As I just mentioned, Peter and I are moving. To 30th Avenue, the beating heart of Greek Astoria, just a couple of blocks from the 24-hour produce store that made me swoon on my very first visit to the neighborhood. A sort of homecoming, if you will, or my finally achieving my dream of living by the largest pile of eggplants in all of New York City.
And when you’re getting ready for moving, you’re looking around and paring down your belongings, trying to minimize additional purchases (or you do if you’re not a complete packrat, like some people I could name). That attitude has crept into my food consumption as well, which is a little flawed, because we don’t move till Thursday, and I haven’t bought any groceries in many, many days.
But when you set strange limits, you have to get creative, and you surprise yourself. Like the other night, when it seemed the cupboard was utterly bare. And I actually did something I have never, ever done in New York: I ordered takeout.
I know, for most people, especially here in NYC, “my favorite kind of cooking”=”I ordered takeout.”
But it has been a point of pride for me never to cave to that urge to just give up and have some guy bring food to your door. So you know I must’ve been desperate when I called up Mundo.
Well, actually, I was really hankering for some manti, but I didn’t feel like I had time or energy to go out to the lovely and charming restaurant of Mundo itself–which, come to think of it, I suppose is the main reason why people order takeout. (Also because they are too disorganized or don’t know how to cook, but that’s a different problem–one you can solve.)
So I was talking to the guy on the phone, and I ordered the celery root veggie dish, and he said they were out. “How about the artichokes?” he asked. Normally I’d yell YES!, but actually that reminded me that Peter had bought some artichokes a couple of weeks ago, and they were probably still in the fridge. So I capped my order, and went into the kitchen to investigate.
(From here on in, I have to warn you, this becomes like those blogs I hate, the ones that go, “I made this lovely thing, and ate it, and mused on the loveliness of life.” But at least there are no photos.)
Indeed, there in the fridge were the artichokes. And a bowl full of lettuce that Tamara had washed the weekend previous. So I set the ‘chokes on to boil, and I made a salad dressing for the lettuce. Because it didn’t look like there was anything else in the way of veg, I thought I’d make the dressing extra lively, and stirred in a big glob of yogurt, which had also been languishing a while. And grated in some really hard Dutch cheese someone had brought us as a present a couple of months back. And did manage to find a cucumber. And lo, it was a magnificent salad, wrought from nothing. I melted some butter for the ‘chokes just as the doorbell rang.
Mundo treats: manti (Turkish dumplings), beef empanadas (all silky, sweet-and-savory ground meet), and red-lentil-and-bulgur patties. The humongous cheesy-yogurty green salad. The artichokes with butter. A half-drunk bottle of rose from the fridge (when has there ever been a half-drunk bottle of wine in our fridge?!). We had so much food that we didn’t know what to do with ourselves. Loaves and fishes, fishes and loaves.
The added salad made me feel like not such a chump for ordering takeout (and if I hadn’t ordered, the artichokes probably would’ve continued to be forgotten). And the whole positive experience has made me quite cocky about grocery shopping in the next few days. All condiments, all the time!