Saturday, March 19, 2011

Solo Dining

She was cooking for one tonight. Maybe a pasta dish and salad, she thought. Her eyes surveyed the cupboards that were stocked with cans of luncheon meat and sausages, none of which she ever particularly cared for. The fridge offered choices that were more to her liking: packaged greens, cherry tomatoes, frozen sweet peas and parmigiano reggiano from that overpriced deli. She also had two avocados. She could tell they were ripe because she could hear the seeds lolling about when she shook them. Dinner was not without promise.

She tossed together a salad of young arugula leaves, halved cherry tomatoes, some olive oil, rice vinegar, grated parmesan, salt and pepper to sneezing. She decided to throw in a few pine nuts, saving some for the pesto she planned to make for dipping with crusty bread on a weeknight date with the TV. She read somewhere that peanuts and avocados were a rich source of tryptophan, an amino acid that increases the amount of the serotonin hormone made by the brain. Surely, pine nuts and pea-nuts shared some DNA. Because one simply cannot have enough happy hormones, she topped the salad with a couple of thick slices of avocado for good measure. The rest would be for dessert-- avocado whip-- mashed using an electric hand blender, with half a cup of cream, white and vanilla sugar, and some milk to keep the blender going. She would stick it in the freezer and it should be good and ready after dinner.

In a skillet, she made pasta sauce: butter, garlic,frozen sweet peas, smoked salmon, a little flour, milk and cheese. Penne pasta would have been perfect but all she had was spaghetti. To the illumined woman, a clod of dirt, a stone and gold are the same, she recited, drawing from that part of her brain that had been dormant for a long time. She was glad for the memory; these days, she almost always felt like she suffered from mental atrophy.

She cut a piece of day-old Italian bread lengthwise and slathered a butter-garlic-parsley mixture on each half. She sprinkled them with cheese before popping them into the oven. Pasta just seemed lonely without bread. She watched the cheese bubble and the edges grow darker, knowing that all it took was a few seconds to turn toast into burnt bread. Food was the only thing she managed to watch vigilantly, it seems.

Now, her seldom-used china and silver lay spent on the dining table. It had been a proper meal. The table had looked falsely festive, having nothing to celebrate. There, seated at a table meant for two, she was full. But she still felt empty.


Hopeless Romantic Empath said...

It sounds lovely, though surely a feast for two should the heart and soul to feel satisfied at the imbibing of such. One would feel obliged to query, are you alone in the sense that there is no longer anyone there for you?

mental wayfarer said...

Not alone at all. Blissfully married, thank you. Most of what i write are personal-- inspired by a thought, feeling or experience-- but not necessarily about that.:)