Thursday, February 19, 2009

Dodging academe

What is it about the task of writing that inspires me to cook? For example, a few years back I had to take the mother of all exams, where, over the space of four days I had to demonstrate academic mastery of the principal areas of my Ph.D. course work. Seems simple enough, right? The exam was formatted into three parts: from part one, choose two questions from a list of five and develop a response to each; from part two, choose one question from a list of five; part three was the same. Michelle and the girls accommodated me by flying to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico while I stayed back in beautiful and scenic BG submitting to my round of academic hazing. Since the family was gone, I had the house to myself and the only breaks were to meet with a friend for a daily meal and BS session. In between writing forty pages in four days, I found this time to be ideal for preparing my long-simmered ragu. I make it completely from scratch and in my 12 quart stock pot, so there's plenty to freeze and take out for a "quick" meal. It's such a "common" food in our house, I don't have any recipes or photos to share. If you're wondering, since I'm still here at BGSU, now an instructor in Sociology, and working on my dissertation, I guess it's obvious I passed the exam.

I don't really know why I choose to take on additional tasks while burdened under the weight of academics; however, I'm doing it again. Only this time, I'm doing something completely different from anything I've done before. It's important to know that I need to have the dissertation written and to my committee within six weeks. In order to meet my self-imposed deadline, I've been putting in long days at my office where I have ample opportunities to gaze out on the bustle of undergraduates in constant motion, but when I was there all day Saturday and Sunday this past week, I looked out my window, and this is what I observed. Moseley Hall directly across from me:
University Hall in the center of the frame (home of the Eva Marie Saint Theater) and Hanna Hall (home of the Gish Film Theater) to the extreme right:And, it appeared as if I were the only human on campus--I quit counting the squirrels darting, dodging, scurrying across the quad. But, no other human life--I truly am pathetic.
My new deviation started with a discussion on the ASFS list about cheese, and I've always wanted to try my hand at making cheese, so, in between e-mail on cheese, and reading blogs about cheese, I decided to source some supplies for making ricotta. I researched a number of suppliers that seemed to fit my paradigm of ethical consumption where I tend to order from small, independent suppliers and I really liked the way the folks at the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company presented their business and described their products, and I decided to spend my money with them. Well, today I decided to work from home, and two good things happened: first, I work on a contract where I get paid monthly--I got paid today; second, my faithful letter carrier brought me this (I really like the big BLUE smiley--this company rocks):
Inside, Non-GMO Organic Veggie Rennet, two ricotta baskets that accurately mimic the traditional straw baskets used in Calabria and Sicila, and the crack that keeps me high for weeks on end, a catalog of cheese making supplies--GOOD GOD, I want to make more cheese and I've not made ANY yet!Stay tuned.



Michelle said...

Please tell me that you are a reader of Jeffrey Steingarten. I sense kindred spirits.

Dorene from Ohio said...

Love the photos of BG's campus!

Professor Moseley used to teach at Sandusky High School. He was quite a character!