Vapors Note:
Journée de Collapse
6 February 2018

¶ Nothing to report. After yesterday’s adventures, it’s no wonder that I was a basket case for most of the day. My one Tuesday task, gathering up the laundry to take it downstairs — I do some things myself in the laundry room down the hall, but the bulk is sent out for wash-and-fold — seemed way too demanding, and then I screwed up my alternate Tuesday task, changing the sheets, by making the bed instead. But what threatened to be a washout on the household front was redeemed when Kathleen called to say that she had a bad headache and wanted to climb into bed the moment she got home. As long as I was going to unmake the bed, by folding up the quilt and distributing the pillows for use — two for Kathleen, six for me — I thought I might as well keep going, so the sheets got changed after all. And the laundry bag, which is always heavier when I carry it down than when I bring it home — dirt? — got to where it was supposed to go. Also, the old thermal blanket, which had a bad tear (from wear) was replaced by a new one.

Kathleen wanted a light dinner, of course; in fact, she wanted breakfast: scrambled eggs, toast, and tea. I couldn’t decide what to make for myself. I’ve been reading all these books about food writers, Elizabeth David mostly, and the effect, not unlike that of serious cooking itself, is appetite-suppressing. Then I remembered a can of soup that I had bought at Agata & Valentina, deluxe stuff, $4.99 for 10.5 ounces. A “semi-condensed” lobster bisque. I thought that I would eat that and then write it up. But it was too bland to write up. If I’d had a steamed lobster in the fridge, along with some cooked marble potatoes — aptly named little things that A&V has from time to time — I could have made a really tasty lobster bisque in the time that it took to heat the contents of the can. The canner will go nameless. While sipping the soup, I was reading Richard Olney’s memoir, Reflexions, about which more anon. 

Meanwhile, I wish I could remember where I first got wind of M F K Fisher. It was in Houston in the Seventies, I know; I don’t remember not having a copy of the omnibus Art of Eating. And I’ve never forgotten reading her recipe for financière sauce, with the revolting-sounding coxcombs. But was it a woman who recommended Fisher, or did I read about her somewhere? Of course I haven’t read Fisher in years; I long ago saw her writing for the blend of flummery and uselessness that it is, running like hot treacle beneath her romantic fogs. More about her, anon, too. But not tonight. 

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