Except for the pressure of time, I would spend the morning cooking. I am in the mood to make a rich, spicy lamb stew; something reminiscent of the sort of meal one might find in coastal north Africa. Though I have never been to Morocco, Algeria, or Tunisia, I feel an inexplicable kinship to the chefs and home cooks of the region. Today, I feel especially attached to them. I wish I could comfortably take the time to celebrate that kinship by creating a lamb stew whose aromas would mimic those of north African kitchens; kitchens of the  meat-eaters there, who gratefully prepare heavily spiced, lamb-based meals.

And I would take the time to cook the chicken I thawed yesterday morning with the intent of using it for a meal last night. But I was too tired to cook by the end of the day. And, besides, this household has to make some adjustments with respect to mealtime. I am used to three meals a day, while mi novia is content with a breakfast of cereal (which is fine, for a while…), followed by a lunch a bit after mid-day, and then snacks around dinner-time. I am confident that, once we move and can devote time to creating and/or renewing culinary and gustatory rituals, eating will again become a thrice-daily celebratory occasion. At least I hope so. But, back to the chicken. I might use the chicken in a recipe provided by Green Chef. Or, more likely, I might wing it, using ingredients that pair nicely with (and dramatically enhance the flavor of) rather bland bird-flesh. Spicy, in other words. Maybe a rich tomato-based sauce flavored with anise and/or fennel and garlic and lime juice. Or lime chutney! Except there is no lime chutney in this house anymore. There once was lime chutney here, but either it was used up or someone decided it was too old and outdated to be of any value. I am deeply suspicious of “use by” or “best by” labels attached to food. The implication of those labels is that food that has “expired” is the equivalent of ricin or strychnine or amatoxin. That’s rarely, if ever, the case. It’s just an insurance plan for the canning and preservative subcategory of the food industry. No, I’m not a skeptic; why do you ask?

I do not have the time to be blogging about eating or about the sinister deficiencies of the gastronomic-industrial complex. I have a LOT to do. Packing, moving, unpacking, handling the buyer’s repair requests, etc., etc., etc. The movers are coming a week from tomorrow. The termite inspector is coming today. The tree trimmers are coming today. I must take untold numbers of pails of unidentified paint to the hazardous waste collection site on Saturday. My desk must be emptied and ready for pickup tomorrow (but it’s going to a good home, so that’s good). I have to arrange to shred another ten thousand pounds, more or less, of paper. And, if that’s not enough, I have to shower and shave sometime soon. Ach! There’s something to be said for being rich enough to afford to pay servants; I think that’s true, though in reality I have never been sufficiently flush, financially, to make that statement with unequivocal certainty.

Cooking and then packaging and freezing enormous numbers of fabulous meals would be my preference this morning to fretting about the impending move, the upcoming sale, and the aftermath of both. But fretting is a waste of perfectly good mental energy. Yet, I waste it with the best of them. Meditation. I keep coming back to that. But I don’t seem to find the right time at the right moment. I need incense, soft music to lull me into a serene state, and the comforting voice of a woman whose slight English accent is just “foreign” enough to seem exotic. Yes, that’s what I need. That might transform me from a moderately uptight, slightly stressed, too tense man into a guy who is thoroughly relaxed and accepting of whatever comes his way. The kind of guy who, when faced with difficulties, lets them roll off of him like water off a duck’s back. Yes, meditation. Or, when time is tight, medical marijuana.

It’s 5:35 a.m. Time to get serious about doing something with the lamb and chicken I thawed yesterday. I need to get it done before breakfast. Thereafter, I will be operating at full-throttle until the day is done.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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