Pam’s Pictorama Post: Ongoing readers know that I have temporarily shifted my base to New Jersey to help with the care of my mom. This is rough going – a marathon interspersed with sprints in runner’s terms. For those of us who have been here ongoing, this last length of it is exhausting. Despite feeling like I have been training for it it takes a toll on body and mind.
I have written before (find it here) about the extraordinary care mom gets from the folks we have assembled here. They gently lift my mood and spirits daily with their efficiency and affection. Among them a sign that I am in residence has been a pot of freshly perked coffee on the stove. These days made early enough for the night shift before they leave and enough for the morning folks coming in. Coffee drinking is now a two pot affair which continues through late morning – maybe a final cup for some at lunch although I am well done by then myself.
I have written about my coffee preferences (here) which are old fashioned – I use a stainless steel percolator. (The same as I use at home.) The younger nurses have never even seen this method of making coffee and they are now all studying it and my technique. I am reviving this method of coffee making single handedly! It has the decided advantage of filling the house with the smell of freshly brewed coffee in a way that no other method can do. I go through a lot of coffee these days and while I am not devoted to one in particular I purchase good coffee from a variety of places. We need good coffee.
My mom has always made sure that the house is full of good food for the folks who come and go. She orders prepared food from Fresh Direct or a local farm market gone gourmet store, Sickles. (My first cat, Otto, came from that farm and as a result would go nuts at the smell of corn silk.) However, as days here for me turned into weeks, and my waistline increased despite maintaining my 25 miles or so of running weekly, I started to take things into my own hands.
A good friend makes sure I get out of the house beyond my run daily and that often takes the form of grocery shopping. I have embraced Trader Joe’s with fervor (I don’t live or work near one in Manhattan) while also learning about the ins and outs of the local Dollar store (where everything is $1.25) and an enormous Shop-Rite which I think might be the size of a city block!
Along with this I have of course started cooking. It happened slowly. First making eggs for myself and Winsome when she is on in the morning. Over medium with half a bagel with a recent foray into a cheesy well-done omelet. My friend Suzanne plies us with homemade French Toast as well and that has become a favorite, with people snacking on it until late in the morning.
As a need for greens meant that daily salads (what I would eat at work most days anyway) have become the vogue. Quantities of green leafy vegetables, cucumbers and tomatoes make the base, along with a complement of nuts, raisons and olives, but leftovers or things that need eating find their way in – or around.
One day while munching salad I decided I needed something more and a yen for avocado toast possessed me. We had been putting avocado in the salad but I took half of one, toasted half an everything bagel, drizzled olive oil, lime juice, crushed red pepper, rocky salt. Well, I just set off a fire storm of avocado toast madness which swept through our small caregiving community! I have been churning out avocado toast for someone at breakfast, lunch or dinner ever since – who knew? It is spreading to their families and I am writing out the simple instructions – something of a run on crushed red pepper as a result..
I am branching out into dinner – a pasta with shrimp the other evening followed by salmon in miso marinade. (Have I ever mentioned that I was a professional chef before I was a fundraiser?) I am introducing folks to new ingredients and combinations. While mom cannot eat most of what I make, she is enjoying the smells of cooking and the community of shared homemade meals. I want her to feel that sense of a home inhabited and food being served to all with love which is what she would want to do if she could.
My being here means that poor Kim has been temporarily abandoned in New York and I feel bad writing about feeding folks here while he is fending for himself. However, I will be back to New York a bit this week and hope to make it up to you Kim! Miss you Sweetie!
Marinade for Miso Glazed Salmon: Equal parts (one tablespoon works for me) honey, miso paste, mirin, sesame oil and rice wine. Wisk together, marinade for at least 20 minutes, salt and pepper the filets. Drop into a hot pan sprayed with olive oil, allow to cook on the skin side and pop into a pre-heated oven at 450 for about 20-30 minutes, depending on your stove. I let it get brown on the top.