My two previous posts, in an effort to distract myself, did somewhat gloss over the fact that last Sunday Zach had to depart on 5 months of out-of-town clinical rotations. While we're hoping - at least during the first two months, when he is located within reach of an afternoon's drive - that he may be able to come home on the weekends when he's not on call, but for the length of the weekdays, and the entire months when he's forced away (thanks to his medical school and the military) to places such as Texas and Ohio, we find far too many miles between us. Even though I know the time will speed by, and he'll be back home again soon, I still miss him oh so much.
On the culinary front, much as when Zach was on base in Alabama for Officer's Training last year, I once again find myself faced with the issue of cooking and dining alone. Before I met Zach, cooking for just myself seemed purely natural, comfortable, unhindered. Even when I moved out of the college apartment I shared with 4 other girls and purchased my first house, finding myself completely solo in my living arrangements, cooking a leisurely, carefully prepared supper at the end of the day seemed perfectly normal, whether I was cooking for a large group of fellow grad students or co-workers, or whether I was cooking for simply myself. Only now, after I've discovered and become accustomed to the delights of cooking with, and for, someone you love deeply and with whom you share a home and a kitchen, does the absence of that joy stand out in sharp relief as you face the stove at the end of the day. Once again, I find myself contemplating how to nourish my singular self over the next few months until Zach returns home again. I could have oatmeal for dinner every night (tempting, but lacking sorely in variety or adequate vegetable content), or steam a large bowl of broccoli every night (an improvement on the vegetable content, but still inadequate in terms of nutritional variety), or, perhaps, I could approach the task at hand like a problem to be solved, rather than a sorrow to be borne, and attempt to relearn how to cook for myself - just myself. (and the good friends who will surely keep me company in the days to come, including you, my wonderful blog-friends!)
So, have I conquered the challenge yet? Heavens no. In the four long days since Zach has been practicing his family medicine skills in South Georgia and I've been pulling weeds and reading books on the back patio here in Atlanta, I had mazah ball soup for one nights' supper - an easy solution, thanks to Passover - and I then came down with a torturous stomach bug that has prevented me from eating anything at all. Tonight, though, feeling much improved and ready to reconsider foods beyond water and bananas, I've settled happily upon matzah pizza: A simple combination of whole wheat matzah, with ample tomato sauce and plentiful spinach, a gentle sprinkling of cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, and lots of Mrs. Dash seasoning to make everything just a bit spicy, all toasted in a 375 degree oven for just a few minutes. Definitely far from gourmet, but yet still comforting, nutritiously balanced, Passover-friendly, and totally delicious.
We'll work on the singular gourmet tomorrow night...
(Kosher for Passover tomato sauce, all the way from Israel! I know, I know, I should make my own tomato sauce, and I usually do, but tonight I worked in the garden instead... and this sauce gets a pass for the nostalgia factor, and for being completely scrumptious, wonderfully thick, and packed with oregano and basil!)
On the blog this time last year... Peanut Stew!