?

Why do I usually stick to recipes? Much like color by numbers, the final project usually comes out better when I follow a professional's orders. It's time I break free of those numbers and lines though and start thinking for myself.

Plus, I don't think I'll be able to garner much respect if I keep churning out the equivalent of the colored in Mr. Tooth. So I'm on to bigger and better.

I don't expect to start out with the mashed potato version of Starry Night on my first go, but if I can let go of this artistic metaphor, I will still produce something tasty enough to make my roommates happy. This is how we get better, right? By trying new things, by branching out on our own. Maybe I will have to donate my first efforts to the dog. Eventually I hope to serve my cuisine to those with more refined palettes.

Just wait, for one day you'll be knocking down my door for the secret to my eggplant glaze. I'll just wink at Panther and keep on cooking.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Welcome to Williamsburg, It's Effing Nuts

I've successfully arrived in Williamsburg, a neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY. The move couldn't have gone more smoothly, a fact I particularly appreciated after reading a vignette about a girl locking herself out of her apartment twice during the course of a day while moving. While amusing to read, I don't think I would have handled the situation well in real time.

But even the ease of the this physical transition doesn't mean that it's without emotional hardships. I couldn't have asked for a better place to live or greater roommates, and I am nothing less than blissful that it only takes a subway ride to get to my boyfriend's place. Still, I miss the certainty of knowing my surroundings.

In times such of these, missing my comfort food establishments hits hard.
I don't know the location of grocery stores; I certainly don't know where to find any products once inside them. I don't know where to order from when I want comfort food. I don't even know the layout of my own kitchen yet. Exploring the area for new finds excites me. I love turning into the nooks and crannies of streets to find a great cup of coffee or some tres magnifique French cuisine. Until I know a couple of those streets a little better though, it feels a bit like floating through a sea and I can't quite stay above water yet. What I wouldn't give right now for a familiar falafel or a guaranteed good cupcake.

Soon I'll know my way around better than a puppy through a pee covered yard. I won't know which tree to sniff, I'll love them all so much. Until then though, I'll just have to adjust bit by bit, night by night, and with the help of my those that love me around here.

There have to be at least a couple of people that feel that way about me!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Re: So Much Support for Seeing Un-Retouched Women!

It took almost 1000 people joining my Show Our Beauty campaign before I received my first legitimate criticism. I have seen only a few cynical comments, but otherwise the support has been overwhelmingly positive. I knew it was only a matter of time before the other shoe dropped.

Dropped indeed! Not only did the negative comment come, it came with a blow. Go ahead and read for yourself:

Anonymous said...

There is no such thing as a "body image message".

Call this "campaign" for what it really is: Angry, jealous, bitter fatties and ugly people not wanting to be reminded there are hot, good-looking people on this planet.

No one wants fat people on the cover of their fashion magazines.

Why don't you people just go on diets, instead of forcing the acceptance of your body types on others?


What a mouth-full! Now, normally I might ignore such a comment, but I really feel that this deserves to be addressed for the following reasons. First, Anon. are you my ex-boyfriend? Sure sounds like you. Second, and more importantly, this poor soul misunderstood the campaign completely and I would like to allow him or her the opportunity to still join when it is explained in full. What if others also have not grasped the simple concept that I have laid out so clearly? What if the Jezebel article or the myriad of other blogs that have covered this have misstated my purpose? What if Faith Hill thinks I'm calling her a 'fattie'?

Rest easy, dear readers, for here I lay out an easy-to-follow explanation, primarily though the mechanism of responding to our Anon poster.

There is no such thing as a "body image message". Possibly a mistake on my part; I recommend the following in its place: "a message pertaining to the crisis of female-held body image misconception." My attempt at brevity obviously confused Anon. I would like to refer him or her to the studies done by the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty and the YWCA Eliminating Racism; Empowering Women foundations to assure Anon. that this crisis is real and needs support from women around the world.

Next, we move on to Anon.'s suggestion for retitling the campaign. I did some googling, and it turns out Anon. spoke the truth! I found lots of people that agree with her about the existence of bitter fatties and uglies. Let's take a look:

Oddly, these people that agree with Anon. seem to be young black men who wear green shirts and enjoy activities such as coloring, kickball, and, say, teasing little girls. But no matter - someone has to remind the fatties about the hot people on the planet! How else would they ever find out?

Certainly, Anon. just wants to make sure that we keep Faith Hill, Jessica Simpson and all those other fatties/uglies (fugly sluts!) off the fashion magazine covers. My position is that if said celebrities have to be airbrushed, then a normal human being can't live up to those standards, even one as good-looking and wonderful as I'm sure Anon. is!

Honestly, even my witticisms cannot fathom how to respond to the comment "No one wants fat people on the cover of their fashion magazines." If this is a legitimate cry for help Anon., I suggest a school counselor, or if you've made it this far in the real world hiding your judgmental self-loathing, then the American Mental Health Counselors Association has resources to direct you to someone you can talk to.

But onto Anon.'s charge - why don't all these fat people go on diets? Dear lord, has Anon. just single-handedly solved America's obesity crisis? Dr. Oz, get this prodigy a position!

I will give Anon. this much, he/she has hit the nail on the head about America's feeling on acceptance: we won't allow it! Conform! Change to fit our demands! I hope Anon. takes considerable consolation that at least his or her views fit the status quo. Everyone wants to be accepted by others! Uh-oh, I smell a paradox. Can you be accepted by people that hate acceptance?

Finally, I would just like to thank Anon. for the Napoleon Dynamite-esque sign-off. It's been too long.

So thank you, Anon. Thank you.