My dissertation has been turned in! I can hardly believe it. It has been hanging over my head inconspicuously for seven years and aggressively for two months, and now it is done. The word relief doesn’t seem to do my present state justice.
I now have some time to describe my diet of the last two months. In a word: eww. Picture everything and anything that is not nailed down in one’s pantry or refrigerator. Picture those food stuffs consumed in no particular order or ritual, just for the sake of being consumed with the hope of keeping my meager attention span tuned to my work for just another little while longer. Yes, I have eaten everything in my house. I can’t say I enjoyed it because frankly, I can’t remember it. It was like sleep eating. One thing does stand out from this past month of bleary-eyed dissertation hell. It takes a bit of a story to explain fully, so here goes.
I ran away to the Tavern with the supervisor one evening to get a break from the soul-numbing dissertation writing and to get out of the house. Here is what I learned that evening – three drinks in one night are ok, but not if they are red wine, vodka on the rocks, and beer, in that order. That was not smart. It might also explain how we (ok, I) wound up picking up a stray French cook at the bar and bringing him home with the promise of good foie gras. I don’t know how it happened, so don’t ask, although it's fair to assume that it had something to do with my ill-advised booze trifecta.
That's whole duck liver, for the non-Francophiles. The ingredient list is brilliant - Foie, booze, salt and pepper. I don't know what else one needs for complete contentment.
If I ever get a tattoo, it will be of that little duck, somewhere private and personal. Because that's how I feel about foie gras.
And the foie gras? It has been teasing me from the back of my fridge with its yellow duck fat and crack cocaine-like addictive contents. I have had it stashed for over a year - my parents brought it back from Paris for me. So to make a long and boring story short, we brought the stray Frenchman home and had drunken foie gras at three in the morning. We huddled around my kitchen counter because the rest of my house was covered in an even layer of dirty mugs and papers papers papers, eating big chunks of foie on toasted bread with olives and salty roasted fingerling potatoes and cold beer. It was perfect, drunken, and decadent. The foie was unctuous and melty, supported by the crunch of the bread. Like a pale beige butter with a slightly animal quality to it. I could have easily finished the entire jar by myself. Luckily, I was too drunk to stay up long enough to accomplish that not-at-all-challenging feat.
Yes, I have been living in grad student dissertation squalor for the last month. It wasn't pretty. Didn't smell that great either.
And when all the foie is gone, the yellow duck fat will remain, to make for amazing meals of eggs and potatoes fried in duck fat. Browned mushrooms sauteed with duck fat and thyme. Toasted bread smeared with duck fat. Oh yes. Duck fat = crack.
Mmmmm... duck fat. Drool.
Chips and salsa after a long night out? I don’t think so.
I really hope I manage to con the Frenchman into cooking for me someday soon. He is suspiciously (perhaps, wisely) not replying to my emails...