Saturday, January 29, 2022

Slow Cooking.

Dr. Thompson and I celebrated my birthday this past Wednesday.  We had a quiet evening at home without a lot of fuss, which is the way I wanted it this year.  

I've had many birthday parties over the years and I thought I'd share a photograph of this one from 1999.  My friend, Laurie Graff hosted the soirée at her chic Upper West Side apartment in New York City.  She's the one with the white Maltese.  Dr. Thompson is that handsome guy with the dimples just behind me.  Oh, and I'm the one wearing my Priscilla Queen of the Dessert tiara (it was given to me by the director of the film) and I still wear it on my birthday.  

When I look at this photograph, I think--my goodness this was an interesting in-between time.  I had survived the Northridge Earthquake and a stint in Hollywood.  My mother had just died.  This was before 9/11, before the internet and social media.  Before the pandemic.

Dr. Thompson and I weren't even married yet.

In fact, he was getting his Ph.D. at Columbia University and we were in that delicious courtship phase where I was showered with gifts--no, not gifts from Tiffany's, but rather gift rocks he had found on his field trips, along with wild flowers, pretty posies.  And then, there was the gift of his cooking, which was and is still is a joy. 

And so when the party invitation arrived, he offered to make his famous prime rib for the party.

It would seem logical for him to bring the prime rib to Laurie's apartment to cook.  However, Laurie has a small kitchen with a small oven, and it was decided that he should cook the prime rib roast in his own apartment on 116th Street and then bring it downtown to Laurie's home.

And again, since he was a student on a budget, he didn't take a taxi.  Rather, after cooking the twelve pound roast at his home for two and half hours, he wrapped it up in copious amounts of tin foil, then placed it in a large hefty bag and then placed it in a duffel bag and carried it downtown--on the subway.  

Now, that's love.

Once he arrived, he placed the roast on the table where it sat for another twenty minutes.

And then, finally, dinner was served.  We unwrapped the roast and it was so delicious.  It was beyond delicious.  Everyone ooohed and aaahed and yes, it was the hit of the party. 

We all agreed, it was the best prime rib ever and we joked about the secret to this culinary-never-to-be-repeated experience.  And the secret:  that long subway ride and maybe even the fumes from the underground?  The crowd of people on the A train?  Who knows.  The point is, that this beautiful work of culinary art came out of hardship and ingenuity and a kind of improvisation that surprised us all.

Creative friends, your assignment for this week is to cook a prime rib, wrap it in tin foil, place in a duffel bag and carry it on the A train from the upper-upper west side to 81st street.

Just kidding.

Your assignment is simply this--resist taking the easy route.  Engage in a little slow cooking.  Slow living.  Slow creating.  Resist the urge to be efficient.  Rather, be circuitous.  And finally, whatever you do, do it with love.



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