The lady in the apartment across from mine has a view into my living room-kitchen situation. Only she knows (well, now you do too) the way I chomp down boiling Wei-Wei noodles straight from the pan first thing after I’m back from a grocery trip, standing at the sink with abandoned bags on the floor, leaving the the icecream at peril and the frozen fish to thaw.
Living alone has been a humbling affair so far. I finally realized that the unholy hair that grazed dishwashers in previous apartments must’ve been mine and not a roommate’s. There’s been so many other discoveries from living alone, of course I have to enjoy it since I chose it (and since I pay a ton in rent).
I always wanted to live in Mia’s house from Princess Diaries. With cozy, lived-in cushions strewn across rooms and throw blankets laid on mismatching couches that you could throw yourself onto after a long day at school/work. And most importantly, the many ugly, wide-mouthed mugs.
These were obviously picked up off shelves at a neighborhood Ikea or Walmart by the budget-conscious artist battling Targetly tendencies (we know they’re not from Target cos they’re – did I mention this already? – not pretty). The mugs were the nicest characters in that movie. Held in warm palms at windows as evening rain beat against car wipers working relentlessly on the street, while you’re safe at home with nowhere to be.
So I would’ve never imagined that kitchen towels and not mugs would become my best friend. My palms are constantly wet and they have indeed been saved.
With great freedom comes.. interesting discoveries
The best part about having my own kitchen is obviously the freedom. Last week I found that I can fix the sweetness of my pineapple snack by simply drizzling a little honey over it. This was a snack to sustain me while I waited for my dosa to cook. I should.. elaborate.
In the time that dosa crisps (on its first side), I can put together a sandwich from scratch with neatly zigzagged mustard AND ketchup on it AND eat it. So now I’ve lost my sentiment attached to dosas. I like idlis more anyway – practical, fluffy, easy on the stomach. The 20s shifted my priorities and ruined me, and the near-absolute freedom means dosa batter often lives in my fridge for over 3 weeks.
There’s also been more concerning findings. I can and will consume a whole pork curry prepared with 1.25 lbs of meat within 24 hours simply because it tastes good. (It always tastes good too, which might be a problem and is most definitely a brag)*. Boiled milk can last for a week in the fridge, circumstances that led to this finding remain dubious. Costco hotdogs will taste exactly the same at home, nobody misses the crowd.
Of course all personal preferences had to be reaffirmed in the new apartment – do you like eggplant in your sambar, ginger in your dal and tomatoes in your meat? Will you be depressed if you don’t eat rice for 3 days straight? Do you truly like aromatics including the divisive bay leaf, or was that before gaining kitchen real estate?
Then there’s the random lessons I brought with me picked up over time watching homecooks and reading recipes at the back of magazines. Stay away from vinegar when you poach an egg, poaching only needs a vortex – I’ve held on to this theory despite never having done a practical. Add salt to water while it boils to avoid spots on the bottom of pots. Raise the heat when you add mushrooms to anything and do not cook with a wine you wouldn’t drink.
The nice thing is life is long enough that I can hope to slowly put them to use one by one. (:
Leaving you with a little bit of Nigella I borrowed.