Unpacking the groceries

The doorbell buzzed just after 7AM on Saturday morning. It was Fresh Direct with the groceries I'd ordered the night before. I always choose the 6-8AM delivery time slot because it forces me out of bed early. "I'll do more!" I think. I don't always follow through, but at least I give myself a good head start.

I buzzed up the delivery guy, put on a bra, and stood by the door waiting for him to get up the elevator. At the last second, I glanced at my reflection in the living room mirror and was horrified to notice the large chalky pink smear of zit cream on my forehead. I spit in my hand and wiped it off just as the man knocked on the door. (Gross. I know.)

Hudson woke up when he realized I'd gotten out of bed, and whined until I went back and helped him jump to the floor (he gets scared so I have to put my hand on his back while he jumps). Eugene was still asleep despite the doorbell and the delivery guy and the boxes and the crying dog. He can sleep through anything. He sleeps through police sirens and illegal fireworks and loud thunderstorms and that time our upstairs neighbor had a 6-person jazz band playing in his living room until three in the morning.  He once slept through an FBI raid of the apartment next door. I sometimes worry this ability will prove problematic in the event of a home invasion or (more likely), when I finally agree to have a baby.

My current baby, happy to be down on the ground, ran back and forth behind me as I gathered dishes from the night before and put the groceries away. His whines started up again, so I gave him half a cucumber, which is (oddly) his favorite thing, and he wandered off to eat it.

The refrigerator was kind of a mess from the past week so I emptied it, throwing away old condiments and wilted herbs. I felt bad as I dumped a jar of chicken broth I made months ago and never used, but didn't feel like it was safe anymore. A jar of leftover passion fruit curd from last summer definitely had to go. As did a cup of moldy lentil soup and two limes that had shriveled and hardened into little black lumps.

Once empty, I wiped it down and then piled in the new food.

I love the way the fridge looks in the summer--full of vegetables and berries and colors. I tuck herbs in little vases with water and transfer cherries and little potatoes to bowls. Meat on the bottom, veggies piled loose. I style it just the way I would a bookshelf; utility can also be beautiful.

"This looks so organized!" Eugene said when he finally woke up three hours later, looking for food.

I took a picture of it, then made myself coffee (my homemade Bustelo cold brew concentrate over ice with a generous amount of organic local pastured heavy cream).

Coffee with cream is my breakfast most days. I drink it cold in the summer; hot in the winter. It fills me up and gives me energy; the fat and calories from the cream being enough to get me through the morning.

My doctor once told me that Americans need to become comfortable with the feeling of hunger. He said we eat on a schedule or out of habit, but rarely because we're hungry. "You should wait until you feel hungry, even if it's an hour or two later than you usually eat. And even then, just drink some water and wait some more. Don't eat until you feel very very hungry, and then stop before you feel full." At the time I thought he was kind of insane, but earlier this year I found myself doing it by accident and found that he was right. I like to wait for the hunger now. I stretch it out and then relish the meals when I do eat, stopping when I'm satisfied. I don't follow a schedule, I just listen to my body.

We threw on some clothes and took Hudson for a walk followed by a stop at the farmer's market that's located less than a block from my apartment. I've been living in this apartment on the cusp of Harlem and Washington Heights for nearly ten years, and am in love with the changes lately. A new coffee shop that's become a gathering place for the freelancers and the artists in our neighborhood. A gym within walking distance. A local CSA. And now this farmer's market. It's small, but the few things they have are wonderful.

I buy scallions and garlic and zucchini and tiny new potatoes. Some fresh mint for cocktails. Blueberries and tiny delicate raspberries. A half-gallon of apple cider for Eugene, little cucumbers for Hudson, and a couple yellow peaches for me.

One of the women at the market always likes to offer cooking tips when you buy her vegetables. I get a little annoyed because the tips are very basic and usually things I already know. ("You can eat every part of the broccoli. Use the garlic stems for stock.") I know this is just my ego and that I'm kind of a jerk and should just shut up and listen, but I don't. Instead I fake smile and nod and then rush off to the next stand as quickly as possible.

I'm like this about a lot of things in life, but at least I recognize it. That's a start, right?

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