Do you have foods associated with emotions? I find that moods sometimes strike me so hard that I absolutely have to make a particular dish.
I tried my first Indian food while living in Europe; a friend was living in Stockholm and she introduced me to saag paneer, which is a wonderfully spicy spinach dish with sauce and thick chunks of firm cheese called paneer. You can eat it on rice or on flatbread called naan, and I was absolutely converted from the first bite. I found where the Indian neighborhood in Madrid was, and began visiting frequently for a curry, or going into the local markets there for jars of spices – tikka masala simmer sauces or jalfrezi curry, whatever looked good and not so spicy that it would burn my tongue.
At the time, I lived on the outskirts of the city with roommates who were both flight attendants, and so I was alone a lot. I wasn’t unhappy, exactly, but I was not accompanied, and I do so dearly love to be accompanied even in the simple things in life. This summer, at least at moments, I feel the same way: Husband works and I am home writing and preparing for the next school year, and we don’t know enough people in our town yet to have frequent friends over just to be around. So when I’m seized with loneliness, I turn to the same thing I did in Spain: put a big pan on the stove, chop enough peppers, tomatoes, onions, and even celery to fill the pan halfway, sizzle it with a big pat of butter, and then pour a spicy mix in on top. When I’m feeling luxurious, I mix in cream or yogurt to make it a creamy curry, but mostly I try to make it all spice and veggie.
I also made some fluffy versions of naan to eat with the curry this weekend, which turned out well – some of the puffiest yeast bread I’ve been able to make, which is funny given that naan is usually pretty flat. When I was done cleaning up after that meal, I felt better – not less alone, exactly, but filled up. Also, when I fed it all to Husband later on, his excitement was gratifying. He’s loved Indian food much longer than I have, and given that I tend to be a spice wimp, a spicy curry is welcome in his book.
So, enough stalling – time to get back to work on the novel; my characters work on a farm in the future, so I keep food in mind while I write. Do comment and let me know what foods you like to eat by yourself, or to make you think of others and not feel alone?