Saturday, March 26, 2011

Culture and Conscience

Sometimes even I am surprised at just how nerdy I can be. I'm back to cooking on weekends so I can freeze the results in little Tupperware containers and take it to work for my lunch every day. Sure, it's a cost-saving initiative (which is sort-of working), but I really do find that the cooking process relaxes me. The eating part is also pretty fun. Last weekend's cooking effort included potato & leek soup and a pasta sauce that I wasn't too happy with but is so chock-full of vegetables I have to persevere with it.

There are some times though when it's nice to have someone else do the cooking for a change. So it was great to head out last Friday night to Wild Edibles, a wonderful pocket-sized restaurant not far from my apartment that doesn't take reservations - but does take an ethical stance on the sustainability of local fish populations. Their paper placemats profile a particular species available in the restaurant (that is also a seafood market), so you know a bit more about where the food comes from and how widely available it is - or, in some cases, isn't. I remember when I was in Chicago and The Shedd Aquarium produced these terrific wallet-sized cheat sheets about sustainable seafood, so you could make sensible, responsible choices at the supermarket or restaurant. I love that the wallet cards are still available for download on the Shedd's website too - good for the environment, and good for your conscience!

After dinner, we retired to a literal hole-in-the-wall pub down the street where P introduced me to the mixological taste sensation that is Jameson and ginger ale. I've never been a whiskey drinker, or at least not a good one, but that combination is really tasty. It was so good in fact that we had three of them...each. I didn't realise what a dodgy idea that was until the next morning, but it was a lesson well learned.

Tuesday at work had been chugging along like any other, and then Skilla at the office asked me if I'd like to go to the theatre with her. I've known Skilla for a while now and she's from my home town. We share a love of the theatre - the good, the bad and even the ugly. So I trust her judgment and I was really excited to go along with her. After work we walked together to Times Square and then caught the subway to the Lucille Lortel Theatre in the West Village to see the MCC Theatre's production of The Other Place. Starring Laurie Metcalf (Aunt Jackie from TV's Roseanne and also a proud Steppenwolf alum), the play was a fantastic study into the destructive potential of dementia. When the play was over, Skilla and I stayed on for a discussion with the playwright, some dude from the theatre company, and a neurologist who had been brought in to validate some of the scientific content of the play. When we left the theatre, Skilla and I had a great chat about what we each thought the play was about, and our overall reactions to it. We had been sitting side-by-side in the same theatre, watching the same production, and yet we came away with such different ideas and questions. I guess that's the beauty of the theatre and probably the thing I love the most about it. I am also very fortunate that this city gives me almost never-ending opportunities to see such interesting and different plays all over the place; on Broadway, off Broadway and then off-off Broadway.

I roamed the streets this morning to get some fresh air and generally to run errands. I dropped in to the drycleaners across the street where the owners, a mother and daughter team, were screaming at each other in Korean (I think). They didn't even care that I'd come in - they just kept yelling. It was pretty amazing. Leaving my clothes with them, I silently hoped that they would keep their animosity focussed on each other and not take it out on my work stuff. Fingers crossed. Then I moved on to the fantastic 24-hour hardware store not far from K's old apartment, where the guy took pity on clueless old me and helped me find the new lightglobes that I needed to bring my Hollywood bathroom mirror back to life. Thanks, man.

With the exception of the unseasonal snow that we had on Monday, the weather here has been steadily improving and I think that with it, people are starting to come back to life and cheer up a bit. I know that's certainly been the case with me and I am looking forward to enjoying the rest of this sunny weekend even if I am going back to my nerdy, homemade lunch-toting self at work next week.

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