Tag Archive | spring

Cooking and miscellania

I think most people who know me are aware of what a terrible cook I am. I don’t shy away from informing people about it because I want to avoid possible disappointments or false expectations in the future. I’m definitely not the person who’d be a useful participant in making a grand dinner. I’m no good for anything beyond cutting carrots or peeling potatoes. Even that, I probably do badly according to experts. And the way I use or don’t use kitchen utensils can be frustrating to people who know a bit about cooking.

My particular catastrophes are soups and vegetables. Me cooking a tasty soup happens maybe once a year and I won’t be able to repeat that success. Me managing not to under- or oversalt the potatoes is a rarity too. My oven-baked vegetables will usually end up raw inside, my meat dishes dry and difficult to chew, and soups, the less said about my soups the better. Vegetables in boiled dirty water.

When I moved out of home to university and transferred to my own cooking, I lost 5 kilos. If I can avoid it (I usually can) I don’t inflict my cooking on others. And when I must, I feel bad and insecure about it. None of the long years of attempting to cook well have made a difference.

Until recently.

I think I can no longer claim that I’m a terrible cook all around. There are things I cannot make (soups, sauces, potatoes, pasta), but I’ve gotten very good with salads.  I could serve them to anyone at a dinner party and would even brave a food snob to do his/her worst. As I’ve improved with salads, I’ve also started using them as side dishes, and doing away with the more traditional side dishes that I cannot cook (potatoes, pasta). I’ve also started to use frozen fries and some other ready-mades. I avoided them for years because I deemed such food unhealthy, but I’m quite pleased with my choice to start using them.

My cooking has improved a lot since I gave up on the stubborn insistence on making everything from scratch myself. Now that I use these frozen or ready-made products in areas where my skills are poor, I get good results and can focus on the things I can do well. And I do actually improve in these areas now that I have one third or half of the plate less to worry about.

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PS. After writing this post, I managed to cook up another culinary horror. I attempted to make mushroom pasta. As I complained about my failure to a friend, I was told I’m not that bad of a cook, I simply have gourmet taste. And while I dismiss this as a compliment, it may have a morsel of truth in it. I tend to hold myself to too high standards sometimes.

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I wonder if it would be at all possible to give this blog a scrapbook style look, so I could write marginalia on old posts, and publish bits of saved drafts months later, and use cuttings from old texts, so they’d look like cuttings, and paste them where I want.

Wishing the internet to be more like paper….I should just write on paper.

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Nightingales are singing outside the window and I’ve decorated my room with what I love best – the sweetest smelling blossoms – cherry and apple. There is an abandoned garden next to the house. It’s not charming as my fantasy childhood one, the house on this property has no roof and looks depressing, but the garden is a beauty in spring with two gigantic bird cherries, apple and pear trees in bloom. No one goes there, except children, and myself.  It’s a bit creepy to a coward like me. A part of me thought that perhaps there is some drunks residing in that house, but the non-wimpy side was tempted by the short-cut and the blossoms, so in I went. And now my room is filled with spoils.

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Why is it that some people can look both beautiful and ugly? Why do I have to be such a person? What is the truth? Average? Yes, but these contrasts can be disturbing. I look in the mirror or take a photo: ugly. And feel bad about myself and curse my fate. I look again from a different angle: tolerable. I go out and walk past a mirror in the store and am astonished and confused by how pretty I am. And all these things must be true. The ugliness, the averageness and the hint of beauty somewhere between the lines.

Graveyard charms

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Most people consider graveyards to be grim places. Quite often, when I’ve chanced upon the subject, either as a suggestion of taking a stroll through the graveyard or by mentioning my fondness for local graveyards, I’ve met with raised eyebrows, avoidance or a mixture of reverence and horror. And no doubt, this is the proper reaction to graveyards.

To me, however, graveyards at day time have never been gloomy, but sunny and peaceful oases to escape to. It’s as if I lacked the symbolism and associations.

This is taken in the graveyard near my home.

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When our family moved to a more densely populated and traffic-heavy area, the graveyard was the closest thing to a park one could find nearby. So whenever I wanted to be alone amongst nature and was in a hurry with it, I crossed the street and found relief in the calm of the graveyard. I went there when in distress and in need of a private spot to be miserable and ponder my existence. I went to have an idle happy stroll and look at the spring flowers coming to bloom around the grave sites. I probably also went when in the first euphoria of early love. I’ve composed poems and come to understand a few personal truths. Graveyards are part of my very childhood and adolescence. They are like my home outside home. Snug and safe.

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My favourite graveyard is located on one local island. It is surrounded by a cobblestone wall, as seen above, and at the other side is the sea. I had never encountered a place of such perfect delicious tranquillity. The sound of the sea and the tree tops rocking gently in the wind.  If I ever become famous, may I be buried there.

This old graveyard is almost abandoned.

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Very few people visit their buried there. Most are long forgotten. Almost no names or gravestones are visible. One gravestone did mark the death to have occurred in 1913. How short is human memory, but at least the flowers remember. No graveyard I’ve been to is as beautiful in spring.

Very random and unimportant

Long absence due to mental exhaustion from stressful life events. But hopefully things are looking up now.

And then there’s the writer’s block. A number of ideas, but not the words to put them down with.

Spring is almost here and my dream of a house has not come true. The real estate market isn’t playing ball this year. And god knows if I’ll even qualify for a loan with my part-time pay in the future. Optimistic side of me thinks: maybe there is a purpose in that delay. Maybe some other wonderful thing is about to happen for which I need my savings more. But, this isn’t a fairy tale. This is my life. Nothing THAT wonderful ever happens.

At any rate, I feel trapped. Greeting spring in a city flat has always been a painful experience. No less this year. It is like being a bird whose cage has been placed on the terrace. Hearing others rejoice around you, while you may smell and feel, but not fly with them.

Or the flight is such effort that it spoils everything. I could rent a house for spring, but it is not the same. I could walk outside and admire other gardens and public parks, but it is not the same. I can’t just lie down under a lilac tree and expect to get away with it. Passers-by would interfere, thinking I was drunk or had an accident. So much for romance.

Point is, as much as I love spring, its arrival is always painful. More painful each year that I cannot express my love for it in the manner that my heart most wishes.