Despite my depression, I still have to work. That is life, right? The world does not stop spinning just because my brain decided to not produce the right chemicals today, and that is perhaps why depression can be so devastating. And yet, somehow that's also a blessing. If you can still keep going, you know that eventually you can recover.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Each day my Host Mom, French Power mom that she is, writes me a little note instructing me what to make for dinner. She spends her weekends planning meals, a lot of times making a few so that all I have to do is heat something up. It's amazing and somehow terribly frightening to me at the same time. I can't fathom being that organized.
So each day, for me, a note. The nanny before asked that it be left in French, and so it is. I still have a hard time with her hand writing, but I can tell that she is making a real effort to write carefully and for that I am appreciative. Somedays, though, even with the good handwriting, the translation doesn't make sense.
"For tonight, please make rabbit."
Oh, yes, rabbit. I know without looking that this item is in the refrigerator, raw. The last time we had rabbit, HM had made it over the weekend and I reheated it. Not tonight. Thumper, served for five, waited for me to make him a culinary masterpiece.
Really? I don't have issue with it being a rabbit, though I certainly kept rabbits as pets when I was a kid. I even kind of like the taste. I mean, it's a lot like chicken. But have I ever thought about cooking it?? No, never.
The instructions were explicit, as far as I could tell. Use the yellow pan, simmer for an hour - okay. But then throw in celery rave and parsnips (two items I have never even THOUGHT of consuming before) and suddenly I couldn't figure out what she was asking of me. Does it all go together? I cook the vegetables first and then... but wait, no.
I got the rabbit out of the frigo and opened the paper. There were all the bits. Legs, breasts, little bloody hearts. Little bloody hearts??? Do I keep that in? What do I do with that?? Host Dad came home then and read the note for me.
"Put it in with oil and then simmer for one hour. Add a bit of vinegar, mustard and a bit of water - "
"But how much water?" I asked, "And what do I do with the vegetables? I already started cooking them, but I was supposed to do the rabbit first??"
"Yes, of course!" he says, pointing to a place in the note. "Cook fast and then put on feu doux for an hour."
"Feu doux??" But he was saying it and so I heard 'fou' which means 'crazy'. "Crazy soft??"
"No...feu! Fire. I don't know how to say it in English."
"Fire soft?" I said, trying to figure it out. "Soft fire?"
"You turn down the heat..."
"Low heat!!!" I cried. "I turn it to low heat! But why do I cook it fast?"
"When it is very hot and you cook just the outsides..." He did not have the English and I did not have the French.
"Sear!! I sear it and then simmer on low heat! But then? How much water? A little? A lot?"
"I glass full I guess," At this point the exercise had us laughing, because how hard could it possibly be to cook a bit of bloody rabbit?
"A big glass or a little glass?" At this point I just felt like I needed to emphasis the vagueness of the recipe, as if he didn't know.
"I think just a glass. You need one glass of water," he said, cupping his hands.
"I'm thinking I need a glass of wine," I said.
He ran downstairs to get a bottle of wine, thinking I meant to cook with the wine. I had a good swig more in mind.
"Okay, so I'm just dumping it all in there like this," the bloody bits oozed from the paper.
In the end the meal turned out pretty good, if a little bit late. Not enough for five people though. Usually the note invites me to make autre chose - other things - along with the meal, but then the items in the fridge don't leave many options. I am beginning to wonder if HM has us all on a diet, because we definitely leave the table hungry most nights. (Well, at least I do.) Unless we are supposed to be eating all the sugary snacks pouring out of the cupboards instead...
Tonight the note consists of one direction. "Cook the chicken in the oven for an hour an a half on the rotissery."
As if I've ever used one of those before. Wish me luck on the autre chose.