Writing Prompt 95: My Favourite Recipe

“Your favourite recipe”

My favourite recipe is one I have been trying to perfect since the first time I attempted (and semi-succeeded) to make it: my mom’s lasagna.

It may take a while to make, but it’s pretty easy, making it a great meal for those cold wintry nights.

Recipe:

Meat Sauce

  • 1 kg of ground beef
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
    • Cook these together until the meat is brown
  • One big tin of tomatoes
  • One tin of tomato paste
  • 3 small tomato-paste tins of water
    • Add to the pan with the meat
    • Sprinkle with dried oregano and basil until covered
    • Stir the sauce and cook slowly for two hours

Cottage cheese

  • 1 tub of cottage cheese
  • Splash of milk
  • One egg
    • Mix together

Mozzarella

  • 2 balls of mozzarella cut into slabs

Putting it all together

  • Butter a pyrex glass dish
  • Layer with lasagna noodles, meat sauce, cottage cheese and mozzarella. Do this three times
  • Cover the top layer with breadcrumbs and sprinkle with parmesan cheese
  • Place in oven at 350°F and cook for an hour

And voila!

You’ll have a magnificent meal that should give you leftovers for a week. That is, unless you’re feeding a pair of teenaged boys that can eat most of it in one sitting.

Writing Prompt 94: The Perfect Meal

“The perfect meal”

This is what I would pick as the ideal menu for a brisk autumn evening like today’s. Just a combination of my favourite pieces of comfort food.

  • Bruschetta or fresh guacamole (with a tonne of coriander) to start
  • Lasagna as a main, with a fresh buttery lettuce salad with a balsamic vinaigrette on the side
  • Dessert is hard, there are so many wonderful ones! But for a cool October evening, a peach crumble, with a rivulet of fresh cream would be a perfect ending to a perfect meal

Bon apetit !

 

Writing Prompt 93: My favourite spot

“Describe a room in your house”

One of my favourite spots in the apartment is the dining area. It’s right off the kitchen and technically part of the same ‘room’ as the living area, but it’s its own defined space, really. The dining table, with its four matching chairs, is a light coloured wood surface supported by white legs. One of its narrow sides is leaning against the window that looks out on the city and lets in the morning sunshine. Quite the perfect spot for morning coffee. The table is usually adorned by the clutter of daily life: food, notebooks, forgotten headphones, or one of our laptops playing music while food is being prepped. The only permanent fixture is a light blue fruit bowl often filled with the green and yellow from apples and bananas.

To the right of the table is the wall adjacent to the kitchen. On it are mounted four photographs in black-bordered frames, each of flowers either pink or purple against backgrounds of green. There are two structures posed against the wall. The first, a trolley of sorts, extends the kitchen by offering space to our slow-cooker, the sky-blue KitchenAid mixer, the toaster, and pot holders hung on ess-shaped hooks along the side. Right next to it is a wooden bench-like structure. Its bottom shelf hosts our recipe books, piled up by order of size. A mortar and pestle of dark grey stone to the right of the pile, three mason jar vases to the left, currently bereft of flowers. On the top of the structure are three plants, all different shapes, sizes, and hues of green. A flowerless orchid, a growing money tree, and a succulent that resembles the top of a pineapple.

Another money tree, twice the size of the first, has been placed diagonally from its relative, next to the opposing wall. Against this side sits the pride and joy of the apartment (at least in my eyes): the bookcase. On its shelves there are books, of course, but these are accompanied by dried flowers, knick knacks of all sorts, and pictures. It is a mixture of words, colours, and memories that helps make this part of our home so special. Less special, but still quite important, is the black metal and glass wine rack that is hidden in the corner next to the bookcase. It’s criss-crossing of black wires makes for diamond-shaped storage units for each bottle while on top of the structure live the non-vino bottles (there aren’t many of those) as well as my stack of The New Yorker magazines filled with stories and profiles I have yet to read.

And that’s it, in a nutshell. My dining, writing, reading, Netflix-watching, ironing, cooking, coffee-drinking, clothes-drying, puzzle-making area. You are welcome to visit whenever you feel like it!

Prompt 92: Learning through podcasts

“Something more you’d like to know about”

I’ve started listening to podcasts on my way to work. What used to be 20 to 25 minutes of silent transition between one place and another is now filled with informational ramblings about interesting things that I would never have known to investigate. I started with Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History. If you haven’t listened to it yet, I sincerely recommend it. His soft tone is soothing, for one, but the connections he makes between seemingly random things that then build together to a powerful message–be it about inequality, distribution of power, or simply why something is the way it is–is amazing. I can’t wait for the third season.

In the meanwhile, I’ve started listening to the Freakonomics podcast, which also targets topics not usually explored. Today’s topic was the Esperanto language. Have you heard of it? It’s a language created by Dr. Ludwig Zamenhof as a proposed ‘second language for everyone’. The concept being that it is an easy-to-learn language that everyone–people from any country–would be able to speak among each other as human beings, building on that shared experience. His original albeit ambitious vision was to have the language spread across the world. Instead, what the language has done is create a community of 2 million people that speak it and share in a collective wonder over what the world has to offer and wanting to know as much about it as possible.

Isn’t that a wonderful concept?

Anyway, that is the thing I learned today that I would love to learn more about!

 

Prompt 91: Dear Santa

“You are a fifty-three-year-old woman living in Chicago. Write a letter to Santa.”

Dear Santa (Saint Nick, Father Christmas, Mr. Claus, whatever it is you call yourself these days),

I’ve never written to you before. Isn’t that odd? The thing is, my father didn’t believe in you. Well, he didn’t believe in making the world magical for children. On Christmas day, he would give me a small gift, sure, something he had picked up from the convenience store. I think the last one was a jumbo pack of Skittles. Thanks Dad.

I made my own traditions once I left that house. Even though I usually spend Christmas on my own, my tree is filled with little presents to myself, and the entire house is covered in every decoration you can imagine. My own winter wonderland on the outskirts of Chicago. That’s where I live.

Sorry, I’m rambling. I know you have lots of letters to read, so I’ll get to the point.

It’s Christmas time again. The city is covered in snow, my house is once again decorated, and the gingerbread scent is wafting around me. Usually that’s enough. Every other year before this one, that has satisfied me; it has filled the vacancy, the hole that I let grow within me for years under my father’s roof.

This year it just isn’t the same. As I sit in my house, in the same place that has always given me so much comfort, I feel that something is missing.

I’ve thought about it from every angle. I think this is what loneliness feels like.

Isn’t it funny? All these years I’ve been alone, but never lonely.

Since this is your time of year, I figured that you might be the one to help me solve it. So here goes.

Santa, this Christmas I would like you to bring me someone to share it with. Anyone. I’m not picky. I promise that I’ll add a special present or two under the tree for whomever you send.

Pretty please?

There’ll be some of my famous (at least to me) gingerbread men cookies waiting for you, too.

Yours, still a little unbelievingly,

Joyce.