The last new place / последнее новое место

I guess this is now a tradition: the first post in the new kitchen in the new country. I’m in Siberia now (since Thursday) and I’ve been eating only pelmeni since then (literally), but today I finished cleaning, and it was -27°C outside, so I decided to stay in and make dinner. Cook something other than hot-pot mac-and-cheese for the first time in five months.

While I was chopping the onion—or actually crudely hacking it—I was thinking: this is just making a normal weekday dinner, this is not “deciding not to bother and going out to Cooksoo at the last minute” or “let’s experiment with cool Estonian things I found in the supermarket”—this could just be, I’m at home and living my life. Like I will for the entire rest of my life. This is what it will be like when I get back to the US in June after three years abroad—exactly the same as it was before I left (except worse, because without my cat, who cruelly and unnecessarily abandoned me by dying). I don’t want to stay abroad but I don’t want to go back either.


This is the view from my kitchen table/desk. ПРИВЕТ, РОССИЯ!

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New year new country new coffee

Hello from Kyrgyzstan! I have been here for almost a week and am like on the verge of beginning to attain normalcy here. ALMOST. Beginning.


In the vicinity of Ala-Too Square (the main square in Bishkek)

In the course of my explorations today I went to a new grocery store and was deeply delighted to find that they had my favorite instant coffee. Yes, this is the previously untold end of the saga of the instant coffee taste test: I won. I am actually slightly embarrassed by this. Not only did i find an instant coffee I kind of liked, after almost a year of drinking it I have turned into some sort of horrible instant coffee lover. An instant coffee lover who is horrible, that is; not a lover of horrible instant coffee. I love only the finest instant coffee. I will maintain (with deep shame) until my dying breath that this one is actually good. Continue reading

You will regret reading this. It’s disgusting.

A few notes on this post (ugh, this already sounds like a work e-mail):

  1. If you don’t like it, you may blame Fig’s aunt. (I won’t link to her in case that’s weird.) She requested a new post. I was going to write one anyway, but then I started to feel gross, so I changed my mind, but then I changed it back again.
  2. There is a very small chance I am dying. If you don’t hear from me in a week, you may assume I am dead and move on to greener blog pastures.
  3. Everything you are about to read is gross and unpleasant, and will involve conversations with things and creatures that cannot speak in reality. (Update: I was going to relate a conversation with Fitzpatrick, but I won’t bother. It was even weirder than the rest of all this.)

A straggly band of loners. The roots of tomato disease are already visible.

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Sorry for the long break! There was some life upheaval. I’m back now, sort of. I haven’t cooked anything since last we met, just eaten a lot of things that were in the freezer. Well, tonight I combined spinach, my chickpea/tomato mixture, whole-wheat fusilli, and a lot of mozzarella cheese and ate it, and it was way better than I expected, in fact it was really really good, but my camera battery is dead. (I’m not sure what made it good. The fact that I didn’t drain the spinach and then cooked the whole mixture over low heat, so it was infused with spinach flavor, if there is such a thing? That whole-wheat pasta just goes well with things like spinach and chickpeas?) Want to see a cell phone picture? OK. Here.

In other news, I was sitting at my desk eating my Cajun red beans and rice and reading TheKitchn, and there was an article about Cajun red beans and rice, and I looked at my food really confusedly and took an awful picture.

I don’t wish to discuss whose looks better.

(If you’ve never read this blog before, I want you to know that sometimes the pictures aren’t this bad.)

In third news, I am thinking of changing my blog name, because it is pretty terrible. (And also, kind of depressing. I’m not THAT bad.) I want something good … something that’s like me. Something messy, chopping vegetables at top speed, all over the place, carrot bits flying, shredded cheese on the floor. Olive oil smoking, banging the top of the Swiffer handle into the smoke alarm button. (I dreamed recently that I was chopping up a banana for a banana–beef burrito I was making. Later I thought maybe my brain had meant plantains.) Something without a mise en place, of course; stirring while chopping while overcooking while burning garlic bits while using them anyway while water boils and the sink is filled with dishes; while I am so hungry I eat beans before they’re cooked, take bites from a block of cheddar cheese and then can never give it to guests because there are teeth marks; talking about making homemade crackers and never doing it; the radiator steaming, maybe a bowl of dough next to it, cat food littering the floor below the table, bits of dried kale in a spot I cannot reach next to the stove.




I was away for the weekend and have not cooked all week (well, that’s not true; I made hot chocolate from scratch and hash browns from frozen, pre-grated potatoes), so I have nothing to write for you. I did partake in cooking (and eating!) activities over the weekend, though, and some atrocities were committed in the name of frosting.

I wanted to bring your (y’all’s? Do I have a plural readership?) attention to some forthcoming food things.

I found a Cajun/Creole cookbook today, by Paul Prudhomme. Everything in it looks beautiful and long and complicated and full. The recipes all point to multiple other recipes. To cook these recipes, you have to really mean it.

I want to cook everything. (Everything in the world.)

So, my briefly quasi-vegetarian kitchen is probably going to revert back to meat. I might have to buy HAM HOCKS. AND GIBLETS. I am scared. But I live literally next door to a butcher.

In completely opposite news, Trader Jacqui, vegetarian extraordinare, will likely be making more of an appearance, as told in her own words. You should be glad about this because she bakes works of art, and has also started learning to cook. Please note, however, that I have Middle Child Syndrome, and she is pretty much my third sister, so if you pay more attention to her than me, I may have a temper tantrum.

That’s about all. I want this. Not really.