One time I dated a guy who, when he broke up with me, told me that “I didn't have any interests and he worried I would just sit around on the couch getting fat.” He had some redeeming qualities, the ability to mince words not among them.
Also, he was wrong. The truth is I have way too many interests. I'm an intellectual sprinter; I dive into something until I believe I have conquered it or I get bored, and then I move on to the next thing. However, the problem is: if you run 100m sprints back to back, by the time you've covered a mile you’re exhausted.
Recently, I’ve been feeling a little winded, between blogging, rowing, mentoring, a new office, a new business, the list goes on. Suddenly, I found myself rushing home to make muffins so I had something to post about. Whoa.
Cooking and the online world seem somewhat antithetical to me. One is about constant input and stimulation, forging wide connections, and staring into a screen, whereas the other is about slowing down, being present and creative, creating community from the people directly around you. I feel weird when I stop to photograph each stage of a recipe, like I’m somehow defiling the goodness of the act of cooking. Getting sucked into the vortex of the virtual world feels like I’m cheating on my real life.
I (suddenly) enjoy writing, but writing into the void is an odd experience; you put your thoughts out there without the benefit of eye contact with the person in front of you, nods of ascension from others in the conversation, or even knowing who it is you’re speaking to in the first place.
It’s like a modern version of the 80’s (70s?) childhood classic: Are you there,
God Blog? It's me, Margaret Sarah.
Sometimes I have a hard time knowing if you're even out there, you my oh-so-loyal if still-fledgling fan base. I appreciate each and every one of the 27 of you who tune in to read each day. (Actually, at last casual glance - I certainly don’t check obsessively every day before I go to sleep - google said there were 591(!) of you. How the heck did you find me??)
So today I tuned out of virtual life and tuned back in to real life.
- took a walk around the lake with my favorite two-year-old (and his awesome mom)
- savored a delicious picnic lunch on my sunny deck
- mucked out my chickens’ coop (read: shoveled piles of poop) and gave them fresh straw bedding as the rainy season approaches
- dined on happy hour beet salad, sausage rigatoni and sipped champagne cocktails at yet another Ethan Stowell restaurant
- went to a fabric store opening in Pioneer Square (it appears sewing is the new hipster-craft-of-choice)
- attended a gallery show of a favorite local artist
- and had a nightcap with a friend at my favorite neighborhood bar (complete with trendy subway tile and bare lightbulbs)
If you find yourself in need of slowing down a bit, make some hummus from scratch, pack it in a picnic, and retreat to your deck, a park, the beach, or even your living room floor to enjoy a slow, homemade meal. (May I also suggest packing some Castelvetrano olives. Even if you hate olives, you won’t hate these).
Picnic Hummus Recipe
(adapted from Simply Recipes)
Makes a batch large enough for a potluck hors d'oeuvres dish, or some to eat and some to freeze (~3 cups)
4 garlic cloves (pressed or chopped)
2 cans of garbanzo beans - drained and rinsed
2/3 cup of tahini (a sesame seed butter)
Juice of 2 large lemons, freshly squeezed
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of salt
Toasted pine nuts for garnish (optional: I put pine nuts on everything, but you could also just drizzle with olive oil)
In a food processor (this is really the best tool here - you could try an immersion blender, though I haven’t ever experimented with this) mix the garlic, garbonzo beans, tahini, lemon, water, and olive oil. (You may need more or less water and/or oil depending on your desired consistency). Blend until you have a smooth, spreadable mixture. Add salt to taste, starting with half a teaspoon.
Pile some on your plate and drizzle with a bit of olive oil, or put it in a serving dish with pine nuts and more olive oil to take to a potluck, or scoop it into a tupperware and head off on a picnic. Way cheaper than buying those little 4oz containers at the store.