Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Culinary mourning

Paul was such an artist in the kitchen. He created meals that tasted incredible and communicated so much love and thought and enthusiasm. It is hard to accept that I won’t ever taste his cooking again. I am thinking of wonderful things I will miss for the rest of my life:
  • His toasted cheese sandwiches. He made them for me often when we were living together. I would come home late at night from a full-time day working at the Eyeball and he would be all ready to make one, with sprouted bread and garlic aoli. They were so very good but they contributed in a big way to my former weight problem.
  • His idlis, and sambhar, and aloo gobhi, and rice, and raita, made temple style. I could have eaten his raita with a spoon. I loved his idli-making device.
  • His tabouli salad with the fresh tomatoes and the tiny five spice tofu cubes.
  • His Lamb of Buddha stew, which was my family’s traditional lamb stew recipe remade vegetarian. He only made it once. He even made the parsley dumplings, steamed on top of the stew.
  • His veggie fajitas.
  • His Thanksgiving dinner, with Qorn turkey and savory stuffing and potatoes and veggies and gravy.
  • His veggie stir-fries.
  • His veggie paella with lobster mushrooms, and veggie sausage, and seaweed to add the briney taste.
  • His cheese enchiladas with seasoned refried beans and yellow rice.
  • His home-formulated spicy hot chocolate.
  • His chili chocolate drops.
  • His Hungarian casserole, which he created inspired by my friend’s gift of paprika brought back from Hungary.
  • His stew pie, which he made by baking Worthington vegetarian country stew under a biscuit crust. When Worthington stopped making the country stew (a culinary microtragedy of its own), he created his own stew for the stew pies, with Qorn and potatoes and carrots and peas and mushroom soup gravy with special seasonings.
  • His tempeh, mushroom and broccoli main dish. This recipe was given to Paul by Phil Gelb. I’ve tried to make the dish twice this year. The first time I didn’t do a very good job. The second time I did better, but it still didn’t taste the same.
I did manage to recreate Paul’s homemade pizza. I can’t count the number of times he asked me what I would like for dinner and I responded eagerly, “A Paul pizzai?” (pronounced “peetsye”). It was soon after I lost him, that I got the ingredients together and prepared it the way I had seen him do, and I was kind of shocked that it tasted just like his. I couldn’t believe it could taste that way without him there. Folks suggested that maybe he was watching over me and helping me while I cooked it.

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