Cooking, Herbs, and Mental Escapades

I’ve taken to cooking in bulk with the budget of an Irish peasant in the 18th century. With a boyfriend like mine, the meatier, the bulkier, the better. Anything that includes potatoes, beef, and a flavoured sauce is a success. So as St. Patty’s Day looms before us, I made two pots of corned beef and cabbage, in the hopes that my Texan’s appetite will be filled. Two weeks ago I purchased a four-pound roasting chicken and filled a pan with potatoes, carrots, and other greens, that roasted in rosemary and olive oil for two and a half hours. I prepared us a salad and the boyfriend finished before me. He offered to use the salad serving bowl in lieu of a plate, so as to not dirty another (such economized dish use comes from his own nightly obligation of cleaning after dinner). As I entered the kitchen, I realized he had emptied the majority of the roasted meal into his salad bowl and was pouring the remaining gravy into the bowl, leaving two chicken wings, a carrot, and two small slabs of potato in the roasting pan. It took him a few minutes before realizing that I had not been served, after my numerous verbal stabs at the absurd proportion he prepared for himself. Luckily, I had satiated myself on the salad and a martini. For this reason, I must run my 25-square-foot kitchen like I’m running a local soup kitchen.

I don’t know how I turned into an urban knock-off of a suburban housewife, but there’s been something soothing in cooking on a budget, looming as another daily challenge amid the online word games and Bejeweled Blitz that occupy my sunshine-starved mind. I’m not unlike a bear when winter comes upon us, and in years past have taken to locking myself in the apartment for days at a time. Enter the boyfriend and a dog in my life and I suddenly had obligations and distractions from the “woe is me, work is slow, I’m cold and want to just slumber away until a great gig comes along with a perfect, 75-degree day at the beach.” And it’s amazing how these domestic chores have broadened my horizons to actually including winter horizons as I routinely walked my dog in Riverside park as the sun set through the leafless trees along the Hudson. I had never watched the sun set in winter along this landscape and I have my dog to thank for that. 

But on a particularly slow week like this one, I find myself dipping my toe in the last few weeks of winter malaise, embracing every hour of gloomy skies and flooding rain as an excuse to hide beneath my comforter and sleep away the dubious thoughts about my path in life. Sleep is my refuge, my utmost passion of late and I cannot wait until this season leaves us. Because when I’m not hibernating, I’m forced to be “on.” When I was younger, I had little concept of how much energy and dedication it takes to be “on” during a photo shoot, film shoot, recording session, etc. And in the moments I don’t have to be “on,” I love to be a total recluse. If I don’t balance the two better, I worry I’ll be swallowed entirely by either side. And lately, recluse is winning.

In my recent slumber, my dreams are heavily influenced by the lives of childhood friends, where sites like Facebook, allow their constant stream of current events to enter my present day world. I find it strange to have these updates, which blur together in my sleep to childhood memories. I think a daily viewing of Facebook sometimes mirrors the ‘life flashing before your eyes’ moment before death. Without that reminder, I would hardly think of some of these people. Some of these friends were quite unstable as kids, getting into trouble that has followed them into adulthood. I remember I was considered a bad influence by the parents of these crazy kids. I think I was just headstrong, but nonetheless, our friendships were sometimes ended by their parents interaction. This week, I had a dream of one of these friends, who became a very young mother and a series of unhealthy relationships with me. In the dream, she attempted to hang herself three times before succeeding, as her mother watched and broke down into sobs. The same mother who had banned me from her daughter’s life apologized as I comforted her. It was quite traumatic and left me wondering if I should edit the stream of online updates from people of the past. Is it really healthy for us to maintain ties to our early selves, that may not even remotely resemble who we have become today? I’m not sure.

On other fronts, the herbal front, I’ve taken to experimenting with different ancient herbs. The first being salvia (thanks, Miley Cyrus), which must be the most potent herb I have ever experienced. A smidge of these sage leaves is enough to send someone into ten minutes of guffaws. I’ve also taken to melatonin (another frequent consumption of the boyfriend) mixed with kanna. I’d hold these herbs responsible for my crazy dreams, if only the occurrences coincided. I do find it hard to believe that there’s enough kanna in the world to create the euphoria that a day of sunlight does for me. Tomorrow holds promise for such euphoria, thank God. In the meantime, I’ll stick to cooking mass quantities of meat and potatoes to keep the apartment warm and my mind busy.