Chef’s Special

When ever I’m out and about, especially after dark, it is my natural bent to peek into the dumpsters behind Androgeno’s market. They are worth describing: both are yellow bins with slanted sides and their tops, if they ever had them, have been torn off. They face each other, so the slanted sides make a chevron shape…and the cubbyhole they reside in is sheltered by a latticework of wooden fencing that reminds me most of a pie crust where the fruit shines through.

When Charlie and I are returning from visiting Toad Hall (the house his dad built and mom continues to live, in her first year of widowhood) we’re usually in the Bluebaru, and as we roll past the dumpsters (I already know Ch’s tired, he doesn’t want to waste that extra few minutes)…I longingly look at it, grinning inwardly like some self-conscious Pavlov poodle, and tell myself:”there’s already piles of grub in the fridge…keep looking straight ahead.”

Sometimes Charlie will stop the car, and I race out like a kid to a Christmas tree. Inevitably, within 3 minutes I drag back sacks of mango, lettuce, melon, milk, cream …or parsnip, carrot, and potato….whatever the hell’s in there.

During my 3 weeks’ absence even Charlie’s mom noticed that her larder was looking a little understocked. The fact is, my ‘liberated produce’ has positively impacted our household nutrition and budget.

This time I was alone, so I pulled into the curb and hopped out. My outfit: velvet brushed cords, MacLennan tartan skirt and burgundy ‘wife beater’ teeshirt. Normally I wear lots warmer uppers but my furnace seems to be overheating these days.

Yes, I know you didn’t ask either about my wardrobe or my temperature. But I didn’t plop this blog on your doorstep either…I am going to have to get used to not knowing my readers…and not knowing if my usual readers are not reading.

The bin was full of spent orange rinds, hundreds of them, from the fresh juice-making operation they do each day. I slid in sideways to get to the rear of the cubby hole and away from the eyes of the dozens of cars cruising through the busy intersection at Bridge Street. How many times have my friends spotted me emerging with arms piled improbably high with un-bagged groceries from the “back door catering co.” And worse, my acquaintances, who have no clue I live this way?

I spy a pair of plastic cake boxes with Angel Food cake, undecorated, pristinely gleaming from inside. Then as if by fateful gourmet magic, in the other bin: two pints of organic strawberries. OK, I know what I’m making for breakfast tomorrow. Gateau Ivre, a sort of bread pudding/clafouti with a drizzle of brandy over the cut-up cake and diced other breads, all the milk and creme fraiche I’d hauled in from other raids, eggs from Cala market the other day, chopped apples from Ed’s place down the street, and cottage cheese I’d failed to hurl before my travels. First I peeled back the green growth lining the plastic quart tub, naturally. Melt honey from Tim’s farm, add lemon from Ellen’s tree, blend with the custard, lay it all in the buttered 9″ x 14″ pan and bake at 350 until fingers of fragrance yank me away from typing madly to my imaginary real friend in cyberspace.
It’s ten before I’m washing this delicious breakfast down with boiling hot red label Plain Old Tea, a day well started if you are measuring smug self-satisfaction. If you are measuring efficiency and ability to remain on task, give me an F.

Carefully wiping all the dairy product plastic tubs with newspaper so as not to waste water and in order to feed the worms (soy ink newsprint, they promise it’s ok for worms) out in the compost pile takes some time. It also deprives the raccoons of their due–they lick clean all un-rinsed recycling containers, then hurl them around in a random musical expression at three in the morning.

That reminds me: this particular (very quiet) morning at around three, owls were calling back and forth. It’s the season of the owl’s calls. Back in 82 Charlie and I were riding down Tam, I didn’t know him at all. The owls were trilling. The full moon of October was working its incredible magic. And Sandy fell off his bike trying to keep up with us (but being drunk, unlike us, rather unsuited for riding through moondappled dirt trails) and a this brings me to a different, non-food story.

Bon apetit!

~ by jacquiephelan on September 21, 2007.

4 Responses to “Chef’s Special”

  1. My active freegan driven mind will spend the day puzzling over the orange rinds.I am sure that somehow you can use them for………..

  2. Yummy!

  3. hi jacquie the night before you arrived in aviemore i was allowed to sit on your new singular and have a ride up and down the road (about 100meters lol) it felt great
    question is how are you finding it as im thinking of buying one on that quick sit on it alone . it felt great and was set up perfect.
    cheers mick

  4. diving into a dumpster with a wombat sounds very delicious! if’n i can ever make it over to “mamarin” i’d shirley love to join you as i “have been experienced” ;-)

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