Our Meatless Tuesday is here again, earlier this month because it changed from the fourth to the third Tuesday. This was our first time hosting the group and this Tuesday also represents the last day of my wife’s volunteer tax preparation services for AARP. She was back home well in time for the meal, because no one showed up for assistance. Go figure. Regardless of that experience, I was responsible for our portion of the main meal. I opted to prepare Coconut Chickpea Curry, served with Basmati rice, thus allowing me to make a dish that’s moderately spicy but not uncomfortable for those with delicate palates. My wife made a batch of cantaloupe cayenne sorbet to serve as dessert . Though it has a shade of a bite to it, I think only the rare person for whom bell pepper is too hot would find it impossibly hot.
The meal went well, despite the fact that it ended up being only four of us. One person cancelled by phone mid-meal. Two people didn’t bother to cancel, just didn’t show up. They’re the sorts of folks I’d urge to consider becoming my friends. Oooh. I shouldn’t have said that. But it felt right. And, unless something horrific happened, I would think the people merit some unpleasant thoughts.
My fascination with food invades my blog from time to time, sometimes in lengthy streaks lasting weeks or even months. A few short years ago, my fetish was not entirely food but, rather, the masks I made while taking courses in sculpture and pottery. The focus of most of my daily thought was directed toward my mask-making. Before and after that addiction, it was writing, specifically fiction and, for a while, poetry. I think I must have decided, subconsciously, that switching between interests would lead me, eventually, to one for which I was especially well-suited and in which I might easily excel. You know—without the years of practice, hard work, and failure after failure after failure after failure. Most adults come to the conclusion, eventually, that the years of hard work and practice and repeated failures are just part of the process of getting good at something. I came to that conclusion late in life and then promptly forgot it in retirement. I’m reclaiming that knowledge day by day now. Even my current (well, I’d have to say life-long) passion for cooking offers reminders of that life lesson on occasion. Though I don’t know why it is, I can say with absolute certainty that there is no guarantee that a recipe that works fine for four servings will not necessarily work for sixteen servings when quadrupled. The same is true for a recipe for a crowd. That service for sixteen may work great, but try quartering the ingredients to serve four people and you might end up serving your guests a hideous swill unsuited even for poisoning kings.
At this very moment, I’m feeling a bit more lonely than usual. It’ll pass. It always does.