I woke up this morning at a normal time, for the first time in a week – it’s either been too early, like, 5:00AM early, or too late. This morning I woke up and felt good and had real things to do and a place to be. Although it wasn’t school yet, it still felt like someone needed me to be somewhere, and I’m regrowing the feeling of wanting to be there, too.
When I finally settled in my apartment one week ago today, the prospect of two weeks drawing out elegantly before me was daunting, tempting, surreal – every day I’ve explored a bit, every day I’ve done a small, important thing that will make my life easier (student metro passes, bank accounts, registration…) but I’m not rushing. I had zero expectations. I didn’t even think I’d want to bake anything. I got caught up in dreams of making wild brioches and fruit-nut baguettes, and for the moment, I’ve stopped.
Making dinner for everyone either in Montreal or New York, or baking them something big or small, was calming, ritualistic – I’d have the house to myself for a while and reveled in kitchen peace while I would wash (sort of) and roast, toss and set the table. I’ve learned to revive myself with Greenmarket potlucks in New York, or Thanksgiving dinners in Montreal, or chickpea cookies that tasted “great!” to my parents until I revealed the chickpeas… my favorite jobs have been those when I’m making something- like almond milk and cashew milk – and then I get to spend a day selling it at the Brooklyn Flea, talking to people about why I care about what I’ve made for them. Mostly, it’s a challenge when the most important person to share everything with, to make things with and for, is not close at hand to sit with me and have our days unfold in that warm, comfortable place protected with our fortress of CSA basket bounty and improvised everythings. That’s home, so I’m learning what to do without that.
Here, I see my own person magnified because I’m away from a group of people who lets me come over and make blondies with them, or socca, who bake me impromptu pizzas when we’re talking, away from roommates who accept quinoa-crust quiche and make beet cakes and squash soups for us. I realize how important that is. What am I doing without it? I’m sitting! I’m reading! I’m breathing and sleeping. All important, but I’m still in flux.
Tonight I baked the first thing – it’s an old thing, a familiar thing, it’s just a banana bread. I’m used to it and it’s used to me; we confuse each other with avocados and almond flour sometimes, we turn into pie-cookies and suddenly it’s just bananas appearing in breakfast cookies.Today it was simple, because I know it- and just like I thought it would, it turned out weird, but delicious. And even my roommate and his friend liked it.
This week I’ve experienced a breakfast accident where I discovered that I love toasted millet. It’s the best crunchy thing that I know- this is banana bread that reminds me of a banana bread I’ve seen before from Deb at Smitten Kitchen – there’s toasted millet, chopped dates, and oven-roasted bananas (fun! it speeds up the ripening process [sort of] [I believed it once I tasted it] and ekes the sweet ripeness out of under-ripe yellow bananas).
Jimmy said it was good, his friend said “You shouldn’t have made the weird butter maple-syrup sauce because it definitely doesn’t need it.” I know! But I mean, the banana bread was about an inch thick. Cause for alarm? Maybe.
And so what? So we have maple butter now. Luckily I bought 6 apples for 1€ today because the only thing better than a market is a surprise market a block from my house. Tomorrow is new! I’m making apple crisp for people I care a lot about, because I’m lucky to have people like that all the way over here in Lyon. Soon I’ll figure out where old things and new things meet, but for now I’m so happy that my silly little oven is a clever monster, after all.