Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Grilled polenta cakes, cardoon puree, caramelized onions and carrots. In cute little stacks like napoleons.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Blanched asparagus with meyer lemon juice and parmesan.

Monday, March 29, 2010


Curried butternut squash bisque.

Friday, March 26, 2010


Panang curry noodles with tofu and bok choy.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Five onion soup, roasted baby artichokes with meyer lemon butter.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


At the end of this, the first day since my last post on which I have not been grading, I am reminded of this essay by David Sedaris in The New Yorker last year. He meets a woman who suggests to him that each person's life is a stove:

This was not a real stove but a symbolic one, used to prove a point at a management seminar she’d once attended. “One burner represents your family, one is your friends, the third is your health, and the fourth is your work.” The gist, she said, was that in order to be successful you have to cut off one of your burners. And in order to be really successful you have to cut off two.

So, I think tonight, before my next batch of papers comes in tomorrow, which burners do I crank down?

Duh. Obviously, not the work or the family burners.

I don't think I entirely shut off the other two, but they're certainly at a lower flame. I talk with friends on the phone (and a husband, too!), and hang out with them once every couple of weeks (or, with said husband, every couple of months). So that burner's not entirely cut off. And the health...well, I don't sleep much, but I do run every night, and I do not compromise on the food. There is simply no reason to eat crap food. So I guess that burner's still on, too, if at diminished capacity.

But that counts, right? A small fire can still boil a pot of beans, as they say. And so, in lieu of real blogging, I'll celebrate my reduced but valiant little imaginary health burner by nodding for a few days to what's happening on my real burner. Because I'm feeling the need to celebrate those bits of my life that aren't on full rolling boil every day.


Last night: celery root and spring onion vindaloo
Tonight: Braised escarole with roasted red peppers, capers, and almonds


And for those who like to play along: which imaginary burners have you turned down or off?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


I'm a little tired of it, frankly. Our department has a very strong culture of mutual support and friendliness and, yes, collegiality, whatever that means. Lots of polite. But it becomes more clear to me all the time that the politeness is a veneer over the top of real backstabbing, sly perpetuations of professionally and personally unproductive [intellectual, pedagogical, generational, ethical] divides, and the most backhanded compliments. I don't think I knew, when I hired on six years ago, that I would need to be very, very circumspect in what I said and to whom. In many ways, I wish I were back in the department where I did my PhD, which was openly rancorous and territorial, but where you felt you actually knew where you stood with everyone. The rancor was, oddly, a kind of respect. I don't pussyfoot very well, and I find myself getting weary of the cheerful treachery of my cheshire coworkers.