Sunday, February 26, 2012

An Ode to D'Artagnan

In 2003, I bought my first laptop. He was dashing, debonaire, sturdy...everything a girl could ask for. I named him D'Artagnan and christened him as my knight in shining armor (he was kind of shiny after all). He was a handsome HP Pavillion notebook with a Pentium 4 processor and 512 MB of DDR SDRAM. I used to know what that meant.

Nine years later, however, my knight in shining armor had grown old and weak. I think he actually wheezed every time I turned him on. He had no battery life, and I had begun to wonder why I was so insistent on buying a machine that had a floppy drive (the salesman, to his credit, tried to convince me that they were on their way out).

Despite my machine's flaws and the fact that I hadn't really used it in two or three years, I had a soft spot for it. Graham says I personify everything, and he's right, but this little guy had stayed with me faithfully through all my years of college. We had a history...and it was full of good memories.

Nevertheless, I conceded that it was time to retire my knight permanently. Graham, my new knight in shining armor (though he's less shiny and isn't named for one of the musketeers), decided that we needed to destroy the hard drive before throwing away the computer. This was the result:

Can you see the look of pure joy on his face?

Really, it worked out well for both of us. He got to dissect the computer, and I got to play with camera settings while photographing the experiment.

So, thanks for all the memories, D'Artagnan. You were a true friend (except for that one time you deleted my 13 page paper).

P.S. - Here's another pregnant shot for Mom. Last night, I thought baby boy might just pop out of my belly button. Graham says that asking him to leave space for me in there is just setting myself up for failure. I think he's right.

Food: A Serious Topic

I once had a friend who told me that if he could just take a pill that would give him all the necessary nutrients to sustain life, he would give up on eating food altogether. I honestly pitied him for the experiences (or lack thereof) that had led him to feel so apathetic toward food. I, on the other hand, plan to keep eating throughout eternity even if my body no longer needs the sustenance once I'm resurrected.

For me, food is about so much more than sustaining life. It's about savoring tastes, experimenting with new flavors, sharing experiences with friends and family, and creating memories and traditions to be relived over and over. Food is science, art, history, and culture all wrapped up into one tasty package.

I didn't know until a few years ago that not everyone's family regularly discusses things like the sugar content of various types of oranges and the growing seasons of the big vs. small strawberries. I didn't realize that it is uncommon to have so many family traditions that center around eating certain meals on certain holidays. I never considered that for many people family history is not directly connected to knowledge of certain cuts of meat and rare herbs.

But in my family, understanding and appreciating food is essential to living what many call "the abundant life".

I recently came across the following quote: "Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are." (The Physiology of Taste)

For me, I think there is a lot of truth in that statement. Here are a few recent meals that I've made:

Hash...this simple meal of leftover roast beef pan fried with potatoes is the ultimate comfort food that I remember from my childhood. Sometimes, simple is best. A lesson I'm trying to live by each day.
Piroshki...a tribute to my Russian heritage, and a family favorite since just about forever. I have introduced various roommates to this meal. Every time I make it (like today), I feel like I'm sharing a little bit of my history with those I cook for and understanding my roots a little bit more.

Chicken Asparagus Roulades...a seemingly fancy meal at first glance, but surprisingly fast and fairly simple to make. This is what I made Graham for Valentine's Day this year, and it was somewhat of a leap of faith. I was afraid I would burn it, and I was a little surprised in the end how well it turned out. Like so many things in life, you never know what you can create if you're too afraid to try.

What are your favorite meals? What do they say about you? Link the recipe in the comments if you want. I'm always looking for new things to try.