The day kind of got away from me, although it was a remarkably light "work" day. Got up early to run a quick errand in the East Bay, and go for a walk at Chrissy Field, distanced but with, Dick Daley. Then sat down for a good long zoom chat with my dear old friend Kristen, about life and Covid and friendships and relationship stuff and aging and work and how to keep plogging along even when everything seems so uncertain and new and awkward.
And then it was time to tackle the kitchen. This poor kitchen gets so much use. I have always been a cook... someone who prepares more meals, bakes more goodies, prepares more meals than not. But this now, with MARTHA AVENUE Home Cooked Meals, is a new level of use. Every time the kitchen gets into a state of crazy, I think of Dan Donovan (who built it) calling me a dirty hippie (with all sorts of love in his eyes) and eating whatever I was currently dishing up. The dirty hippie comment was usually because I had 5 pots going and was learning to make mozzarella or something. He also liked me to put a swipe of mayonnaise on his grilled cheese sandwiches... something that was very foreign to me. I miss him still and think of him daily, living in this house which has his handwork ALL OVER IT. And so I cleaned. And although it took me a good two hours to do, it's sparkly clean and ready to take on the new pappardelle prep today. The stove alone took an hour. But it's restored to it's Dan-prefection and makes me feel so much calmer.
Willi worked on making a chicken-wire and wood frame cover for the garden beds. We were having trouble with raccoons harvesting all the carrot babies. Fingers crossed that these are too heavy for little raccoon hands. Found about 10 little pea pods on the pea vines and ate them standing in the garden as we picked. They were delicious!
Dick came by to talk about helping me organize our "basement". We figured that we can stay distanced, get things done that I always had on the back burner for "when I get a month free" (which could have happened, except we decided to start a restaurant in our kitchen!), give Dick something else to occupy his time so that he doesn't clean his own bathroom twice a day, and do a little trade of MARTHA AVENUE food for his help. Win, win. I get some help with organizing the tools and costume/prop storage, and he gets meals to take home!
The evening held a virtual zoom board meeting for The Living History Center and although it's a lot nicer to do board meetings up in the archive/library of LHC in Novato, sitting around a table with all those lovely folks, it was still nice to touch base, work towards new goals of funding artistic and arts organization effected by the shut-down and feel a part of this great institution.
Ended the evening falling asleep trying to watch "Cook Off" (a Guffman-esque parody movie about cooking contests) and eating a yummy pizza covered with sautéed porcini, and getting messages from happy MARTHA AVENUE customers.
My favorites from yesterday:
From Ginger (at 9pm):
"Sorry to bother you at this time, but I just wanted to tell you that YOUR FOOD IS DELICIOUS. Every bite is delectable. The pappardelle with the mushroom Ragu was divine last night. The chicken Tagine and couscous is amazing tonight. The Anadama bread is already half eaten and the brownies are perfection. Thank you for sharing your gifts, talents and food love! Tomorrow is Gnocchi with Nettle Pesto. Can. Not. Wait.
And this from another customer who had ordered a gift delivery from another friend of hers:
"I wanted to tell you how much I loved the Chicken, Olive Tagine chicken. Not only delicious but so fun to look at! I loved when I opened the Mason jar how the beautiful bright green olives were glistening on top, unsullied by the sauce. The olives felt like a bow on a present! It brought a smile of delight to my face. And what brought a giggle was trying to get the juicy, chubby chicken thighs out of the jar. I tried using a fork first. Then a spoon. They would not budge! I thought it was giggle worthy! Finally, I reached my fingers in and pulled them out. They exited reluctantly with a sucking sound! More giggles.
This was all fun, but the greater pleasure was when I heard from my friends,who I have known for over 30 years. This was the second delivery you made. The (gentleman) has Alzheimers and (his wife) is his solo care provider 24/7. The support they were receiving all closed down because of Covid 19. A very difficult situation. (She) texted me the next day and said that she followed the PRO serving instructions and used her Tagine pot that she had gotten on their honeymoon which included Morocco, about 50 years ago. She didn't say that they watch Casablanca but the rest of the fantasy was there. I was so impressed that (she) was able to find a way (via your cooking) to experience some joy in the midst of her very difficult struggle"
When I read that last one to Willi, we both got a little teary-eyed and agreed that this endeavor was a good thing in many many ways.
I will catch up again this evening, but for now, today...be gentle with yourself and those around you. The world, and all of us, are under tremendous strain even if it feels like we are sort of getting used to it. Our bodies and hearts and minds are still feeling the effects of it. Our tempers are short, our hearts are fragile. Take a deep breath, drink some water, rest when you need to. I will talk more at you later tonight.
Menu for Monday is below. Orders for SF (and North Bay) pick up and delivery should be placed by Saturday night/Sunday morning. We still have a bunch of Porcini if anyone wants to buy some. $15/half pound.