Sunday Morning Scones

An astute observer present in the apartment this morning remarked “who the hell just gets up in the morning and says ‘I’m going to bake something’?” Well, to that I’d say, um, me.

It was just one of those mornings when I needed to breakfast on something warm and crispy, but soft and steamy inside. The smell of toasting oats early-ish (10:30…not bad) is something that inherently deactivates whatever sort of negativity might surface on Sunday, the consummate “work” day of the college student. Last week at the Italian market, I’d treated myself to last month’s issue of Cooks’ Illustrated magazine. Their recipe for Toasted Oat Scones looked delectable, so I thought I’d better try it.

Waking up and not having the entire day mapped out in hour or half-hour blocks is liberating, a small pleasure that I realized on Saturday afternoon, when I returned home from my weekly trip to the farmers’ market with the best fresh mozzarella that I’ve had in ages, and a whole monkfish fillet. Warm afternoon sunlight streamed lazily in through the kitchen window on my happily photosynthesizing basil plant, also illuminating the sink full of last week’s dirty dishes. As many people know, I’ve never been one to keep an orderly household; my room tends towards entropy, and endlessly vacillates between various degrees of disorder. Doing the dishes has NEVER been my strong point, although it’s one of the things that I’ve been working to change (over the past several years, hee hee). So I thought to myself, I’m going to clean the kitchen.

It was in need of a serious cleansing. My knives need to be sharpened, which, incidentally is a most diverting activity; how many girls do you know that can properly use a sharpening steel? I put my receipts away, washed all of the dishes, and wiped down the sink before I even started on dinner. It felt so good to have a clean counter to work on, these little activities that I take for granted usually. Hell, I even did the dishes from dinner before we started the movie! I was a maniac.

Lately I haven’t even had the time to cook dinner, let alone clean up after it, so the luxury of having free time (even if I did use it to do the dishes) made me happy. That, and opening up the refrigerator to see shelves stacked with green asparagus, papery-thin prosciutto cut by surly deli workers, new cheeses in their butcher paper wrapping, and a chilly bottle of Pellegrino instead of 2 eggs, a stick of margerine, and 3 tortillas (the contents of the fridge on Thursday) had an ameliorating effect on my psyche. Our freezer is still mysteriously dripping water at inopportune times, flooding the bottom of the fridge and ruining its contents, but at least there’s stuff in there to get soaked, right? The floor is kind of gross, and there’s the mystery stuff from past occupants stuck behind the stove, but I’d say we’re doing okay at the moment.

I was tired this weekend, tired of running around purposelessly. If occupying myself with bread crumb-covered plates and lemon dishwashing liquid for an hour is enough to make me feel as though I’ve actually accomplished something tangible amidst the all too academic existence that I lead during the week, then that counts as a good thing for me. That said, I still hate the dishpan hands.


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