Finally my hands are somewhat recovered from that last round of yuckiness. In order to stave off further yuckiness I’ll get to the point of this post quickly:

With food so much on my mind lately, I’ve been pondering some of my food choices, especially when it comes to seafood. In my vegetarian 20s I used to make an occasional exception for seafood because I love it so much. Now, years later, I find myself in the odd position of eating poultry much more often than seafood, not because I love poultry so much, but mostly because of a horrifying documentary I saw last year about fishing practices. In an attempt to reconcile my principle-driven desire to avoid fish altogether with my tastebud-driven desire to enjoy eating fish, I have been perusing the very excellent Seafood Watch site where you can download wallet-size guides tailored to different regions of the USA. It’s a little overwhelming, but for now, I’ve decided that I will eat salmon once a year, on my birthday (which happily falls in the middle of salmon season), making sure that the salmon is wild-caught in Alaska.



If you tried to look at my website on Friday, sorry, the venerable Well went down & took me with it. Everything back to normal now. Meanwhile, I shoulda known those last few posts were sounding a little cocky. Both hands are very tired, sore & achey right now. It sucks. I’m gonna go curl up in a little ball until it gets better. Two steps forward, one step back. Kinda like the weather… a sweet dose of sunshine & warmth, now back to torrential downpours. Color me Eeyore.



Good hand news, part one: a while ago I said that I could have spent all this hand-time writing poems about hands, but it just wasn’t like that. Also, toward the beginning of the hand ordeal I had tried to read various, more obvious kinds of writing about hands & hand injuries, & they just weren’t what I needed. They were too much what was already going on in my head: what does the hand do, how does the hand work (or not work), how important is the hand, blah blah. It was all so tedious, so I gave up on such reading pretty quickly. I didn’t realize that what I needed was poetry about hands, written by someone else. Well, I found it & I’m so glad: The Book of a Hundred Hands by Cole Swenson. It’s great. I’m not up on the lingo of how to describe poetry, but it has certain things in common with two other poetry books I’ve really liked recently: Crush by Richard Siken and Facts for Visitors by Srikanth Reddy.

Good hand news, part two: I found a very nice wool coat on deep, deep discount for $29. As may be expected from such a screaming bargain, it required some attention: 2 buttons to be sewn on. Just a few weeks ago I probably would have felt that I could not accomplish such a thing, or would have tried it with my left hand. But no! My right hand said, “I can do that!” & it did! Not only did it, but did it with ease & grace. This made me very, very cheerful. That plus the weather easing up ever so slightly—we have had moments of actual warmth & sunshine in between the continuing rain.

Light at the end o’ the tunnel, perhaps?



I was attacked with a severe bread jones last night. I think it’s the granola’s fault. We’ve been making our own (an adaptation of the Tassajara recipe), so breakfast lately has been granola, strawberries, & Straus maple yogurt—displacing my longstanding toast habit. Lo & behold, 2 or 3 whole weeks went by with nary a loaf of Acme in the house. Suddenly yesterday I needed a slice of levain. So fortunate are we to live in Berkeley, where such an itch can be scratched almost quicker than thought. I ate it first with butter last night, then just now for lunch with Brebiou from the Cheeseboard. Aaaah.

Now that I’ve regained some of my bread molecules, I must also report that slicing the bread was noticeably easier this time! I think the hand may have to share the blame for the bread drought… granola is much easier for the hand to face, first thing in the morning. It was so upsetting not to be able to slice bread (or, more recently, to slice it in an unenjoyable, anxious, struggling way), I guess I had subconsciouly decided I’d rather not eat it at all. Terrible. Hopefully that’s over.

Plus, it’s not raining today!



I’m only about to say everything that everyone else around here is already saying, so if repetition bores you, stop reading. But I can’t help it, & there’s a reason why everyone is wailing: what is up with the fucking rain??? I swear I’m starting to mold. Half of the plants in our garden have literally drownded. (That’s not a typo. I like “drownded” better than “drowned”.) Notwithstanding jokes about Seattle & clever references to ark-building, we are all truly going insane here in the Bay Area. All I want to do is eat & sleep. I’m not a coffee drinker but I’ve been hitting the Scharffenberger & the organic genmaicha pretty hard. I’ve become convinced that my hand would get well if only it would stop raining. Or more like, how can my hand possibly improve in this weather? I am so fucking impatient.

I did, however, make gnocchi the other day. Remember that French Laundry cookbook from the library? When I checked it out I swore it was only for my reading pleasure, that I was not going to be so foolhardy as to attempt any of the insanely complex recipes. Well. First of all, some of the recipes aren’t actually that complex, & second of all, I am a total sucker for gnocchi, but for various workaholic reasons hadn’t made it in probably ten years, & third of all… see above for weather-induced stircraziness.

My hands did everything they could manage, but in the end my gnocchi inevitably turned out to be a rustic, chunky variation of the recipe. (Hey, you try mashing potatoes with a weak left hand.) It’s actually fairly interesting textural contrast; you get these whole chunks of unmashed potato in the middle of your gnocchi. & since it’s fresh pasta & the sauce calls for half a stick of butter, who’s complaining?

Well, maybe the dishwasher (who, for the record, did not actually complain even though she had every right to). By the time I got done I had used every pot, pan, mixing bowl & utensil in the kitchen. I even thought of making a list of the specific implements for you, but I had too much gnocchi dough stuck to my hands.

Fortunately, the recipe makes a lot of gnocchi:

It’s leftovers heaven!

So, to recap coping mechanisms for interminable, torrential suckiness:
1. Complain (this includes cursing a lot)
2. Eat chocolate
3. Drink caffeinated drinks
4. Sleep
5. Undertake time-consuming, starchy, fatty cooking projects