Trying to be Self-Sufficient

There’s a bowl of pasta sauce cooling on the counter of my composer-house kitchenette. It was easy: chop an onion, half a green pepper, and the mushrooms that’ve been in the fridge a little too long, and sauté them all in a little bacon fat and olive oil. (All things in moderation.) Add half a 28-ounce can of tomatoes, hand-crushed, a splash of red wine, some salt, and a tablespoon of mixed herbs. (My portable pantry contained a jar of usual suspects–oregano, basil, and marjoram. I would have brought them separately, but on packing day I couldn’t find three small jars, and besides, I usually use them together.) Simmer on low for an hour or so. Adjust seasoning to taste.

There’s a slow-cooker on the counter, too, working its magic on a batch of chili: ground turkey, the other half of the green pepper, another onion, a can of beans, and a tablespoon of another spice blend I’d brought: cumin, paprika, and chili powder–again, they’re things I usually use together anyway.

Both of those will go into the fridge for lunches or dinners this week. Today’s lunch was a riff on cacio e pepe: I cracked an egg into a mixing bowl and whisked the heck out of it, then added a bunch of pepper, a palmful of grated parmesan cheese, and a fat handful of parsley. I made a batch of linguine to go with the red sauce, whisked a tablespoon of the starchy pasta water into the egg mixture, drained the pasta, and returned a lunch portion of it back to the pan. I poured in the egg mixture and stirred vigorously until everything was coated and the egg was cooked by the residual heat. I’d thought about adding a handful of spinach, but it was in the refrigerator down the hall, and I wasn’t quite dressed to go outdoors.

Lunch was spiffy. I’m looking forward to the chili, and the veggie-sauce pasta. None of this is extravagant, but all of it is better—or, at least, cheaper—than take-out. But I’m taking care of myself; I’m trying to be self-sufficient. It’s good to know that I can. (I mean, I’ve been cooking for a long time, so there’s not really any doubt, but I like doing it.)

On the other hand, I missed a stain on a pair of trousers when they came out of the washer. I’d hung them to dry rather than blast them with the heat of a commercial dryer, so there was a chance they’d be okay. I bought some stain remover, sprayed the trousers, waited a bit, and then put them into the washer again. I slid my quarters into their slots and hoped for the best.

In addition to pre-treating, you should soak the trousers, she texted me.

That ship has sailed, I replied, since they’re already in the washer.

Well, good luck, she pinged.

Thanks, I said. I should have asked you first. #tryingtobeselfsufficient.

The trousers came out of the wash unstained.

I made the chili and the red sauce and lunch in running clothes. I’m trying to be self-sufficient, but I didn’t want to press my luck.

 

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