Thinking about potatoes

I’ve made no secret of the fact that food — specifically the study and preparation thereof — serves as a trusted diversion from my little life’s daily bores. It keeps me content, calms the restlessness ever so slightly.

What I mean is, the fact that I get to cap the day by cooking dinner makes me not mind looming laundry duty quite as much.

And get this: I just discovered that during life’s less routine unpleasant situations, intent concentration on food can also save one from certain madness and problematic squirming. Like, say, my recent (first-ever-and-I-hope-final-ever) MRI.*


It went something like this:


“Ok, so dinner. I need to use those potatoes from co-op before they rot. And the rosemary. I know I have some parmesan. I think I have some parmesan. So I’ll make parmesan-skillet potatoes with rosemary. I love rosemary with potatoes…”


“Ok, trying to find my yoga breath. I really should make it to yoga more often…I hope I have some parm. I think I do. Ok, what else? Parmesan-skillet potatoes with salmon burgers. We have lettuce, spicy mustard. No buns. As soon as this is over [how much longer?] I’ll jet to Trader Joe’s for buns.

“Assuming I get out of here, that is. What was that the doctor was saying about if the MRI tech had a heart attack, and whether or not I could climb out? She asked if I was claustrophobic. Does the anxiety over claustrophobia that’s preventing me from opening my eyes qualify as claustrophobia? Ok, thinking about dinner, not claustrophobia. Thinking about potatoes…”


“I swear it just got louder on my left side. Did this machine just vibrate the earplug out of my ear? Leave it to me to not properly insert an earplug. What else do I need from the store? Ooh — salad. What can I put into the salad? Why do I always feel the need to reinvent the salad? Salad, not doing such a good job of distracting me right now.”


“I know! Cookies! I can’t wait to bake next week with the girls. They’ll look so cute in their little aprons and they’ll bicker over who gets to crack the last egg. That’s so Christmas, isn’t it? Sounds of sibling quarrels as smells of baking goodies waft from the oven. Is that why I can’t stop filching the chocolate chunks?”

Mommy has a headache.

“Oh! That reminds me: must print that recipe for orange-pistachio biscotti I heard on NPR’s ‘Here and Now.’ Orange-pistachio biscotti sound so wintry, so holiday-ish. What was that website again?”

More with the knock-knock-bang-bang clatter-clatter sequence…

And then, 25 long minutes later, the banging-clanging is done. I can get on with my day, on with my last-minute salmon burgers and well-intentioned holiday baking plans.

Enjoy the season, friends.

*Not to worry — nothing serious. Just life’s wear-and-tear.


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