Paper, Perseverance, and Pommes au Tahin (Apples with Tahini)

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My head is full of numbers, hours, and ingredients. I’m planning meals for Rinpoche’s retreat this week. Hopefully I’ll get to snap photos for you whilst it all goes down. I cooked up (no pun intended, but oy, there it is) a new recipe for a gluten-free eggplant tart, and I’m hoping to sneak in a batch of ice cream too.

My art supply crisis turned out splendidly. More than anything, I needed cold-press watercolor paper to start a series of drawings that will make up one part of a larger installation. When Thomas, a.k.a. Mr. Money, told me he could order it online and it would arrive in maybe eight days, I almost started to cry. He saw my face and said, “Je comprends ton angoisse.” I understand your anguish. Two hours later, he came back with a list of every possible art and paper supply store within driving distance. What a guy.

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In the end, we wound up taking a field trip to the last artisanal papery in France, complete with a windmill and all. I left with ten sheets of large format, 400 gram, fine grain paper, and it’s freaking handmade. I also got to see where it was made, from a room-filled with cottony fluff to one hung wall-to-wall with individual sheets up to dry. Not bad for a crisis resolution.

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Pretty much every other minute was spent with my head buried in menu planning and portioning for the inauguration. The day all of the numbers for food quantities were due to the budgeting department, I barely saw daylight and stayed in front of the computer until long past dark. We rewrote the menus three times in one week, and every time I had a new heart attack about how I was going to rearrange my schedule around the inauguration to accomplish all of the cooking in addition to installing the art piece. In the end, we decided to split the menu half between in-house cooking and half between a caterer, to save the head ache of renting an infinitude of ovens, fridges, and freezers we don’t have any place to put. Halle-freaking-lujah.

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I don’t know if this applies to life in general or just to my life lately, but I’ve noticed that if you hold it together and keep your nose to the grindstone, the results can be nigh miraculous. I’ve also noticed that when I start to doubt this fact, it really helps to pause and have a snack to cheer myself up. Lately my favorite snack is an apple cut into slices and munched with an ample portion of tahini, even better if you dress up the sesame purée into a full-on dip. It’s so simple that it hardly counts as a recipe, but for those of you who like numbers, voilà: mix three tablespoons tahini with one teaspoon honey and one teaspoon lemon juice. Snack, chill out, and wait for life to come to its senses.

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