Those of you who know me personally may have noticed that I've been a little grumpy of late. I've been pretty much living at school (only ever leaving to go and do my laundry or get some sleep). I'm tired. Frustrated. And just generally feeling like I've got no options. Not a nice place to be.
So of course, I've been waiting for options to open up. Something's got to happen right? I mean, I can't really be expected to go on this way. What is more irritating is that at the moment I would probably have to accept charity to get myself out of this situation despite the type or work I do and the hours I put in. I don't think anyone has quite realised just how... frustrated I am. Okay, so one or two people have noticed. Basically a month of not having anywhere to relax. When everyone goes home after a day of screaming children, I'm still at school. Either keeping myself busy working, or, if I'm shattered, keeping myself entertained.
My big problem is a kitchen. I've always liked cooking and being in the kitchen. Putting together what are essentially compositions of food. Setting myself challenges (like finding a dessert that goes with a dry red wine for example). Trying to come up with the perfect 3 or 4 courses that just goes together perfectly. Finding ways of using whatever's in season. Poetry in action... Only with food rather than words (the right food in the perfect order). I had never expected this to have been a problem.
I was going to expand a little. I'm not a big baker. I'm pretty bad with things that I have to leave alone for long periods of time. Rice is almost always burnt. Cakes I just find frustrating (although the friands were just plain awesome!). So I was going to start doing breads. Things like ciabatta or white vienna. Perhaps even a 5 grain. I've even gone out and found myself an old 1970's Kenwood mixer.
If you think about it, we're gouged on bread. We're offered up horrible sponge like white things - spongy texture, no flavour. And we're charged a crapload for the privilege. If however, we were to take out some time in the morning to mix our bread and let it proof during the day, bake it in the evening, a much more interesting loaf of bread, normally sold for around $5, would probably cost us less than $1.50. And that's with sod all effort.
I was also going to try my hand at beer. I find the whole idea fascinating. How much honey would you put into a pilsner to get just a slight honey after taste? What things make it bitter? What sort of things give a beer it's character? It's just cooking except with a whole lot more patience needed. Speaking of character - have you ever tried Miller's lager? Apparently the idea of an American lager is to keep out any character thus not offending anyone. Horrible stuff. A great standard for what not to brew.
I found it interesting last week when people were talking about buying one of those Easi-Yo things. It's essentially 2 jars - one insulated and the other fits inside it. Here's a tip people - if you want to make your own yoghurt, never mind Easi-Yo. If you boil some milk (sterilise it), let it cool a little, chuck in some yoghurt (for the cultures so it needn't be a lot), put it in a covered vessel (something not air tight) and leave it somewhere warm and dark, in a day/couple of days you'll have yoghurt. Do it with cream instead and you end up with crème friache.
Never mind a bedroom. What I'm really after is a serviceable kitchen and somewhere to entertain people. Cooking for yourself is so much different from cooking for other people.
But my biggest thing about cooking? Being able to actually focus on actually cooking. If you've never gotten lost in the cooking and set off the smoke alarms and only then realised that you've generated a lot of smoke or finished cooking and gone to construct the dessert only to realise that the place is a complete sty and there's just no where to do it (the fridge often works in this scenario) then you're just not getting into it. I hate watching people who can't seem to focus on what they're cooking and would gladly sacrifice the food for washing up dishes or wiping down surfaces etc.
So I've got places I can read. And a place to watch TV (streamed on the computer). What I'm really lacking... somewhere I can invite people over and enjoy a good meal with. What better way to say thanks to people than to invite them into your home and enjoy a meal with them? Or to say "I appreciate you"?
It's going to happen. It's got to happen...