There are some habits you don’t think twice about…actually, if it’s a habit, you might not even think ONCE about it, that being the whole habit meme.
Reading is a habit, one I developed pretty young. I was lucky to be surrounded by books and newspapers and magazine, and by encouragement and by example to make reading a daily practice.
But I also have an infinitesimally small, low, little, tiny-teeny threshold of boredom. And I’m highly distractable. Attention span of a gnat. So I have always, how shall I put this, read around.
Comics and Cookbooks
Classics and TV Guide
SO good habits are good to be chained to. I don’t think twice about brushing my teeth, for instance. Part of the habits is all the little habits that go before it. I have toothbrush and toothpaste and floss and rinse – and they all go on my shopping list when they get low, and they’re all together in the place where I use them.
My recent re-location has made ever so very mindful of habit – like how I like my morning coffee, when I like to read – even how cooking is a habit. I have now twice purchased foodstuffs with the good and honest intention of cooking something up, with no memory or other clue what that might be……
I have no current habit of cooking in this kitchen. I have a former habit, of many years ago, when the room was a different color and I had a habit of time and place of picking things up and moving forward with them. I have a habit of cooking in another place, with other objects around me, other people around.
It’s not bad, it’s just different, and it requires thinking where formerly a half-thought, a nano-thought would have sufficed. It’s like going on vacation and not finding the paring knives until your last day in the house, so you spent all week cutting everything with a bread knife, having never realized how often you cut things with a paring knife, and how your grandmother seemed to never use another knife…..
My cookbooks are mostly packed up and in a storage unit, so I have to also pack up the habit of flipping through and thinking “Wasn’t there a Fennel Salad here somewhere….well, what’s this then? I have a yellow onion….”
The white board on the fridge ( another habit, write it where it can be easily seen) is in another kitchen, so I have no timely reminders to “USE FENNEL FOR ________” or
“TAKE CHIX OUT FREEZER”
Since I have now stale bread, I’m going to make some Bread Soup, which can be my lunch through the week.
(Variations on Pappa col Pomadoro)
4-5 garlic cloves, minced (habit – I miss my garlic press)
Also – onion/celery/fennel/sage
2 T olive oil
Tomato (2 big juicy ones or4 canned, diced); 1 cup tomato sauce (I’ve got some canned and the whole thing is going in)
1 cup chicken broth (I’ve got an open box, so again – it all goes)
3 cups dried bread (I have 1 9oz loaf baguette)
¼ c chopped parsley (or the rest of the bunch in the fridge – finely chopped celery tops are also nice)
- My baguette was dried out before I cut it up, so I soaked it water to soften. Seriously, put it in a 9×13 pan and pour water on. I learned this with bread salads and it works for bread soup, too.
- 1 T oil around the soup pan, add the aromatics: garlic, I’ve also got some fennel and I like a little onion, so it’s a pretty full pan.
- Add the tomato, you want to get the juices out and take some of the raw off it.
- Take the bread out of the water and drain, breaking it into pieces and adding it to the veggies. The middle will be drier then the outer parts, it will still be soaking up the juices. You want a mix of piece sizes, creating different textures. This can be as thin or as thick as you like it.
- Serve with a little olive oil drizzled on top. I sometimes top with a little Romano cheese.
Adapted from Marlena Spieler From Pantry to Table 1991, Aris Books. pp.309-10.