Saturday, October 15, 2011
Though not much of a story to tell this evening, dearest. I'm wondering where you are - is that what you meant by "hell gate & its approaches?" I hope everything's alright. I'll post even though, frankly, I'm not really in the mood. But I like the thought that if you manage to check in, you'll find me here. I'm feeling slightly out of sorts, in between things. I looked forward today to going out this evening, to a literary reading in town. I rested, napped, showered, washed my hair and dried it, spritzed on Miss Dior, put on my black skirt, sparkly evening top, and black cashmere sweater - my preparations reminiscent of Caillebotte's woman at the dressing table.
I had the car in plenty of time, drove into town, parked on a nearby side street, and climbed two flights of nineteenth century townhouse stairs to the softly lit brick-walled gallery loft on the top floor, where patrons milled about sipping wine poured from a selection of fine bottles that had been set out (the space is affiliated with a very good wine merchant downstairs), and helping themselves to a modest & enticing spread of nibbles - pristine log of goat cheese, enormous wedge of parmigiano reggiano that flaked & flecked upon carving, thin rounds of soppressata, artisanal baguette slices cut on the diagonal, bunches of red & green grapes, a scattering of dried apricots and figs. Of figs, I feel a small obsession developing... my favorite pizza is one we occasionally get in town, thin sourdough topped with prosciutto, ricotta, arugula, and figs - I love the combination of savory & sweet. This morning I tore out a page from a gourmet magazine, a recipe for hazelnut-fig biscotti. I will add to my exotic-provisions shopping list for Sahadi's in Brooklyn - dried Calimyrna figs.
As ever, I didn't know anyone in this mingling pre-reading wine & cheese. I poured myself a plastic glass of delicious sparkling rosé, and arranged a few delectable morsels on a paper napkin marked with an elegantly embossed "W" - intertwined, doubled letter coincidentally identical to the new logo of my alma mater, always a weird association to make (I've been at a gathering here before and encountered those napkins), as though the event has anything to do with the college, which it doesn't, and yet it's in the same kind of relaxed, elegant style, so why not, might as well be. And here I am, to boot, Class of '81. So there!
I devoured (discreetly as possible) those bites, and discovered that I was quite hungry - suddenly ravenous. I went back for another glass of wine, another dab of goat cheese on cracker, parmesan hunk on baguette, a single red grape, one of green...
This was indeed a gallery, except that other times I've been there it's just seemed like an upstairs party space - but yes, there was art hung on the walls, which I realized were collages of poems that were to be read from this evening. I strolled around the room, perusing the mountings. Which I can't say spoke to me, but I can be impatient at times with such things - so don't mind me.
More attendees by one's and two's climbed stairs and arrived in the door, room cheerfully abuzz, and most seemed either to know one another or somehow other able to spontaneously form congenial conversational groups, or had come with a S.O. or friend, and I was just standing there trying to figure out another geometric beeline to the drinks & refreshments, harder to navigate now that the room was getting more crowded with people standing around obliviously and inconveniently blocking those crucial tables. But I managed, and took one more small helping for myself, but found they'd run out of the rosé (is such a symptom of the lamentable state of our collapsing global economy? I've never known this well-capitalized outfit ever to either purposely or accidentally run out of wine).
And then I found that I just wasn't in the mood anymore. I had delighted in anticipating the little outing all day, enjoyed getting dressed up, arriving there, and smelling so so nice, darling! (One of my little fantasies - that someone near me, sniffing the air, asks - by God, what is that beautiful fragrance? And I reply, Miss Dior, it's very hard to find...). But I had lost interest in the literary aspects. And so, dear reader, I made up another small napkin of delectables, to bring home for D, carefully balanced the square in my hand and made my way clomping delicately as I could down the narrow steep flights, managing (because, left hand occupied, I couldn't clutch the banister) to neither drop the contents of the napkin, nor to trip, in slightly wobbly sandals, on the stairs.
And so I'm home. D was happy for the souvenir treat, we'll have pesto for dinner with the remainder of cornish hen (which came out fine by the way, of course). I did so much cooking earlier today, sweetheart - after a long walk around here in the incandescent blaze of October foliage - a pot of red-wine infused chicken drumsticks stewed in a melange of CSA tomato, eggplant, onion - the entire dish, save the Italian plonk, organic!; preparations for yet another frangipane - poached pears, almond buttercream, tart shell; tomato & onion salsa, seasoned with fresh jalapeno, lime juice, EVOO, and cilantro...
So it was a day of cooking, & of dining, of looking forward to food & to savoring it. With such fortifying repasts throughout the day - was it any wonder I didn't quite have room, as it turned out, for a literary feast?
Many hugs, and all best wishes, dear love. I hope everything is going well, or not too terribly, or whatever is going on, that it's manageable, and that you're okay. Thinking of you, and sending my love your way. There - as you come just now to this line as you read - do you feel my soft kisses on your cheek? Have a good evening... xoxo love, Belle
Gustave Caillebotte (1848-1894), Woman at Dressing Table, 1873, oil on canvas