This summer is off to a busy start. With house guests, trips, and another residency for NYU’s Paris Writer’s Program, I’ve been neglecting this blog, and I’m sorry.
I’m currently in Paris, hearing from famous authors such as Zadie Smith and Lydia Davis and generally pinching myself each day. While I’m trying to be present and focused on writing and literature, my mind always goes to food. Thinking of food – how to prepare it, serve it, and eat it – is, I think, a creative pastime, so I cut myself some slack when my mind wanders to how best to braise leeks. But then again, I totally use cooking as distraction and I’m too quick to allow cooking-related things to cut into my writing time and writing brain space. I call it “creative procrastination” – procrastinating from doing one creative thing (in my case, writing) by replacing it with another creative thing (in my case, planning and cooking meals). I’m trying to stay focused here in Paris. Yet still, always, I think of food. How many creamy wheels of brillat savarin can I fit in my suitcase? My mind is drifting back to sunny Spain and the future dinner parties I’ll host in our dark blue dining room (a room, which, I’m preparing to miss terribly when we move on to Jerusalem).
I’ve mentioned my new pursuit: Cooking for strangers as part of the social dining movement that is EatWith so I wanted to provide a little update: We’ve hosted four dinners and a brunch so far, and they’ve all been a blast. With each dinner, I learn the importance of mis en place, which is the French concept of putting everything in its place. The most important part of a smooth EatWith dinner is preparing everything I can in advance, and having an exact plan for the entire dinner – which wines to serve, which food goes on which plates, when the next dish needs to go in the pan, etc. It’s so, so much work. And it’s about 10 times more fun that I thought it would be. We’ve hosted a number of Americans, as well as a guests from Singapore, Canada, and Hungary.
Recently, a journalism student at El País, Spain’s biggest newspaper, contacted me and asked if he could shoot video at one of our EatWith dinners and interview me a story on the sharing economy in Spain among millennials. (Click on the photo below to read the story, which is in Spanish, and to see the video, in which I’m interviewed). I’m hoping the exposure leads to some future dinner guests.
Okay, back to trying to NOT think about food. But first, I leave you with some food prep photos from my kitchen back in Madrid.
To food. (No, to writing!!!)
The Dame in Spain