4.25.2016

Outta Time


I moved to New York City in January of 2008. It was an exciting, exhilarating and on rare occasion, curious year. After nearly six years living and working in the global arena, I felt it was time to seek greener pastures. My then American boyfriend of five years and I decided that our future plans didn't include one another. Another life experience that fulfilled the old adage of everything happening for a reason. There was a wonderful job opportunity in London with the software firm for whom I was working. Between the end of a relationship and a new international opportunity, the writing was on the wall. It was high time to close a very halcyon chapter and write my next adventure. "Auf wiedersehen and see ya next time" I shouted upon boarding the plane bound for the turquoise waters of Boca Raton and the Breyer's den. I was returning home to the USA.

2008 was the year that you-know-what began to really hit the proverbial fan. Major financial institutions closed down. Sadly, lots people lost their jobs. I saw numerous dads in the parks with babies. The city of Manhattan went into a mass hiring freeze. No one was impervious to what was happening. This ripple effect touched on every part of the world. Sometime in late Spring, our baby brother packed his bags (after spending two fruitful years in Beijing) and headed for the Big Apple. An exceptional corporate opportunity awaited him. After discussion with my mother, it was agreed that I would take a break from "my New York minute" and spend a week with my folks in Germany. In addition to perusing my old haunts, I would officially welcome Keith (who also spent time in Deutschland) and together, we would travel back to the United States, hand-in-hand. Or so I wished! 

As luck (or misfortune) will have it (and with we Breyer's, nothing phases us), Keith sat in business class. Yours truly was relegated to the back of the bus in economy. Actually, it was worse than that. I was in the very last row to be exact. An hour or so into the flight, the captain announced that we would be making a quick detour in Edinburgh. I believe Keith and I heard one another cheering from our seats. As neither of us had been to Scotland before, we envisioned a spectacular few hours drinking whiskey, chasing Nelly and painting the town red. Imagine the loathsome slump when it was decided to instead curb the aircraft while they controlled the pickle. I cannot remember if it was a mechanical issue or someone needed medical attention. No matter. For nearly three hours, we sat with doors ajar offering glimpses of Scottish concrete. There was a group of young German men in the row next to me. It was a bachelor party and they started the party in-flight. The young lady sitting next to me literally had her back to the arm divider. So much for air etiquette. It was an endless exploit. We arrived at JFK well past three in the morning am and the very next day, Keith began his adventure. He moved in with Michelle and that was that.

A week or two after Keith's arrival, the bossy elder Breyer instituted family night at my little Chelsea flat. I cooked the kids requests. As whatever broiled, bubbled, simmered or stewed, we three sat artlessly on a an oversized leather couch plucked from the Breyer's Charlotte living room. I am sure bickering of some sort or another filled the Sunday evening air as football echoed across my familiar walls. To me, these nights were the very best of times. Despite your typical sibling shenanigans, we Breyer kids gallivanted a great deal together.  I am also sure my having a key to their apartment catalyzed things. One Halloween, my sister wore a very clever costume. A white t-shirt with a clock pinned to it. When folks asked who she was it was simple: Business Time from Flight of the Conchords. HBO was not part of my NYC austerity plan. She received kudos deluxe. Regrettably, I listened to some moron who suggested I "dress up" like Liza Minnelli. We started at a house party and upon arrival at a coveted hotel party, I was curtly informed "no costume, no entry". Thanks American Apparel, prodigious amounts of glitter, false eyelashes and top hat from a local costume store. The person manning the door thought I was dressed for a normal evening. Despite strategic negotiation, or lack thereof, my evening closed with a Grey's Papaya hotdog in hand as I returned to 21st street cloaked in utter defeat. This very night gave life to a now famous story for Keith. I'll leave the sordid details to him.

My beloved New York aside, time has been a knotty assignment for me the past six months or so. Incredible new job, great commute, delightful engagement, intimate wedding 40 days later, trip to NYC, another trip, honeymoon prelude, a global celebration of marriage affair…the list goes on. It is a phenomenon that I am nearly current with my thank you cards. I have taken to preparing lists and lists. Satisfaction as lines are slowly but surely checked off. Some things in life do indeed amaze. I spoke with my mother months ago on the topic of balance. She said that once our second nuptial soiree was behind us, time would be mine. As this has not exactly rung true, I followed up the conversation last week. She reminded me that most find balance with a regimen. And so, starting tomorrow, I will heed her words and start small. Instead of "planning" on the gym after work - which might or might not transpire continent upon my day (more often that not, not) - I will begin exercising in the mornings. My cousin Kathryn just completed a 130 km in 30 days challenge and I have embarked upon a slightly abridged version of 100 km in 30 days. I have also committed to preparing two meals on a Sunday so as to have Monday and Tuesday covered. We bought a new grill and Matthew will take over another night. For the remainder, we will throw caution to the wind and enjoy the ride. Hello, takeout! 

Of course like most avid GOOP followers, I ordered Gwyneth's new cookbook It's All Easy: Delicious Weekday Recipes for the Super-Busy Home Cook. I happily found truth in her forward. In it she says: "Everywhere I go, everyone seems to be inundated with obligation. Everyone is under a intense amount of pressure to do multiple things simultaneously, and to be doing them to an impossibly high standard. It seems to be a facet of life for our generation: hyper-responsibility. I'm not quite sure why we have done this to ourselves or how/ why this direct was imparted to us, but we seem to be living lives where our self-imposed standards leave little time for daydreams and meanderings. We yearn for that lost aspect of life, before smartphones hijacked picnics and walks on the beach…" Bingo! This statement is juxtaposed with the notion of people forging full steam ahead despite the endless demand, who are…"not willing to give up on the moment - the small and beautiful moment of preparing food with some care, by one's own hand and sitting down to eat it with the people they love." At this moment in time, my usually elaborate and detailed dinners will take a back shelf and make way for simpler options. And worry not. Of course I remain committed to preparing lovely food for my husband, our families and friends to devour.

In addition to the new regimen (which will carry the perfume of sustainability), I plan to strategically carve out time for all the other things and activities that I love. Like reading food magazines, tearing through books, executing restaurant due diligence, planning trips, playing tennis, hitting golf balls, running, downloading new music, drinking coffee in charming little shops, sitting on the back porch with my husband, walking around our charming neighborhood with him and the likes. As for Beets and Bratwurst, I have fallen off the wagon. But I am officially back and returning with a gusto. Instead of daily articles, I remain humbly committed to writing whenever I can. As I crooned once upon a time, I will say again. I cordially invite you to join in my journey. I promise to infuse this space with stories, humor, my verve and most importantly, recipes that can be created in your very own kitchen. In return, I ask that you please not be a stranger. The only difference between then and now will possibly be less time consuming recipes that can be produced in your very own kitchen. And with that, I will post a recipe for a photograph that earned me 480 likes on Instagram. Who knew this splendid green would garner such fervent attention?

Rapini 

Ingredients

1 head of rapini (otherwise known as broccoli rabe)
2 TBS of extra virgin olive oil (keep the bottle on hand)
Chopped garlic - my husband exudes vampire like tendencies - three cloves for us
1 tsp red pepper flakes
Juice of one half lemon
Kosher salt

Do Your Thing

1. Thoroughly rinse your rapini but do not dry off. Remove and discard the ends. Roughly chop.

2. Sautee in olive oil and garlic on medium heat until wilted. The water droplets on the stems will help move things along.

3. In the same hot pan, turn off the heat. Finish off with red pepper flakes, a pinch of salt and a squeeze from half of the lemon. 

4. Drizzle again with olive oil before serving.




1 comment:

  1. Ahh i wish i could cook in a well manner but its just a wish i think :( anyways your blog is very helpful for me thank you very much for your efforts.

    ReplyDelete