Sunday, August 28, 2011
Quinoa Cereal: A new context
I think I might go to my ten year high school reunion.
I wasn't planning on going. For the past year I've been telling anyone who asked me that I was completely uninterested in attending.
"I'd rather eat chalk than talk to those people again," I'd say whilst seriously contemplating the palateability of the substance. I imagined grinding it up and stirring it into vanilla ice cream -- a delicious summertime treat. And clearly far less egregious than having to make small talk with my former classmates.
I had no interest in reliving that time of my life. The awkward years of braces, too-short-for-me jeans and an extra-large backpack filled with my color-coded notebooks for each class. I was perfectly content to pretend that I made a gracious transition from childhood to adulthood -- with none of that social pariah nonsense. I didn't need a reunion to remind me of the girl that I used to be. And I didn't want to see the people who made me feel like that girl.
Or so I thought.
Last Sunday I ran into one of my high school cross-country teammates at the farmers' market that's located a half-mile from my apartment.
"Diana!" She called out in the midst of my concentrated inspection of yellow peaches.
I whirled around, confused by the familiarity of the voice. It didn't belong in my farmers' market. It didn't even belong in Los Angeles for that matter. It was supposed to be in New York cohabitating with the husband she'd married at a wedding I'd attended in April.
"I live here now," She explained, telling me that her husband was offered a job in Beverly Hills a little over a month ago. That they'd moved into an apartment in the neighborhood -- my neighborhood. We exchanged mischievous grins as we realized how close we were located to each other. Visions of Comme Ca happy hours, impromptu weekend lunches at Joan's on Third and lazy afternoons and evenings spent gossiping at her and her husband's new air conditioned place filled my head.
I had a new partner in crime -- one of my original partners in crime.
This past Friday night we took full advantage of our newly discovered proximity -- and that happy hour at Comme Ca. Four glasses of $5 P. Cottat Sauvignon Blanc later, we stumbled back to her apartment where we debated the attractiveness of Avril Lavigne in comparison to Blake Lively with her husband, and reminisced about the days when I singlehandedly kept Premium saltine crackers in business.
"We should go to our reunion," She said at one point during our three hour conversation.
"Really?" I said with hesitation, the two glasses of wine no longer blurring my judgment about what is and isn't a good idea.
But she seemed excited about it. Told me that it was the sort of iconic experience that everyone should have at some point in their life so they know what it's like to go to a high school reunion.
"And if it sucks we can just leave and go drink somewhere else." She finished.
It made sense.
And having her in Los Angeles suddenly made sense too.
Walking home to my apartment on Friday, I was overwhelmed with how right it all felt -- having a friend who knew me back when saltine crackers were an essential part of my diet living so close to me again. Someone who knew and liked me even when I wore long Guess overalls over red t-shirts and memorized every single detail in my AP Biology text book. The girl who followed me in a red truck during my driver's license test. The girl who I sat next to in Algebra II with Mr. Sizer. The girl who I sprinted away from my dad with when he caught us drinking Dr. Peppers and Doritos in my garage when we were supposed to be at track practice.
Completely out of context, but completely comforting.
Just like having a big bowl of quinoa with fresh fruit and milk for breakfast.
Seemingly awkward, seemingly out of place, but some how perfectly sensible.
1/4 cup quinoa, rinsed well
1/2 cup water
Pinch of nutmeg
1/3 cup milk (I use 2%)
Strawberries, blueberries, peaches or nectarines
Bring 1/2 cup of water to a boil. Add the quinoa, a pinch of salt and nutmeg, and a few good shakes of cinnamon. Lower heat and simmer, covered, until the quinoa absorbs the water -- approximately 15 minutes. Remove the lid, fluff with a fork and let rest for 5 minutes uncovered. Spoon quinoa into a bowl and cool slightly in the refrigerator (approximately 10 minutes).
Remove quinoa from fridge, add milk and top with fresh fruit and walnuts.