I've cooked a lot of things since I wrote last. Will is elbow-deep in Anatomy (I'll pause here to let that mental image sink in) so I've been making dinner every night. My two best, I think, were 1. marinara with canned tomatoes, served in a soup bowl with a runny poached egg and a hunk of bread, and 2. roasted sweet potatoes glazed in a kind of vinegar-honey thing, with jalapeno/cilantro sauce and a dollop of greek yogurt.
I did not take pictures of either of these.
I did take a picture of a "Texas chili" I spent all day Sunday making a few weekends ago. We didn't have any of the ingredients when I began, so Will is now calling it the $100 chili.
It had chunks of steak, a little bit of dark chocolate, and fed us for about 12 meals, so I'd say it was a success.
Spending a weekend cooking feels like those all-day games you play as a kid, where the imaginary world becomes more elaborate as you go and twilight settles just as you're starting to get bored. Cooking is adult play, I guess, like when Will was putting together our Ikea furniture and said, with genuine enthusiasm, "adult Legos!"
A few nights ago, the day Sam's email detailed what he called "a no crust pizza," I made the canned-tomato marinara again, laid some slices of mozzarella on top, sprinkled black olives, and stuck the whole thing in the oven. We scooped it right out of the skillet with slices of crusty bread. .
Sam thought that I might like to read about Frances McDormand in The New York Times Magazine, and he was right. I love Frances McDormand, and Jordan Kisner's profile of her is amazing. Some highlights include,
"McDormand had instructed me to meet her in the parking lot of a nearby cafe, and when I arrived she was sitting straight as a soldier, dressed in her 'hiking skirt' (ankle length, denim)."
"Shortly after returning from Paris, I received an email from her with the subject line 'My head shot.' It contained a photograph of her floating naked in a lake. She doesn't like having her picture taken, she wrote, but this might suit the magazine's purposes. Two months after that, she sent me a picture of herself at the dinner table with a head of cauliflower perched atop her like a crown."
They talk a lot about the strange circumstances of getting older, especially as a woman in Hollywood, and at one point Kisner references an essay called "Pause" by the poet Mary Ruefle, who writes about the grief she experienced at the onset of menopause. She felt her life was over and she realized that "people have looked at you your whole life because you are a woman and people look at women -- but now, suddenly, you are invisible."
"But then something magical happens," she says, after ten years of menopause and some murderous feelings toward her children and partner had passed.
"You would never want to be a girl again for any reason at all, you have discovered that being invisible is the biggest secret on earth, the most wondrous gift anyone could have ever given you" because "there are no longer any persons on earth who can stop you from being yourself."
"She got it perfectly," McDormand responded.