Thursday, May 07, 2009

A Homemade Life: I waited in vain and made spaghetti

I spent all of yesterday waiting for a version of the table above, ordered for the large, odd space between our kitchen and dining areas. I hope it fits. My mother is skeptical, sister enthusiastic, husband swears I never told him anything about it. I swear I did.

The delivery company called to say I had to be in between 10 and 3 to receive said table, so I arranged my busy schedule accordingly. Didn't go to spin class or the supermarket or the library. Such sacrifices. Didn't meet my father at our favorite Chinese restaurant in San Francisco for lunch. Instead I made him come here while I waited for the truck. I served him leftover Ed Fretwell soup from Molly Wizenberg's Homemade Life.

It's essentially minestrone and really yummy, though the backstory to how Wizenberg came to have this recipe is sad and it feels ghoulish to make the soup once you know it. (Her family ate a lot of this soup while her father was dying. Mmm.) The orange item on the side is a leftover bouchon au thon, a delightful snack that Wizenberg learned how to prepare in France. Here's a better, if not Saveur-ready, picture of bouchons:
You mix canned tuna, tomato paste, onion, Gruyere, and some other things, put them in buttered muffin tins, bake, unmold, and you have these tidy, ladylike patties. I served them night-before-last to my mother and grandmother and yesterday to my father and would eat another right now if there were any left.

Aside from serving my father leftovers, all I did all day was lie on the sofa reading Giulia Melucci's memoir, I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti, while waiting for the table. Finally, I called the delivery company at 2:45 and said, what's up? 

Dispatcher: We're running late. The truck won't come for at least another hour. 

I told them I was going out for 20 minutes to collect children from school. Did so, came back on schedule, the phone rang: I'd missed the truck. I got the manager on the line and threw a small fit. I told him I'd "stayed home from work" to wait for this table. I consider that a white lie.

Then I finished Melucci's book. Why are all stories of single women in Manhattan compared to the utterly fantastical Sex & the City? I relished that show/movie/cloud of cotton candy as much as the next girl, but it's about as realistic as Star Trek. We all know this, yes? I was single in Manhattan in my 20s and it was nothing like Sex & the City. My sister was single in Manhattan in her twenties and much of her thirties and it was nothing like Sex & the City. It was a lot more like I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti. For the good of the species, you convince yourself to fall for a self-absorbed, not-that-hot male who even on the first date hesitates to pick up the check. (I'm not old school -- I'm new school -- but picking up the check is such a tiny, simple gesture of grace, generosity and good faith.) Then, just when you've overcome your qualms, the self-absorbed, not-that-hot cheapskate breaks your heart. You aimed low -- and missed! Melucci's memoir is this archetypal story told and retold with great brio until the bittersweet final pages. I loved it. Finished the book and made my kids spaghetti for dinner.

Still waiting for the table.


  1. Well, the soup and bouchons were great, and so was the rye bread you don't mention in the post. So good in fact, and so nice on your deck, that I didn't regret for a second not burning out my sinuses on the fiery food at Spices. Thanks.

  2. Whaat type/brand of table was that?

  3. Paul,
    John Boos is the maker. Available through Kitchen Source online.