Sunday, August 28, 2011

In the Name of Comfort and All Its Formats

This was supposed to be a post about plums and oatmeal. As you might have already guessed by that auspicious beginning, that's not an exact representation anymore. Now this is a post about comfort. About the ease of breath that happens when your molecules slow down.

Of course, food can do that to us...comfort food is a real thing. I'd be curious to know what does it for you but in my world it's banana bread in the oven, onions caramelizing on the stove, citrus being zested and cinnamon in anything. All four set me at immediate ease and I take my life in a little deeper with their cues.

I had a five star, five senses comfortable weekend. This is one of those posts that might be more for me to have a record of than it has much to offer anyone else but I needed to put it down just the same. From the weather to the company to the lack of company to the feasts, I don't know that it could have been improved upon.

Since I can't find a way to eloquently share the bones of it, I'm making myself an outline at the bottom of this post for the truly curious. The short of it is that it had a lot of my favorite people, many of whom I just don't see much of and in whose presence my molecules ease up. As one of those people who occasionally forgets to breathe, I am so very into this.

At the risk of getting spectacularly sappy, this guy is one of them. I took this at Salvage One this afternoon during our (straight up successful) treasure hunt through Grand's vintage corridor. I realized tonight that I hadn't said anything here in the official online outpost but Brother is an official resident of the Chicagoland area for the next two years and I am breathing in a different way just coming to terms with that.

It's not like we'll see that much of each other, we won't. I know that, I truly do. But I've been living a plane ride from my family for 10 years and while I miss them, it's just a fact to which I got accustomed. I typically see them three times per year. Four if I'm really lucky. And even with a lot of friends who live close enough to have Sunday dinner with their parents or take sisters for a birthday lunch, it just wasn't my reality.

And now one of my favorite people is here and I can feel a different sort of root take hold. If things get dark, or even just a little gray, I have family a 15 minute train away. Or forget gray, an extra ticket to the Nice Cream benefit at a local brewery. Or the same seatmate for a live NPR show who's been sitting next to you listening in the backseat for 25 years. That still seems so wholly remarkable.

So the weekend was a wonder. Filled with the friends who are family and the family who's a friend and enough quiet time to myself to be grateful for the whole shebang. It's a true comfort for someone who didn't realize she needed comforting. Sappy, overindulgent weekend post achieved. Sorry I'm not sorry. At least I saved you from a title trying to riff on the word aplomb, only about breakfast :)

Steel Cut Oatmeal with Fresh Plumbs
  • 11/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup steel cut oats
  • 2 Tablespoons bran meal
  • 2 Tablespoons flax meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (I used the BLiS vanilla salt pictured above but only because it is the spice I am most likely to start dating at the moment)
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon of maple syrup (I used BLiS bourbon barrel aged maple syrup but only because it is the condiment I am most likely to start dating at the moment)
  • 1 Tablespoon of half and half
  • 4-5 small fresh plums cut in half and pitted
  1. Boil your water.
  2. Add oats, bran, flax and salt. Lower heat to a simmer and stir every couple minutes till desired consistency is reached. This is usually about 12-15 minutes for me.
  3. Add your cinnamon then spoon oat mixture out into your favorite breakfast bowl du jour.
  4. Sprinkle cinnamon over the top then drizzle maple syrup over the top.
  5. Pile on those beautiful plums and trace the edge of the oatmeal with the half and half.
  6. Take a deep breath with nose directly over the bowl and enjoy not being hungry until well into the lunching hour.
Weekend in Review
Friday: Portabella/Garlic Tempeh Burger take-out from Native Foods, ridiculously good new vegan place just up Milwaukee. Eaten with a glass of wine while watching Before Sunrise and Before Sunset which have now both made my top 25 movies. Celine's monologue from the car scene in Before Sunset just about killed me.

Saturday: Started with a sweatfest. So much so that it was physically difficult to ride a bike that day. Kind've a beautiful thing. From there, the annual scrub at Paradise which comes with velvety soft skin and the reminder to be brave. Then off to the Food Truck Social for ceviche and tan lines with ZP and Emili. Just enough to hold me for JB's alfresco birthday dinner at Due Lire with a whole host of fun folk. A few glasses of wine floated me to 5 Star to crash G's big date (by invitation, bien sur) and meet up with Suz. Who then scooted me in brave attire for two wheels to Rainbo where the night/morning finished up.

Sunday: Starts with the discovery of buttermilk on its last legs, leading to blueberry pancakes in great company. A little organization before heading to Floriole for a light lunch with Ellie followed by the movies. Picked up at the theater by Brother and off we went, trolling for a Mid Century Modern coffee table on a grad student budget. Post 27, Urban Remains, Salvage One...all the good stuff. We found exactly what we needed, fell in love with significantly more along the way and then headed north to Revolution Brewery and the Nice Cream Benefit. So many good things/people in one place. Brother dropped me off with my adoptive Chicago family for a glass of wine with the Dawsons & Co at Mana.


Amanda Mooney said...

I looove this post! I had a great, long skype call with my brother last night and can only imagine how awesome it is for you to be back in the same city as your brother.

TKTC said...

Amanda- One of my regrets on the timing of this whole thing is that you and Matthew missed each other's Chicago tenures. You'd get a kick out of each other. Brothers are the best:)

Kelly said...

Looks like a lovely breakfast. I too miss being close to family, though being a 6 hour drive away I do get to see them more than I used to when I was living in Boston. Yay for having him local.