Monday, September 14, 2009

it's called gruel a la nuts and grains and legumes and greens and carmelized onions

I am, by nature, a homebody. I work from home, my favorite outfit is not suitable for wearing in public, some of my favorite activities can be done within the walls of our apartment—read, cook, write, eat, watch Gossip Girl, hang out with the yachtsman.

But since my dog died, I hate my house. I dread coming home, I cry as soon as I walk in the door, I can't stand spending time here, and when forced to do so I alternate between weeping and throwing irrational tantrums that involve stomping, cleaning, swearing, and telling the yachtsman about our apartment's many flaws.

I feel more or less OK when I'm not at home, so for the most part I've avoided being here for the last twelve days. But before we left to go out of town this past weekend, I decided things needed to return to normal this week. I would start writing again Monday morning, I accepted some freelance work, we actually hired someone to clean the apartment while we were away, thinking this would help. But on our way back to Vermont this afternoon, I started to panic. And then I once again avoided coming home. We stopped by my mom's on our way back into town. We stopped by my sister's. We stopped at Dunkin Donuts (desperate times require desperate measures). But eventually we walked into our sunny, clean apartment, and the tantrums began. I cried, I cleaned the hateful windowsills, my sweet husband re-mopped the evil floor, I threw most of the hideous food in our dumb refrigerator into the disgusting trash, I stomped, my sweet husband asked what I wanted for dinner, I ate a cupcake, I became furious with myself for eating a cupcake, I watered the stupid fucking plants, I decided to create a hate website dedicated to complaining about the contractor who renovated our apartment, I cleaned my dog's dried blood from the walls, I put my face in a pillow and screamed, my husband asked if he should get us some takeout, I yelled at him that if he wanted to eat he should just eat, I dusted my stupid desk that is so uncomfortable I can barely work at it, I kicked my desk, I decided to chop my desk into pieces, my sweet husband said he was going to the co-op to buy groceries did I want anything, I screamed I'M COMING WITH YOU and at the last minute went to my computer and printed out a recipe I'd been wanting to make for awhile.

And when we got home, I cooked.

For the first time since Abe died—for the first time all summer, really—I made a meal that required more than one pot. For two hours, I sliced and carmelized and stirred and boiled and chopped and toasted and tasted, and at ten o'clock tonight I sat down to what I think will be my go-to pot of gruel this winter. I need to fiddle with the recipe some before I post it, but look here soon for the perfect tantrum antidote.


  1. K8, this post is a perfect explanation of how off-the-charts-grump-factors can really feel. I'm so sorry you're in pain. On the bright side, I want to see what these tasty looking pots have to offer. Be one with the gruel, Couch Jedi, you're still my inspiration.

  2. i'm sorry to hear that the cupcake didn't help :( i would bake you hundreds if i thought that it would make you feel better.

  3. This is such a poignant piece, darling, and it needs to be on the back page of the NY Times Sunday magazine. I wish soul-bearing, beautiful writing didn't have to come from so much pain. This loyal GFD reader is sending you warmth and light and hoping that this pot of gruel helps the kitchen and the apartment come back to you.

  4. Oh Kater. It's such sad times. Nothing to say to make you feel better, I know. BUT the good news is that we love you so much and love your writing and your recipes.

    Just move in with me. I'll send Tim to live with Chris and they can visit us everyday.

  5. My heart is with you. It will get better... truly, it will. And now... on to those lentils! (Or whatever it is that will make your spirit heal.)