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Posts Tagged ‘Bridget Jones’

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I’ve been utterly hamstrung by a sinus infection since Sunday. Today I turned a corner. For me, this can be determined in a single, no-fail way: it’s when everything I’ve let slide for three days looms up, looks into the bleary whites of my eyes, and says, AHEM. When you’re sick, you don’t notice, or if you do, you don’t bloody well care.

Corner turned notwithstanding, I am still sick, so am making myself move slowly. While this may be a cakewalk for some, it is not for me. I am a do-er. When I find myself only going through three tissues per hour instead of a dozen, it takes all of my effort not to scramble around setting everything to rights.

Yet…when one is surrounded by 817 things to do, all seemingly needing attention at once, it can be overwhelming. In cases such as this—and I have had many—I have found the best thing to do is to identify the priority. And that, typically, is to do something soothing. Something that honors the state of being that one is in, and fortifies for the stuff that needs doing afterwards.

I planned for this. Like I said…I’ve been here before. So yesterday, following a trip to the doctor’s office and the pharmacist’s, I bought four Meyer lemons. I knew lemon curd was just what my internal doctor ordered.

I’ve written about this luscious treat before. Meyers are a sweeter and less astringent lemon variety, and have been quite the darling of pastry chefs for some time now. They are my favorite choice for curd, and are in season all winter—exactly when we can all use the Vitamin C most.

This morning I felt well enough to stir some up, and let it chill and thicken in the fridge. Then I ate some right out of the pan as I read the second Bridget Jones book. She would have been so proud of me.

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Actually…I should have called this post ‘two nice things’, because afterward I felt even better, and baked up a very easy, tender, homey pumpkin cake with some of the last of my fresh pumpkin puree. A warm piece after dinner just soothed that much more.

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Shortbreads baked in small tart pans.

In de Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince, the fox tells the title character that he loves rites because they make each day different from the others and are fun to anticipate. I would add that they add a blanket of comfort, a personal calm or a bit of humor (as the case may be), to our days. Some of my favorites:

Eating something while reading about it.

I’m a cereal box reader. Reading the back of the Kix box while I’m eating a bowl of it makes it taste even better. A five-sense cereal experience :)*

I love nibbling on my homemade shortbread while reading about English treats. Actually, my 1969 Time-Life cookbook, The Cooking of the British Isles, features chapters on cheeses, game, beef, puddings and more, and has taken me through weeks of mealtime reading.

Adopting a new favorite breakfast treat from time to time.

Right now it’s a version of an Orange Creamy (remember those from the ice cream man?): a navel orange peeled and sectioned and put in a bowl with a couple of dollops of Stonyfield low-fat vanilla yogurt. Gosh, it’s so good.

Observing teatime.

I get (what I call) snacky at 3 or 4 every afternoon, so as those bright folks in England have been doing for centuries, I do something about it. Sometimes I’ll make hot chocolate from an incredible recipe that I keep talking about because it’s that incredible. Yesterday I had a couple of squares of Chocolove with a mug of very cold milk. No tea because I don’t much like it. I like sweets, though. It’s the spirit of teatime that counts.**

Whenever J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter had a run-in with (literally) life-sucking Dementors, a few bites of chocolate was the panacea to help clear his head. I took a page from those hallowed books on the five-year anniversary of 9/11 and made brownies to share with the women I worked with. The Muggle (non-wizarding) world of ours has plenty of Dementors of its own, and they were with us in spades that day. The chocolate really did help.

T.S. Eliot’s Prufrock measured out his life with coffee spoons…

Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones reached for the Milk Tray and went out for Bloody Marys when she got stressed…

Louise Fitzhugh’s Harriet the Spy would eat nothing but tomato sandwiches for lunch…

Charles Dickens’s sympathetic Joe Gargery poured extra gravy on young Pip’s plate every time Pip got chewed out at the dinner table…

Bill Watterson’s Calvin ate Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs every Saturday morning without fail…

What do you eat, and how, and when?

*Not a quote from Jerry Seinfeld. But it could be.

**Yeah, okay, the spirit is usually about chocolate.

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