Friday, July 25, 2008

Artist Lunch

Today was my daughter's last day of preschool for the summer. Next year she'll be in a new room, so today was the last hurrah. The last-day-of-school energy pulsed through the school, so I stole a little bit of that vibe, walked out of there with a little more bounce in my step, and carried it into my day. I've learned to seize such opportunities in life.

From there I drove to The Community Mercantile to purchase items for something I call an artist's lunch. With an artist's lunch, I indulge my Bohemian urges. About once a month, I like to pack myself a simple, inexpensive, spartan-like meal, and I spend the morning or a few hours just reading and writing. After expending my creative energy, I enjoy a simple meal. Here's a look at today's artist's lunch:

First I stopped at the Merc to visit their cheese case:

At the very end of the case is a little box where they sell little "nubs" of cheese that are leftover after slicing cheese into wedges. I've found that this is a inexpensive way for me to sample new cheeses. For this small town boy who consumed a steady diet of Kraft cheeses and Velveeta growing up, these artisan cheeses in the little box at the end of the cheese case are a revelation.
The pickings were slim, but I found a German cheese called a Butterkase, which according to its label tasted like butter. For the record, if you want to absolutely convince me to try a new food, tell me it tastes like butter or bacon, and I'll be sold.

Then I spent time browsing the store for inspiration and other items for lunch. In the deli I spotted some roasted sweet potatoes in a ancho chile vinagrette that looked tasty, but at $3.50 they were too expensive for this artist. However, this would be a great recipe to tackle in my kitchen . I ended up purchasing a black plum and a roll called a Brotchen that was baked by Wheatfield's Bakery. I spent $1.95 for my lunch (I usually shoot for a meal under $2). More on lunch later. First I had to earn lunch, so I walked up to the University of Kansas campus and spent my morning at the library. I always try to find a place to sit with a big window and a pleasant view.

After 3 hours of being an artist/writer, I headed home. It's essential to slow down on these days, and I try to observe things that I would typically overlook, like this tree:

In my backyard, I found a cool, shady spot to enjoy my meal.
I ate with my hands; thus engaging all my senses during my meal.
During the entire meal, I kept thinking:

It's great to be alive,

P.S. This fall I'm determined to bake Brötchen, a German roll traditionally served at breakfast. I love the nutty, whole grain texture of this bread, and I've started to research for a recipe. I also found a 1968 Time magazine article titled "Brotchen from Heaven." The article explained that West Germans were forced to eat day-old Brötchen because of a law prohibiting commercial baking between 9:00 pm and 4:00 am. The article went on to report a recent agreement made with East Germany to import over 60,000 Brotchen a day to West Germans in Berlin. Needless to say, the West Germans were thrilled. When food can bypass the Iron Curtain, you know that food is more than food.


Susan said...

Hi old friend-
So glad you found my blog so I could find yours. Love Greasy Skillet! This is going into my daily "blog roll" so I can keep up with the goings on. Great idea- your artist lunch. I may have to steal that one some day.

Your profile pic shows you a happy family- good for you. I was so excited to see your comment. I told Brian that an old friend from high school has found my blog and then I realized that the last time I spoke to you was in high school. Do you realize that was almost 20 years ago? Ouch. We're getting old. :)

Marilyn said...

Oh, delicious! I like your artist's lunch, and we're big fans of the cheesy nubs of the Merc. It allows us to try so many cheeses without committing to a ten-dollar hunk.