There’s something so delightfully escapist about eating a slice of key lime pie in winter.
Winter is a season of slow crackling spices, like cinnamon and nutmeg, with a lingering warmth to take with you into the cold.
But the citrus bite of a key lime pie in winter is a defiant shard of sun in a bank of snow; it’s a flashing yelp of joy before a wave crashes into you and tumbles you into the sand.
The airy merengue dissolves onto my tongue like nostalgia, and I’m transported to a humid memory of myself in Key West as a kid standing next to the 90 Miles to Cuba sign, the closest I’d ever been to the land that gave me my name and a place I had felt but never seen.
I disappear into a recollection of my fingers sinking into soft wet sand behind me as I lean back and watch the waves lap my feet, until a wall of graham cracker crust brings me slowly back to reality.
The plate empties, but the sensation of this escape echoes faintly, like distant laughter lost in the length of a beach.
I bought this pie from First Slice Pie Cafe, in Lillstreet Art Center on Ravenswood Ave. It was delicious. I challenge everyone dealing with the cold temps to enjoy at least one slice of really good key lime before the winter is over; it’ll give you hope and perhaps a pleasant daydream. If you live in Chicago, check out First Slice for great food with a mission and amazing pies and Lillstreet for beautiful art and classes.
This blog has been dormant long enough! Long story short: Life got crazy and I moved to Chicago and then life got crazy again…but a writing exercise I did in my first creative non-fiction class reminded me why I needed to come back.
Why I Cook
Staring sadly at my cold miniature stove in my hot miniature apartment I must remind myself why I cook. I cook because I have to eat. I cook because I love to eat. I cook because bread is my favorite fragrance. I cook because cinnamon cracks on my tongue like Christmas. I cook because I’m horrible at flirting, and a plate of brownies says “I like you” better than I can. I cook because I’m horrible at making friends, and a plate of cupcakes says “Like me” better than I can. I cook because I miss home. I cook because my roots are in arroz con frijoles and plátanos maduros. I cook because truffle salt exists. I cook because cinnamon and nutmeg were born for each other. I cook because food is my third language. I cook because food is everyone’s language.
Isabel Allende, one of my favorite writers, is on the cover of Writer’s Digest this month, giving an interview about her creative process and her new book, The Sum of Our Days, a memoir written as a series of letters to her late daughter, Paula. Here’s the link: The WD Interview: Isabel Allende
I have an hour left at work and nothing to do. I just finished another book, a delightfully girly summer read, Such a Pretty Fat. (Is it sad that I’m too lazy to italicize it like good writing dictates?) At first I wasn’t sure if I’d like it, whether she’d be annoying or amusing, but she was neither. Actually she was HILARIOUS. (Not too lazy to caps, points for me!) It’s a memoir by Jen Lancaster chronicling her efforts to lose weight and I knew that I liked her the moment she used the word “asshat.” I seriously thought Ryan was the only person who used that term but I have been proven otherwise. She’s quick and witty and her sense of humor is similar to mine. A moment I loved was one of her responses to the old skinny-bitch insult, You have such a pretty face, it’s a shame you’re fat: “You have such a pretty face it’s a shame you’re such a whore.” XD There’s many more hilarious moments. I checked out her blog which is pretty entertaining as well.
But the point is, I’m done with the book and still have an hour left of work. (I think I’ll read Brideshead Revisited next since they’re making a movie and all.) No one is calling which I have no problem with. I’d sooner watch the minutes pass agonizingly slow like they like to do than get bitched at by angry customers…Ah, just talked to Ryan on the phone and killed 15 minutes and got interrupted by a flurry of phone calls that took up another 15. Approximately 26 minutes til I can leave. 25. I have a lot of financial stuff about school to deal with. Oh, also I got stuck with the 8-meal per week meal plan because I missed the deadline so now I have to cook my other meals since my meal money will probably run out really fast. Or I could hoard food, or not eat 6 servings in one sitting (ahem, Goldfish crackers, my kryptonite).
Also, I’ve recently restarted to contemplate whether or not I’m an interesting person, which is the fastest way to convince yourself you’re about as interesting as nail clippings. I need to cook again, something new to get out this funk. On the bright side I feel like writing again. (Oh god 15 more minutes!) I do have things I can write about, especially my culture, which I should start doing since it’s the theme of this blog. I think my new inspiration to write has been reading a couple of books that were so informal that I figured, Hey, I could do this. And people might read it too. Besides, if I want to get into one of the publications at school I need practice. I’ve got time now, might as well utilize it. 3 minutes til I leave so time to wrap up. Yes!