Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Sometimes the Old Ways Are Best

I have been depressed recently. The reasons are neither important, nor interesting, nor your business. The only reason I mention it is, today I carved out rather a grand victory against said depression, and through a surprisingly well-trodden track.

My husband, you see, is going to run a race tonight in Prospect Park with our friend Paul, who back in the blog days guessed, incorrectly as it turns out, that his future wife was still in middle school. And I decided to make a picnic for after. And I went absolutely apeshit. Six different dishes, most of which I'd never made before, all of them Russian, except for the grapes coated in goat cheese and almonds, which are Spanish. Culminating in a three layer sour cream cherry cake.

Eric came home last night to the age-old, long-forgotten spectacle of me sweating (though not so much as of yore, thanks to central air) angrily pounding things in an inadequate plastic mortar & pestle. And he asked me, in that age-old, long-forgotten tone of his, "Perhaps you're taking on a little too much."

And perhaps I was.

But this morning I squeezing the water out of two pounds of spinach and felt that familiar arthritic ache. And I looked out over the courtyard of PS 1, where hapless architects are frantically trying to get their waterlogged and collapsed party space ready by next week. And I realized I'd reached 11:30 am (dark midnight of the soul for lazy freelancers) with nary a gloomy thought.

It's a start.


Blogger pinky said...

Why not pull the heads off a couple lobsters next time you're feeling blue? That always used to perk you up.

3:50 PM  
Blogger kris said...

hold on - there are reasons for depression? hmmmm... (I've never had a reason.) cheers for maybe spotting a light at the end of the tunnel!

6:23 PM  
Blogger Elena said...

Hi Julie,
This post reminded me of the old days. I was thinking last night that about how much I enjoyed the J/J Project. I still refer to it, lo these many years later, when I'm making something from Mtaofc. I wish you could publish it as sort of a companion. It's helpful. Really.

7:10 AM  
Blogger Anne Stesney said...

If the rest of your picnic is as good as those grapes sound, what a lucky bunch of picnic goers. I'd love to hear what else is in your basket.

That last sentence was intended to sound cute, but instead sounds very, very dirty. Bonus.

11:07 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Sometimes you just need to get back to...well, basics. Even though cooking the picnic to shame all picnics, isn't basic, your love of cooking seems to calm you.

I enjoyed your book. I have been telling everyone I know to read it!

Take care.

3:05 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

Cheers Julie, I wish you the best. Your project is still an inspiration to me.

9:43 PM  
Blogger localseasonalgirl said...

Hummmm, maybe someone needs a new epic project? It worked wonders the first time. :-)

2:44 PM  
Blogger cindyMN said...

Julie..reading your book right NOW. I got curious...did a google search, and here I found your blog! How COOL is that?
Anyway...I'm sorry you're feeling down. Do you have any new projects in the works? Maybe you just need something else to look fwd too?? Hope things start looking up!!
keep blogging! you make ALOT of people happy that way!!
take care

4:57 PM  
Blogger Artichoke said...

I, too, recently read your book and loved it! Have to say that while reading, I wondered "what is she doing now", hence the google search that also brought me to this page. I also thought to myself "she's probably doing another cool epic project"... All to say, I'm thinking the same as "localseasonalgirl"... Worked for you and we all dug it, too!

10:34 AM  
Blogger kiwiangel_n_training said...

Hi Julie , wow im so pleased i came across your blog , thank goodness for google.
My name is Tessa and im from Auckland New Zealand
Im currently reading your book and am just up to the part where Isabel is running off with Jude.

Thank you thank you thank you from the bottom of my heart , i have been a Julia childs fan all my adult life and im finding your book is so open and honest and funny and i love the way it takes me through your journey .... it feels like im sitting in your kitchen being a fly on the wall watching as you wrestle Lobsters, and gelleed eggs.
Thank you so much for taking on this great project and i look forward to reading through all your blogs with great joy and abandon


12:58 AM  
Blogger sylvie said...

Julie. Cooking. Yea!

6:17 AM  
Blogger MNcook said...

Kudos to you!!

Taking the first step in depression is by far the hardest. Good for you for making it!

I'm hosting book club this month - naturally you're the author. Even though you are done writing your book, it is still an inspiration to others to get up and DO something. (Personally, I started a gourmet club with friends - thank you for getting me to finally do it!!)

There will be a crowd in MN toasting you on Monday night! Hopefully that helps in some little way!

2:50 PM  
Blogger Compulsive Cook said...

I read your book recently, not expecting to like it (pre-emptive jealousy, as a would-be food writer), and absolutely loved it.
Sorry to hear you're struggling with depression, and delighted that you've found a way of forgetting it for a bit. I have always found cooking a good way of leaving myself behind, although then I worry that I am feeding my depression to others, a la Like Water for Chocolate. I'm sure your cooking brought only joy to the diners!

7:26 AM  
Blogger WildJill30 said...

If you could muster the same kinds of goals with TJOS as you did with MTAOFC, you'd quickly relieve yourself of any depression- I think a a title like 564 positions in 365 days would REALLY, REALLY sell well. :)

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Blogger Umer said...

Congratulations on your grand victory against depression! It's heartening to hear that you found a well-trodden path to overcome it. Your story about preparing a picnic for your husband's race in Prospect Park with your friend Paul is delightful. The assortment of dishes you made, including Russian specialties and the Spanish grapes coated in goat cheese and almonds, sounds absolutely mouthwatering. The three-layer sour cream cherry cake must have been a showstopper!

It's understandable that in the midst of your culinary frenzy, your husband Eric noticed your determination and offered a gentle reminder to not take on too much. Sometimes, it's important to find a balance and take care of ourselves.

As you described the familiar ache and looked out over the courtyard of PS 1, it's remarkable that you reached 11:30 am without any gloomy thoughts. It's moments like these that remind us of our resilience and the power of small victories.

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