Tuesday, July 10, 2012
How to Spend an Afternoon Avoiding Napping (With Bonus Lo Mein)
1. Come home from work very, very tired, a little after 4 p.m. You've barely slept the last two nights because you were speeding through Mike Carey's awesome Lucifer comics and then some random books you loved in fifth grade. Wish you could take a nap, but know that this will extinguish any hope of actually sleeping tonight.
2. Realize you're very, very hungry. Of course you are--you stayed up until 5 a.m. and had to be at your internship by 9, so you didn't get up until 8:23 when some telemarketer called you. Feel grateful to the telemarketer because you'd already slept through both your alarms, and proud of yourself because you managed to wash your hair and still get to the internship on time. But you didn't eat breakfast. Actually, you never eat breakfast.
3. Unfortunately pride in your clean hair doesn't negate hunger. You ran straight from internship to work, so you didn't have time for lunch either. But now you're done for the day, so you can eat! A coworker mentioned Chinese food on the way out. Spend forty minutes scrolling through Chinese delivery menus online. Actually start an order for pork buns and the fried tofu dish you love from that one place in Cleveland but that's never all that good anywhere else. Get all the way to typing in your card number and then realize that by the time the food gets there you'll have lost interest in it.
4. Decide to make Chinese food yourself. Or something like it. You bought some lo mein noodles last time you were at the big grocery store. And there's a bunch of broccoli in your fridge that was going to be soup until the world decided a week or so averaging 96ºF was a reasonable way to kick off July.
5. Drain a block of tofu, wrap it up, and put it on a plate. Stack on top of it: one glass baking pan, one very small cast iron skillet, two cook books (Andrew Swallow's Mixt and the anniversary edition of Silver Palate) and two graphic novels (Habibi and American Born Chinese), because they're on top of the stack next to the kitchen counter (it's a tiny studio apartment, these things happen). Boil the lo mein noodles. Immediately notice that there are way more than you expected.
6. Think vaguely about buying some more vegetables. Realize that the little, overpriced grocery store around the corner is actually open, since for once you didn't get out of work at 9 p.m. Dump the last of your sugar into a pot with some water and make simple syrup, because you're out of it and now you can actually buy regular white sugar, which the (much nicer) co-op with better hours doesn't carry. Cover the syrup and go to the grocery store. Purchase a bottle of white vinegar, honey in a bear shape, 5 pounds of sugar, and a bottle of seltzer so you can make sangria (what did you think the syrup was for?). Ignore the vegetables.
7. Return home. Fry the tofu, which somehow bucked all the books off the pile and onto the kitchen floor while you were gone. Chop every vegetable you possess. Swear at the onion and nearly take your eye out wiping away tears without putting down the knife. Put the tofu on a plate, drain out most of the oil, stir-fry the vegetables. Dump in rice wine and soy sauce and some other things. Do the thing where you put some water on some cornstarch and add it so you can call what's in your pan "sauce." Boil it, because simmering is for patient people. Add the noodles. Add sriracha, and some black sesame seeds, because they go on everything.
8. Realize you've just spent three hours obtaining dinner, even though you were hungry enough you were worried about fainting. At least you didn't take a nap. Write a blog post about it because you're too tired to figure out a recipe for the lo mein and just tired enough to think the whole thing was funny.