Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Defenestration of Pizza Rolls

Okay, I didn't actually throw the pizza rolls out the window. But defenestration is such a great word. And yes, if you look at the picture, you'll be tempted to suggest to me that "defrosting" is not a bad word, either. I will ignore you.

So there are many reasons that I would not say that I am a foodie. For one, the word, for me, has a prissy, fussy, nails-on-chalkboard ring to it. And also, although I cook pretty much every day, and usually enjoy it, I’d be doing it even if I found it onerous. In my life, it's a bonus that a chore is a pleasure, but sometimes, one still must acknowledge that it remains a chore.
But really, my secret food loves and my unwillingness to go the last mile for perfect quality are I think what really lead the list of Reasons I Would Be DQ’d As A Foodie. Pizza rolls share too many of the same ingredients as shampoo to truly qualify as a food item, and yet… oh, I do love to have them. Not often, but… oh, yeah. Absolutely. And unless a loved one is sick, I don’t make broth from scratch, and I most certainly do NOT give coveted freezer space to home-made broth. Our freezer is very small. It is for 1) ice packs (Curly and I are both a bit accident-prone), 2) ice creams and gelati, 3) pizza rolls and 4) frozen breads and/or pastries. I understand broth can be frozen into little ice cube things and emptied out (I remain skeptical of the "you just" which usually precedes the explanation of doing this) to take up a minimum of space and all, but the real estate in our freezer is distinctly finite.

However. Now and then it’s probably healthy to eat a little crow, and acknowledge that, yes indeedy, we are doing exactly what we said we wouldn’t.

A friend of mine is horribly, horribly sick. She can eat soup. I can make soup. She is struggling both to stay hydrated and to get adequate nutrition; soup has been something she can manage. So the pizza rolls have been unceremoniously chucked from the freezer, and my freezer now contains not one, but two kinds of frozen broth, made from scratch, skimmed and strained several times and carefully decanted into containers that can fit into my fridge and are just right to make a last minute one-person batch of soup. When I brought this week’s soups around (a pureed carrot soup and a thin garlic-chicken broth), I saw her, and I have to say, I was glad for every second I spent hovering over the stove. But… I wasn’t very glad. I would rather that I hadn’t made the broth and that she was well and that I was eating crow over something else, and that it was funny. In fact, when I saw how ill this lovely, kind woman is, I thought: karma, you suck. And then I went home and cried a bit.

A little over a week ago, the husband of a friend of mine was hit by a car while bicycling. In the bike lane. With a helmet. He’s still in the ICU, with more than one surgery ahead of him, and it’s still not totally clear if he’s suffered any brain damage, although some of the early signs since he started to speak (a little over a day ago) are promising. Which is... good? The whole thing is awful, and that's not going to change, so signs pointing to a full recovery is as good as it's going to get. It’s hard to know what to say, about anything, when things like that happen. None of these troubles are really my troubles. It's hugely encouraging to see the way communities of friends and neighbors have rallied around both of my friends, and helped their families. But... my usual frivolity and fondness for talking about Barney's is a little tough to sustain.

On a lighter note, another reason the pizza rolls have been chucked is to keep the Incredible Eating Nephew fed. And ohdeargod, I think that needs to be a full-time, paid position. July 4th, I woke up early and made two coffee cakes. Two days later, both were gone. My family of 4 had consumed perhaps 2/3 of one of the coffee cakes. The Incredible Eating Nephew? Responsible for the rest. Last night? Two blueberry pies. Both gone within 24 hours (although I will say, there were 11 people chipping in on the pie-removal effort). I make sure to have some variety of high-calorie frozen dessert in my freezer while he’s on the premises, just in case his 2nd dinner didn’t quite fill him up enough. And it evaporates.


bleeding espresso said...

Defenestration is an *excellent* word and brava to you for making that broth. Hope everyone is feeling better soon.

And? Mmmm...blueberry pie. Would be gone in a flash in my house too!

homebody at heart said...

Oh, my sister makes homemade chicken broth (I just go straight to the soup) and it's like gold around here. We have used it to make spanish rice as well (with jasmine or basmatic rice for really fragrant rice) and it is, so much better than canned broth even the free-range, organic chicken broth! This winter, I'm really going to work some more on making rebolità (sp?) unless you already have a recipe worked out you'd care to share?

You are such a good friend to make the soup. Every little bit helps when they can keep some food down and weight on.

And, the human brain and body can be amazingly resilient, at times, so my best hopes go out to both your friends.

As for defenstration, that is a fabulous word. I am reminded about a post from Mental Mosaic's blog, about how the Napolitani throw their old appliances out, especially around New Year. Defenestration?

Bee said...

Funny, but I've just been posting about food for sick days. Food IS love, I think. It can comfort and heal.

I'm sorry that your friends are so gravely ill. It does put a dent in one's irreverence, doesn't it?

BTW, your freezer looks just like mine . . . small, with a ceiling of frost. However, I LOVE making chicken broth and always have some in the freezer. (We make room by skipping the ice packs.)

chris said...

Oh, we can easily finish off that much coffee cake. My husband alone, who doesn't gain weight ever, darn him, could eat all that. Which reminds me, I have blueberries that need to be made into something.

The soups sound delicious. Best to your friends. So sorry they are having some troubles.

Meg said...

Michelle- I always got a kick out of the fact that the defenestration of Prague actually started a war. Pie doesn't seem to last long anywhere, I guess. Still, The Incredible Eating Nephew definitely accelerates the evaporation of any food type.

Homebody- I do minestrone, but I don't think I've ever made a ribollita. The ones I've eaten, though, have gotten me to consider giving it a go, though. Every variation seems to be delicious and warming.

Bee- even if it doesn't help her too much, it helps me knowing I've tried, and it seems to help her knowing that so many people are looking out for her. I don't know if we could skip the ice packs. It's hard to over-emphasize how deeply accident-prone a mother-daughter pair Curly and I make (scaldings, bee stings, biking into the garage door, falling out of trees, etc).

Chris- really? anything? And not gain weight? It must be hard not to stick out your tongue at him sometimes.

cook eat FRET said...

wow. a whole lotta life in there. i recently made veal stock. it's in my freezer in ziplocks. i need some good ol' chicken broth though.

hope everything works out. whatever that means...

Meg said...

Claudia- I have to admit, it was nice to get back from a weekend away, and have it in there, ready to be made into something good. Still, with such a small (and rarely defrosted) freezer, I'm not sure if I'm ready to make a long-term habit of it.

Proud Italian Cook said...

What a kind friend you are, making homemade soup for your friend. Hope she recovers and has her health back soon.