Zen #7: Garlic and Grown-Up Comfort Food

I just spent the entire morning peeling garlic cloves. I would like to say it’s because I wanted to cook something with garlic but that’s really not the reason. Don’t get me wrong, I love garlic–in everything. But, usually, when I’m cooking, I end up just using the powdered stuff. (I know, I know).

No, the reason I spent the entire morning peeling garlic cloves is because there’s something meditative about it. It’s tedious and time consuming but mindless as well. Mindless in a way that allows you to sit there for hours on end…

The only goal is to get the skin of the garlic clove and the only thing you know at that moment is that you can’t lose THIS clove, you have to get the peel off. And then in starts again with the next clove. And again. And, after awhile, you find that it makes you feel successful, a little less worthless, a little less miserable.

You almost feel like you did when you were thin, when you had friends and went out and wore nice clothes, when you didn’t care what other people thought of you because YOU knew you were thin and that was all that mattered to you. You wonder, was that happiness?

Minutes pass, hours even and the memories start to flood your mind, the ones you avoid because they make you sad and nostalgic for those simple pleasures of having your friends teach you how one “frolics” properly. Surely, that was happiness. Surely, that’s the way life is supposed to be lived, at least for a few days out of the year.

The radio asking when you forgot it was your life and the cat scratching at your feet stop bothering you so much. If the phone rang, you wouldn’t even answer it, not even if it were your parents who you always wish would call you (even though you pretend it doesn’t matter) because you need to know that they care about you as much as you still need them too.

You think of what he said to you yesterday, the one who sits by you in your self-esteem-draining journalism class whose name is unknown yet who has become somewhat like “John by my locker John”. What did he say?
“Self-pity’s no good.”
“Oh, I live on it.”
“Well, that’s sad, you’re going to spend your entire life being miserable. What if you actually succeed?”

But you know that’ll never happen. Because success for you lies only in one thing and your greatest nightmare has come true: you know you’ll never have it again.

And then there is no more garlic. You look down and realize you’ve peeled it all. And you start to worry about the mess, your misery returns as you realize you’re not in that world anymore, the world with the perfect Steve Madden shoes (no leather AND a size 11!), the perfect Old Navy dress pants (grey, size 8 long), the blue, collard, button-down tops (Gap? Size M) and the perfect body to wear them all.

No, you’re in this world. And you’re sure you must have died that night and gone to hell.

Mac and Goat Cheese

Mac and Goat Cheese

Mac and Cheese with Zucchini

  • 9.5 oz macaroni
  • 1 lb zucchini (about 2-3 of them), sliced
  • garlic, minced (I used about 2-3 cloves)
  • 4 oz goat cheese (or more if you like)
  • lemon zest, and or lemon juice
  • salt and pepper

→Cook the pasta.
Saute the zucchini with the minced garlic and add to the cooked and drained pasta.
Mix in the goat cheese, adding enough water to make it into a sauce. I suppose you could also just use more cheese, but that might throw off the taste.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Top with some lemon zest and a squirt of juice.

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One response to “Zen #7: Garlic and Grown-Up Comfort Food

  1. Pingback: “Best of” (the encore edition) « Thoughts on the Freshman 15

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