A recipe for Disaster.
Oh, this was a great blog! An incredible, witty, passionate and inspirational blog. It was My Best Blog Ever. But I accidentally deleted the whole thing fooling around on WordPress and it is lost forever.
I have been grieving for three solid hours over the loss of the caffeine-inspired brilliance of this morning’s musings in a dried out Vilcabamba. And it was upon taking stock of my accomplishments in this grief, that I began to wonder if it is not indeed time for me to launch a website selling tickets to myself.
In previous years (more than I care to tell), sudden loss, grief, frustration or careless acts of stupidity would usually result in the following actions:
2. panicked fury and a wild zest for life oriented toward finding an object to smoke, if one was not readily available.
4. having a shower, in order to sulk more vibrantly
5. overwhelming sense of futility and hopelessness
6. morbid fascination for old works of Depeche Mode and Lloyd Cole
7. more smoking
The whole show would culminate with what would amount to a kind of introverted glee as my cells and juices would note that the day was fading, the sun had reached a certain pitch, the daylight was softening – and I could have a nice little drinky poo, in which to drown out the failure or the frustration of the day, all that existential agony, and the futility which had me by the neck, and switch to modern rock.
A quick catalogue of today’s achievements, despite the terminal loss of my work, has inspired me no end. Perhaps five years on the road, and all that yoga has really made a difference… perhaps I’m doing it.. look mum! no hands!!
Upon immediate loss of work:
– ground teeth and did obsessive clicking about through past pages in desperate hope of relocating my writing
– quivers in heart region, slight headache and exasperation at farting dog
– washed yoga pants in bucket
– folded sheets (including fitted one – always a tricky business)
– toasted croissant in frying pan.
– read brilliant introduction to A. Lowen’s The Language of the Body, and began to wonder when psychiatry will seriously meet yoga and finally become useful.
– about half an hour of obsessive internet activity
– wondered about Freud. He did so well, despite his terrible sexual fixations.
– learnt how to make real Saag paneer (spinach curry) online – not the boring, fake basic recipe you get by being a lazy recipe surfer… but the actual Indian one.
– soaked the ‘darks’ in two buckets and swept the floor (with an actual broom)
I am extremely excited about making Saag Paneer for dinner tonight because in this life, without a fridge (!) yes, sisters!!! it is of vital importance that one should feel like eating what one bought at the market yesterday, otherwise one will be tossing it directly into the compost before 10am tomorrow.
For the first few weeks here I felt very sorry indeed for myself that I should be 42 and living in a house without a fridge. Even if it is in Ecuador. With views over the sacred valley of the Incas. And even though, laid out upon the grounds on which I walk, every day, are actual Inca trails. And even when I am possibly surveyed by aliens, who are very interested in the folk of Vilcabamba -according to err, the folk of Vilcabamba. Even with all this potential magic and wonderment, I still felt like I was coming to a very sticky end, without a fridge.
Anyhow, yes. I was beginning to have fears for my future, and regrets about my past, even, That I should end up fridgeless here. It was all about shame.
The lack of hot water (and a rose for the shower) did not wound me as mortally. I thought myself quite heroic, actually, concerning life without running hot water. In the beginning, it was a simple matter of time. The new gas system and all the tubes and whatnot are sitting right here, ready for installation, promising that I might be rained upon by hot water any minute, so I was very brave about not having hot water. I had a bucket. And a blue plastic cup. And a kettle – it would have to do. The gardener made a big show of how he was going to fix up the pipes to the gas thingo “manyana”… he’s been “manyana-ing” for three weeks now, this is the Ecuador way, apparently.
But these three weeks of bathing in a bucket have taught me precious things. I know now, for example, that it takes exactly three kettles-full of almost boiling water to fill the bucket to 3/4. The rest I top up with cold water from the bathroom, meaning I don’t have to carry a huge weight of water, and the resulting bucketful of gorgeous warm and clean wild spring water will be the perfect temperature, and the perfect amount to bathe a 5 foot 2″ blonde of medium build.
In the beginning I stared at the bucket and sent it little psychic emails of superiority and blame. “I am better than you, bucket!” I would snipe.
“You! Bucket! Know your limits!” I would snear.
I would fantasise about Bali.. oh, the hot water in Bali! And the lavish baths and showers and pools and ocean. Oh, the flower bath at Cantik! Oh, lovely gushing hot and beautiful Bali hot water.. even though it does, in the end, make your hair fall out.
But gradually, slowly, gracefully, even – my view changed. My attitude softened. The bucket called out to me: “remember me”. It invited me, “remember me. We used to play together.”
A bucket, in childhood, is one of those great marvels of engineering – the wellspring of play. A bucket, once upon a time, to me, would have been Nirvana for abultions. Without even knowing it, without deciding, I got over myself. I made friends with my fate. I borrowed A Year in Provence from the library. I got into the flow.
Into the bucket I put a rose-full of petals, a drop or two of fragrant oil and now that I’m really getting the ritual going, when I’m done with the bathwater, in goes the little $1 puppy I found at the library.
It’s a good life, with a bucket for a bath.
But without a fridge, one must be even more spiritually-oriented and clear of resistance and projections. One must be present, clear-headed and disciplined in one’s fancies.
ie – one must learn to like what one has. Now.
Last night I triumphed spectacularly.
My bounty from the Vilcabamba market included:
– a bunch of spinach
– large head of cauliflower
– bag of fresh red beans
– 4 croissants
– a kilo of strawberries
and hunks of carcass for the dogs. Which adds up to about $10.
The collected life-span of these items, in this climate, is two days ABSOLUTE MAX!
In order to avoid the scattergun approach to consuming one’s bounty known as a stir-fry, I decided to divide the cache into two groups: white and green. Last night, being full moon and all, was dedicated to White. Guided by cosmic forces and necessity I made a recipe that’s just too good to go unrecorded.
The full moon being a matter of great importance to the conspiracy theorists and End of Worlders here in Vilcabamba (they’re always saying how this full moon is even more significant than the last one, and how the stars are acting weird, and Venus is dropping her panties and Uranus should be ashamed of himself, the way he carries on…) I was wondering what would come over me as the ripened orb swelled up her cheeks and sailed above the cottage.
She made friends of mine cry. There were sobs on the phone. She made friends of mine dance. They shook their nipples and their stinky socks around the fire pit at Breiky’s Bar. She saw the dashing Italian man’s dog bite his face so he would need 50 stitches and fail to invite me over for mushroom risotto. There was wild love making in some quarters. And flying ants as well.
But in my little nook here on the blue planet what the moon made for me was a recipe.
I medium potato, diced
2 mugs full of roughly chopped cauliflower
1 small white onion, sliced
1 tsp corriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tbs grated ginger
1/2 tsp tumeric
1 medium garlic clove
2 tbs live oil
1 knob of butter
Fry everything together in olive oil and butter, using 2 tbs of water to create steam and prevent burning. Once the spices start smelling lovely, add water – about 2 cups, cover and simmer for about half an hour or until the potato is tender.
Add 1/2 cup of milk
1 tbs coconut oil
A good dash of vodka.
A squeeze of lime
Salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with a dash of olive oil, light squeeze of lemon and sprinkle of salt on top.