Friday, November 16, 2007

Polenta Persistence

I have never stirred polenta for 45 minutes straight. The closest I got was when Liam and I stayed in Mar Vista and I had nothing else to do, but for some reason (maybe the temperature that's down to -3 C today) I decided to heed Madhur's advice and just stirstirstir. With The Gathering (Booker Prize winner and first Paris Book Club pick) in one hand, and an olive wood wok stirrer in the other, I set forth to stir for 45 minutes straight and yes, it was worth it. I returned after knitting group to Liam saying, 'that polenta was magical' - not usually can someone else who doesn't cook, like someone else who doesn't knit, appreciate the time and effort put forth!

And so, another victory for Jessica and Madhur (and Marcella, with the lick-off-the-spoon Tomato Sauce with Butter and Onion on top), as I plod through another day trying to figure out what one does when one is not doing anything. Crazy, I know, but there is something about the safety and routine of a job that makes you desire the freedom and whimsy of not working, until you're not working and you're back yearning for the structure of a job again. Or, until you want to do things like get a library card at the American library or go to a show and you can't because of 'le greve' and it's so cold outside that walking doesn't sound so enticing after a long day of, well, walking.

Why did I think I needed to go to a gym here?

I do think I need to move on to cooking other things - it might be a trio of dinners to cook for (American food for French friends, faux Thanksgiving, faux Thanksgiving in Nice) or just me and Madhur, but my moral highground of cooking beans each day or polenta stirred for 45 minutes or even those quick French lentils is starting to get a little old - like I'm making do with what I have when really what I have is Paris and who here eats lentils, polenta and Baked Beans with Nigerian Seasonings? I do want to help Liam who's feeling a little confused about his job - they won't give him access to the machines until he's been there for 3 mos, but without access to machines it's hard to demonstrate that he has what it takes to get access while someone who is a 3 month contractor gets access right away, and after he put Microsoft Office on his computer his boss said, 'so soon?' .... and so the French way goes.

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