The continued cold weather makes me want to cook. Today, I found out that the little conglomerate of shops and sheds which becomes a full flea/farmer’s market on weekends stays open on weekdays, too. Some of it. It’s very quiet. The shop owners sit outside their shops having cigarettes and chatting until a customer walks by. But there are fruit and vegetable stands, still.
Two rolls of paper towels: 2,90 PLN
Romaine lettuce: 2 PLN
A tremendous head of broccoli: 3 PLN
One kilogram of potatoes: 1 PLN
(Divide prices by 3 for USD.)
I took these, added hard-boiled eggs and a can of kidney beans. I made a dressing by roasting sunflower seeds with chilies in olive oil; the flavor made it seem like more of a taco salad than a nicoise. I steamed the broccoli over the potatoes while they were boiling, which made me feel as if things were being done efficiently.
The whole thing still took a long time, but I’m trying to be more Nigella Lawson in my attitude towards cooking. Relaxed, that is. I recently skimmed through How to Eat because it was released as a very inexpensive Kindle book, and I found it to be inspiring. Not that I followed any of the recipes, but in its attitudes. I probably wouldn’t have set out to make this salad in the first place without having read it.
After all this, I went to the Arkadia Carrefour to replace my roommate’s eggs and lemons, which I had used in making the salad, and was reminded how much I dislike really enormous supermarkets. Every time I’m in that Carrefour, I drop something and break it. Last time it was a glass bottle of carrot juice. This time it was an egg. It’s such a huge place, and there are so many people rushing down the aisles.
One of the nice things about being in Poland right now is the ability to choose between a faster-paced and a slower-paced way of living. They certainly have all the modern conveniences, including supermarkets larger than the Google campus, but they also still have the little stores that only sell one thing–bread, meat, fruit–if you want them. It’s nice to be able to have it both ways.
Oldfield Primary’s Jelly Toad: an old image, from part of the 2010 Larkin25 celebration of the poet’s death.
Read Julian Barnes’s The Sense of an Ending today. I liked it more than I am capable of saying.
“We live in time—it holds us and moulds us—but I’ve never felt I understood it very well. And I’m not referring to theories about how it bends and doubles back, or may exist elsewhere in parallel versions. No, I mean ordinary, everyday time, which clocks and watches assure us passes regularly: tick-tock, click-clock. Is there anything more plausible than a second hand? And yet it takes only the smallest pleasure or pain to teach us time’s malleability. Some emotions speed it up, others slow it down; occasionally, it seems to go missing—until the eventual point when it really does go missing, never to return.
I’m not very interested in my schooldays, and don’t feel any nostalgia for them. But school is where it all began, so I need to return briefly to a few incidents that have grown into anecdotes, to some approximate memories which time has deformed into certainty. If I can’t be sure of the actual events any more, I can at least be true to the impressions those facts left. That’s the best I can manage.”
– Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending (2011)