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.