« street scenes | Main | rhymin' and stealin' »

my only drugs are tortellini and mfk fisher

On April Fools day I started a little mini-partial-in-house-personal-retreat for the whole month and I had a wonderful day with some sweet new friends romping about discovery park and other places. We had a wishing rock (which evidently is any rock with a little circle vein of rock that goes all the way around the rock but this was a special one). I made a bunch of wishes for my retreat and life, and in fact I had so many wishes that I had to have a second turn at the rock. We all wished on it and then Michal threw it into the sea. Right as she did a spray of water jetted up and splooshed us and we knew all our wishes would be granted. Hoorah!

What does a m.p.i.h.p.r look like? (you might ask) I meditate for a moment every morning and every night. I go to a longer meditation once a week with my man Nate, which I do anyway, but also doing more personal practice. I'm just making every day it's own special thing. Plus...now that I work at home I can stop and take little meditation breaks when I need to and I'm here most of the time anyway.

I'm a little loosey-goosey with the "indulging in intoxicants" part of the refuge vow, but I'm tightening that ship up for the month of April, which means no late night trips to Wong's for late night company and a Budweiser. Only wicked late night blogging!

Yes, that's right, it means my only drugs are tortellini at Santorini Pizza & Pasta and M.F.K. Fisher.

tortellini

tortellini.jpg

For some reason it seems like tortellini is served with a cream sauce almost exclusively. I'm not a big fan of cream sauce, but I sure am a big fan of tortellini. For those who don't know what tortellini is, it's sort of like a cross between ravioli and a wonton. Only filled with cheese, or preferably, meat.

The Russians make something almost exactly the same, but their versions are usually meatier and they serve them with sour cream and some kind of garlicky Russian salsa, which I also love.

I always ask for tortellini with meat sauce instead, and sometimes that makes Italian waitresses give me frosty looks for being such a philistine. I do not care. Those snotty beetches can bring me some meat sauce and be swift about it!

But at the closest little Italian (Greek, really I guess) joint to my house do they give me frosty looks? No! The first time I ordered it, the waitress asked me, "You mean...still baked though?"

I said, "Umm sure."

Little did I know what delight would be unleashed on me in the form of a little tureen filled with tortellini in meat sauce and what can only be a genuine Isle of Santorini kinda thing (only not with meat sauce) covered with a thick layer of cheese and baked until it is bubbly and so hot it stays hot almost the whole time I'm eating it!

I thought tonight, as I read M.F.K. Fisher, a person who writes about food, that it was one of the finest meals a Daniel Talsky can be served. I tucked it away quite tidily and waddled home.

M.F.K. Fisher

I never knew about M.F.K. Fisher until the Angry Librarian put it in my hand. She wrote about life and love and food before such a thing was bestseller material...way back in the late 1930's!

It's wonderful stuff and makes me feel like I found a kindred spirit when she says things like,

I was basically what Beerbohm calls, somewhat scornfully, a 'host' and not a 'guest': I loved to entertain people and dominate them with my generousity.

or

In spite of all that, I was the one who got dinner on the cook's off-night. I improved, there is no doubt about it, and it was taken for granted that I would step into the kitchen at the drop of a hat.

Perhaps Anne would have liked the chance at having all the family's attention. If so, she never got it. The stoves, the bins, the cupboards, I had learned forever, make an inviolable throne room. From there I ruled; temporarily I controlled. I felt powerful, and I loved that feeling.

I am more modest now, but I still think that one the pleasantist of all emotions is to know that I, I with my brain and my hands, have nourished my beloved few, that I have concocted a stew or a story, a rarity or a plain dish, to sustain them truly against the hungers of the world.

Then there's all the ways she talks about the amazing food itself. Bless her. I was high on Fisher and pasta when I finally stood, 8 minutes past closing time, and said goodbye to Gino on the way out.

Some of you may recall the original story where I told about how I met Gino, and offered to do the Santorini web site for free, just so I could look on the web to see their pizza toppings, and got turned down. Or the story about how a friend of theirs found my blog entry about it and told Gino's son George who contacted me and said they wanted me to do their web site after all.

So as I was walking out, I tipped my cap to Gino, who said in his somewhat broken English, "We get a lot of compliments!"

"On the site?" I said, feeling happy and high.

"Yes. That must mean it's good."

I raised an eyebrow, "You've never seen it?" (It's been up for almost a year now.)

"No. To this day I have not ever seen it."

I could not help but burst out laughing, "That is awesome, Gino...that is so cool!"

"I don't even know how to work those things."

Comments

Tortellini is my favorite of the pastas, and you're dead correct: it's much better with the meat sauce (baked and smothered in mozzerella rocks too). In fact, I'm not a big fan of alfredo dauce in general (unless it's Littlejoe's homemade seafood alfredo, which is truly awesome).

I keep saying, it's hard to find good Italian food in places without a traditional Mafia presence...

Damn you, you bastard, now I'm starving :)

MFK Fisher is Mother-Fucking-Kickass.
I am so hooked on her writing, it's a favorite pasttime to read it out loud on cartrips.

'that must mean it's good'-so fucking hilarious! I love that he's never even glanced at it.

My teacher at the last meditation weekend asked how we fill those little extra moments we get(such as when a bus or plane is late), pointing out that instead of spacing out, or being pissed, or bored, it could be a precious opportunity to sit.

As everyone had been talking about how difficult it is to make the time to sit every morning and night, it seemed a pretty keen reminder of priorities and the extraordinary chance we have to meditate, right here and now-in the midst of the fluster, the mayhem and the delicious, meaty tortellini!

Here's one of my favorite quotes by her:

“When I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it and it is all one.”

Check out "Last House", also. It's a book a reflections she wrote in the last 20 years or so of her life, and is pretty astonishing.