There were moments of such positive intoxication, of such happiness, that there was not the faintest trace of irony within me, on my honor. I had faith, hope, love. I believed blindly at such times that by some miracle, by some external circumstance, all this would suddenly open out, expand; that suddenly a vista of suitable activity–beneficent, good, and, above all, ready made (what sort of activity I had no idea, but the great thing was that it should be all ready for me)–would rise up before me–and I should come out into the light of day, almost riding a white horse and crowned with laurel. -Fyodor Dostoevsky (Notes from the Underground)

When you have pumpkin cocktails on a Monday night, things can go only downhill from there. Not entirely downhill, but it’s kind of hard to top the bliss of sipping spicy orange drinks and watching the fog roll in over the hills, all while knowing that you don’t have to wake up and teach a class at 8 a.m. the next morning.
Since Wednesday is often my heaviest day in terms of obligations and this one seemed especially grueling, I felt that an ice cream stop on the way home would be a nice treat. A double chocolate malt cone from my favorite shop, Ici, followed by a much-needed haircut (inspired by my favorite Olsen), convinced me that the world still has good things to offer.

 This week has been about getting things done. I finally had a breakthrough on the article I’ve been revising for publication and I think I almost have something that should please the editor. It’s due by Monday, but I’m trying to beat the deadline for the sake of dissertation work. Part of the new work-hard-until-I-finish-the-blasted-thing-once-and-for-all plan is Sunday afternoon trips to campus. While it’s not the happiest thought in the world, I’m operating according to the “no pain, no gain” philosophy of athletic training; just call this my marathon.
 This was the view that awaited me as I headed home–to the waiting puppy, the Greek and the roast chicken that he made for our Sunday dinner.

Yesterday I had to have a cavity filled (boo) and my mouth felt more than a little ravaged after the procedure. As kind as the dentist is, there’s just no way to make this a pleasant experience. My face felt puffy and sore when I got home and my tooth is more than a little sensitive. The obvious choice for lunch was polenta and not just any polenta. My favorite is Ina Garten’s Creamy Rosemary Polenta, which I wrote about back in the early stages of both my blogging and dissertating. This is a comfort food worth returning to again and again–and, believe me, I do.

Thanks to weekend campus runs and cavities, I’ve decided that, in my next life, I want to be a dog.  After one look at that sunbathing princess with her toy bone, food and water right next to her (I styled none of this; this was her own comfy creation), can you blame me? I can’t help but think that she’s got the life.
Earlier this week, I came across a recipe for Plum Pudding Cake from Nigel Slater’s Ripe, courtesy of the gorgeous food blog, Lottie and Doof. I decided that I would bake it for the Tuesday morning arrival of my mother and aunt!! It’s been a long time since I’ve seen them–last Christmas, in fact–and cake seems just right. To make it, however, I realized that I would need Lyle’s Golden Syrup, but I figured that it was an ingredient (and occasion) worth splurging on. My tin of the syrup came today and, though it remains unopened, I’m already in love with the container. 
I’ll be back this weekend with a German breakfast treat that, while a little time consuming to make, shows itself to be more than worth it. 

4 thoughts on “Notes from the Underground: Week 2

  1. Beautiful and Electra has inspired me to take a nap!

    I love Lyle's Golden Syrup — especially in steamed pudding, one of those bizarre British nursery sweets. Happy baking!

  2. Elektra is nothing if not an accomplished nap-taker. We could all aspire to her level. Steamed pudding sounds wonderful; can it be eaten for breakfast or is it exclusively dessert?

  3. Yes, they arrive tomorrow; hard to believe another week has already gone by!! And thanks for the congratulations; I finished only early this afternoon and I have no idea what the outcome will be (something tells me I shouldn't care and I'm trying not to, but I've now been working on this thing on and off for _4_ years! Isn't that crazy? I want to see the tangible fruit of my labor), so fingers crossed!

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