It’s funny the things we think about, and the things in which we find value. I find myself looking at things very differently as we near our departure for Costa Rica and Argentina. But WAIT! Before you start thinking that I’m getting sentimental (I am), and all missy-missy for our friends and family (I am), let me explain what “things” I’ve been thinking about, and looking at lately: food and napkins. Sad but true, these things have held a pretty high spot on the totem pole of my brain lately. I am sorry to say that when I mention food, it’s not even like I’m thinking about world hunger. The other day I went to the grocery store, and with only 23 days before we leave (23!!!!!), I’m starting to really think about what I buy, and if I’ll use it before we go. “Should I buy one pound of butter, or two?” I asked myself. I went for two…..my friend Ingrid gets whatever I don’t use. I’ve been trying to use up food in our freezer, which is a challenge when your husband is a big game hunter and had a good year last year, and someone who takes pig butchery classes for fun (actually, I got that for Rob as a gift–very “Portland DIY”). I came across my freezer bag of Parmesan rinds recently, and have promised to give them to my friend Geoff when we go. Those things are like GOLD to any cook worth his or her salt.
As far as napkins go, I keep wondering if I should bring some cloth napkins. “What a ridiculous thing to think about!” you may say to yourself, and I completely agree! The thing is, I keep thinking about this, and I keep going back and forth. I think, “Well, it’s not like they take up a lot of space, and wouldn’t it be nice to have just a set or two of cloth napkins? What if we have someone over? I like cloth napkins!” When Rob and I were in Argentina they had the most silly, ineffective paper napkins (it was like trying to wipe your hands with one-ply toilet paper!), so I’m not completely crazy.
I’m reminded of an NPR show I used to listen to that was basically three or four adult sisters who would get on the radio and just chat about what they were up to. It was basically a radio blog—fantastic! I loved it: Satellite Sisters. Anyway, on one particular show, one of the sisters was getting ready to move her entire family to Shanghai or Bangkok or something. The sisters were having an in-depth conversation about whether or not the one sister should bring her gravy boat that matched her set of china. She pointed out that she was not, in fact, bringing any of her china, but wondered if she would be able to find a gravy boat in Shanghai or Bangkok if she didn’t bring her own. They probably discussed it for a good six to eight minutes when one sister broke in and said, “Look, do you think you’ll even be able to FIND a turkey? And if you do, will your oven be big enough to roast it?” The traveling sister then replied, “I have no idea! THIS is EXACTLY the wacky kind of stuff I’m thinking about these days!” Well, I get what she’s talking about. So in a never-ending effort to avoid thinking about all of the wonderfully amazing people at home who I love so dearly, and am going to miss so terribly, I think about how much butter I should buy when we’ll only be here 23 more days, or if I should bring cloth napkins to Argentina.