The marvels of chlorophyll

Everyone, and I mean everyone should have a basil plant in their kitchen. I don’t care if you can’t cook with it, if you kill it after 2 weeks; get a new one! I got mine at Genuardi’s (the haven of all things vegetable…reasonably priced) for 99 cents. Every human being should be able to brush by those delicately soft matte leaves and have this sweet, savory odor make you want to bury your face in the branches. I’m glad that my baby is back from being watched over in the arboretum greenhouse over fall break.

It’s been a long week. Longer, when you take into account that it’s not over yet, but *hopefully* there are über-fun things in store for the next two days. Two outings to philly in one weekend again? I’m going to have to find a way to financially support my Old City restaurant addiction. So tonight, in celebration of getting through yet another painfully long CompLit senior seminar, I decided that a proper dining experience was in order. The possibility of another cereal dinner depressed me slightly, but as we haven’t been grocery shopping in about 2 weeks, my choices were slim. I’m talking like painfully bare cupboards…I couldn’t even find an onion, let alone the shallots I wanted. That said, tonight’s meal was proof that you can indeed make something out of nothing, and a very good something at that.

Tomato Vodka Penne with toasted pine nuts was just what I needed tonight, and the generous chiffonade of fresh basil that got tossed in at the end made me appreciate the little extra touch that good, true, ingredients can have on an otherwise blah dish. Something about bubbling salted pasta water and the smell of sauteeing garlic just makes you forget about everything but your immediate sensory perception. That puff of steam that comes off a saucepan when you throw al dente pasta onto sauce is invaluable; it makes the basil smell like it should be worth its weight in gold, or at least some other sort of valuable metal, not 99¢.

It’s not that I made the most fantastic dinner ever, and I ate it alone at my desk with a glass of shiraz ($8 a bottle, I love my sister the wine conoisseur for the rec.), still in my workout clothes, unabashedly procrastinating on the 5 pages of thesis that are due in less than 48 hours. But I’m glad that I took the extra 45 minutes or so out of my evening to try and make something nice, something delicious, out of what seemed like hopeless options.

If I were a little more prone to allegorical thinking, I might project my own advice from the kitchen on to my more amarga pensamientos which while they have declined from a dangerously bakers’ chocolate-esqe 80% last week to a more palatable 66% at present, could use some work. But that’s a rather weighty task for tonight, and I’ve got several other more important weighty tasks in store before the weekend arrives.

As a sagacious old Englishman once said
Serenely full, the epicure would say
Fate cannot harm me, I have dined today

And so the epicurious Thea has staved off the ravages of Fate for one more day, although she might have fallen victim to melodrama =).

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