Sunday, April 17, 2005

Home Made

Some of my girlfriends are very special people. They say the friends you meet in university are the special people that you will keep with you for life. For me that's pretty true - it was my first exposure to people like me in a lot of ways. Also, as we get to trust each other, we share our insights into our flaws and quirks, and we learn a lot about ourselves. We're very tightly bound.

So I've talked to my girlfriends about feminism and we've discovered that although we sometimes enjoy them, and although they have to be done, we feel guilty whenever we engage in traditionally housewifely domestic tasks. You know the sort - cooking, cleaning, sewing, re-organising the cupboards...

So when a dear friend of mine mentioned that she enjoyed cleaning, my horror was reduced to mere surprise and distrust. Well what are you going to do? Some of us get a thrill out of solving a fourth-order differential equation. I see the attraction in having things clean, but they get messy or dirty again so quickly that I don't really feel rewarded by the cleanness. I don't feel I've solved the cleaning problem, so to speak. A solution would involve abandoning all possessions and adopting a nomadic lifestyle. Now, it's been pointed out that aspiring businesswomen and maths students don't really adopt a nomadic lifestyle, and while I imagine I'd be happy as a wandering hippy, the fact is it's not going to happen. And so we reach the cleaning compromise. I attempt to get rid of as much stuff as possible, placing it in the holding pen that is my ample garage.

I've got such beautiful furniture, my house should look great. It doesn't because the furniture has stuff all over it. Bit by bit I go through the stuff and find places for it. The chess set gets packed up and put away. The CDs get copied onto a multimedia device and put away. The coffee table books go into a box with a lid and only come out on special occasions. I also regularly throw away old magazines, school notes, letters, journals, and all those other things people insist on keeping that build huge piles that need to be stored somewhere.

On the other hand I'm a keen cook.

I treasure my bread machine. With one of those you can make anything you can get at your local "bakery" (which may not even have an oven) but it will be fresher and healthier. For breakfast tomorrow is sunflower and linseed brown bread. I ground up the seeds with a mortar and pestle and chucked the whole thing in with some wholemeal and plain organic flour. When I pull that out, I've already got some oats and corn ready to go for oats and corn bread. There's polenta in the cupboard so it can be very corny, which makes a crunchy, dense loaf. The oats might make it stickier, I'm not sure - I've not used oats before.

I just love to experiment with cooking! Some people really enjoy the food I make. My hot vanilla custard is just amazing. It's completely vegetarian unlike the stuff in the supermaket with beef in it. I make mine out of soy milk, but you'd never know it. I also love coffee, and make excellent espresso, so I always love to make little biscuits to have with it. Ideally, they'd be chocolate, but I've discovered that I'm rather sensitive to chocolate lately, and even just a few pieces gives me a headache. Of course, what chocolate I do have I treasure, and there's no reason not to make a few chocolate biscuits, but low-sugar almond or almond and oatmeal (I don't use any oil at all but almonds will always be 20% fat) biscuits are healthy and yummy.

So that's what I've been up to today - torn between domestic servitude and domestic bliss! I try to enjoy the challenge rather than shrink from the impossibility. Right now the kitchen's clean (except for the mortar and pestle and they're next) and the bread is in the machine ready for morning. I'll eat mine with almond brazil cashew spread. For lunch I bought some yummy kalamata olives that will make a lovely pasta with carrots, peas and zucchini. After that there's the possibility of a trip to the market or digging deep into my homework.

I've got texmacs fired up ready to go. I've got my assignment and notes all together and my coloured pencils and pens. But tomorrow's another day.


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