Saturday, March 24, 2012

Comfort Food and Job Loss

I'm not really prone to depression. Sometimes that actually bothers me. I can cry over the most ridiculous things (the story of Nestor, the long-eared Christmas donkey, always has me reaching for a tissue), but a full blown funk is bit difficult. Yet there are times, like now, when I wish I could wallow in a little self pity and eat my way through a bag of Fritos, drink a bottle (or at least a glass) of wine, eat an entire pint of gooey ice cream and maybe some chocolates, and generally brood. Okay, my family will tell you I am quite capable of getting seriously cranky, but that's just not the same. 

For the past eighteen years I have worked for the same people doing desktop publishing/layout design. And now, after all that time, I had to go apply for my own job. Well, to be more precise, the editor's job and my job were combined. We were both "invited" to apply. Neither of us quit, neither of us got fired. An ad was simply placed for our jobs and we were told we had the same chance as anyone else who applied. Times is tough, they said. Budgets ain't what they used to be. This new combined position requires a physical presence in the New York City office, which only happens to be a 3 hour commute each way. I gave it a try. I went for the interview. I was one of four people applying. Annalee bought me a new outfit to wear. A 40-minute drive to the train station, a drive around the parking lot looking for that rare open spot, a panicky dash to the ticket booth, a 90-minute train ride, and then a 30-minute dash (while eating a hot dog bought from a street vendor!) across the City because I had no clue how to ride New York's subway system, had me arriving at the office with 5 minutes to spare—and completely sweaty. I barely slept that night, scared to make the decision to take my name of the list of candidates yet knowing a 6-hour-a-day commute was just too much. I was exhausted after one day. But I had to wonder at the total lack of concern or compassion from people for whom I had worked for so long. I wanted to look everyone on that interview committee in the face and tell them what I really thought, with their questions all lined up, smug in their position of power and the knowledge that they can make someone do both jobs for less pay, less time. Two days later I sent that e-mail.

The rolls made the kitchen smell heavenly.
With a need to do something I woke up early this morning and cleaned the house, did two loads of wash, made a batch of rolls, put some country ribs out in the solar cooker for a pulled pork dinner, made homemade mayonnaise, and shredded cabbage for coleslaw. It wasn't the best of days for solar cooking; in fact, it was pretty darn cloudy. But, damn, I was set on using the solar oven. Today. Luckily, despite the clouds, the solar oven hovered between 200º and 250º for several hours before it dropped down to 175º. I finally took the meal inside at 4:00 pm, by which time it had been cooking outside for six hours. When I baked the rolls, I heated the pulled pork back up in the oven. I have to say, the meal made me feel a whole lot better about things, at least for the moment. Homemade rolls, solar cooked pulled pork, homemade coleslaw made with homemade mayonnaise, and some of Rick's refreshing kombucha. Comfort food. When we're stressed food is a gift we can give ourselves. Or in this case, what I can still give my family.

Still, if I had any Fritos or gooey ice cream . . . 

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