Change [and Cake]

In order to be a good human, I absolutely require something to eat between lunch and dinner. And for additional insurance, there is the mid-morning snack and the chocolate-heavy handful before bed.

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I’ve also come to know something else about myself. In times of turbulence (which would include, say, getting a new job, switching states, and living alone for the first time), I need routine. I crave it. I like things to hold onto.

I had such a hard time in New York at first. I was bouncing between hotels while we frantically tried to find an apartment. I was changing gyms every other day and trying to stay on top of my workouts using free trials. I was eating out 3 meals a day [with NO SNACKS!]. Then once I did find an apartment, I was furniture-less and therefore unable to really unpack for the first week [let alone begin to make my new space feel like home].

But now it’s been a few days, and I feel infinitely better. I joined a gym just a few doors down; I’ve wandered up and down the aisles in the Trader Joe’s I’ll be using; I know my way to both subway stations in my neighborhood; I’ve been to my New York bank a few more times than I’d like; I’ve successfully done two loads of laundry at the least dingy of all the laundromats.

My studio still has a long way to go, but the “kitchen” is more or less in working order. In the three weeks since all this change has gone on, I’ve missed cooking the most. I didn’t realize quite how much of an anchor it is for me. I started to feel less adrift the very first morning that I made oats. My new oven [read: toaster oven] likes to brûlée my bananas – I think we’re going to get along just fine.

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It cooks a salmon filet in a heartbeat too! Mom – I’m going to switch to buying only on-sale white fish. Next week.

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It’s funny – in a way, it feels so perfectly right to be pinching pennies and chopping up vegetables on my apartment floor.

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Now that I don’t have as much time to cook, I’ve taken to making big batches of things to stick in the fridge in case of emergency. This week, whenever my mood starts to nosedive, I know there will be hard-boiled eggs, caramelized onions, and red quinoa close at hand. I doubt I’ll reach for any of those over the dark chocolate pomegranate arils my cousin gave me, but a girl gets credit for trying – right?

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Learning my way around my little kitchenette has been fun, but playing in the kitchen at Food52 has been a real treat. So many copper pans! So many fancy ingredients! So many cooks!

Of course, it’s not all glamorous, not just yet, but I feel so content in there. I’ve never been so happy to pit cherries and pull ingredients and load and unload a dishwasher. It’s so nice to be surrounded by people who stop to Instagram their lunches. It’s so nice to be around people who love words as much as they love chocolate Bundt cake.

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The lasting image from my first day will forever be of an avalanche of buttercream.

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Needless to say, they make beautiful things in this office. They make pies and tarts and cakes – sometimes all on the same day. And then they beg everyone to bring something home!

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I think I’m going to like it here.

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