taking, and making, stock

Over the past week or so, I've been asking myself the question every self-respecting traveler asks well in advance of his/her trip—"What's gonna go in the bag?" My goal, admirable but perhaps ill-advised, is to make everything except my toiletries bag fit in one bag, which I will check.I will live out of that bag for a day short of two weeks. Thankfully, the vagaries of flight will deposit me in a land known more for sunshine than for snow. It's far easier to pack for sand and sun than it is for snow and cold. No boots, no sweaters, no scarves. Come to think of it, with the exception of workout wear, no socks, either.

I relish the challenge. The act of making a packlist soothes my latent OCD. Lists are my friend, my talisman against unpreparedness. I tease some of my friends that they have faith, while I have double-checking; there is less teasing in that statement than some of them may suppose.

I always wonder, upon leaving, if I truly locked that door.

In those two weeks I'll cover the gamut of my life's experience: dragon*con staff meeting, raucous party with friends, urban hiking in Atlanta, beachcombing, workouts, and dress-up dinners out. It's feasible by borrowing washer and dryer time from a couple of friends, and through careful choice of clothing; I find myself incredibly grateful that I invested in wardrobe basics.

My anticipation sharpened itself to knifepoint last night when I closed my eyes, bleary from a persistent headache, and found myself imagining the surf.

It draws me, with a call I am barely able to comprehend, much less explain.

* * * * *

Wednesday nights see us elsewhere and our kitchen unused, so I took advantage of tonight's free kitchen space to make a batch of stock. Chefs would likely turn up their noses at this concoction, for it's a bastardized child of multiple recipes, but it was difficult to turn down the seriously-discounted pork neck bones. A slow roast in the oven with a spare onion, then an equally slow simmer with peppercorns, bay leaves, and dried mushrooms, gave me something that provided a lovely, glorious stink to the house.

It's cooling in the refrigerator right now. I've missed having stocks in my kitchen, but perhaps not so much so as Jeff, who looked up from his plate the other night and pointed to the chicken dish I'd made and said, "This sauce is GOOD."

I bought the pork neck bones the next day.

My hope is to get a few batches of stock made as the various bones come available in local stores. I'll need to alternate working on those with working on making reductions for the batches of pie I'll want for dragon*con.

I'll miss having access to my ingredient stash while I'm away. As several people here can attest, I'm accustomed to cooking for crashspace, and have periodically done so for about thirteen years now. In addition to my clothes, most of my trips find me slipping a few essential cooking supplies in my bag between my socks and my skirts.

Few people would consider a well-sharpened chef's knife or a sealed packet of bay leaves as essential to a trip's success as the perfect black skirt or the shoes that match everything, but they've never seen me conjure a dinner out of an unfamiliar, unstocked kitchen, either.

I have a reputation to uphold. Killer shoes always seem to be involved, but dinner doesn't hurt, either.


"The act of making a packlist soothes my latent OCD. Lists are my friend, my talisman against unpreparedness. I tease some of my friends that they have faith, while I have double-checking" Yeah, this definitely rings true with me. I have faith in my lists, too. When life gets overwhelming, get it all on paper. It stops all the tasks from wriggling slithily out of your grip.