I had one of those rare moments today where I stared fate in the face and rather than going after it like a greyhound chasing a rabbit at Wonderland, I just sat there petrified and plagued by self-doubt. I did this for a few hours and then took the train home, getting off at Charles/MGH to avoid the green line. Walking down Charles Street, amid all the marathoners beaming with self-satisfaction and runners highs, I got increasingly disgusted with myself. Why hadn’t I acted? What did I have to lose? Why was I so scared?
Part of it, I think, is a whirlwind weekend that left me feeling behind. I hadn’t turned on my stove since Thursday. Two black bananas were spooning in my fruit bowl. I had nothing suitable to bring for lunch today, opting instead for a mediocre sub that I’m sure at least partly fueled my self loathing.
I rummaged around the kitchen, hoping for something quick, yet knowing that a box of mac and cheese would help my spirit about as much as watching Beaches. There was a country-type loaf in the freezer, an avocado in the fridge, and a tin of smoked oysters in the cupboard.
Long before I ever had an oyster on the half shell, I remember my grandparents munching on smoked oysters as an impromptu hors d’ourves, alongside a small bowl of salted peanuts or Cape Cod potato chips. I’d kind of forgotten about them until last week when I read about Joe Yonan’s new book on Poor Man’s Feast.
Crusty bread smeared with avocado has long been a guilty pleasure. At $2 a pop, I feel like I ought to do something slightly more glamorous with an avocado than turn it into a glorified margarine. But honestly, add a sprinkle of salt and a drizzle of the best olive oil you have, and that seemingly pedestrian snack is turned into something kind of magical. Smoked oysters would practically make it a meal, which was pretty much what I needed.
There was something comforting about opening that can. A simple crack and tug, and there they were, all cozily nestled together. I almost hated to disturb them.
When my rounds of bread were toasted I smeared them with avocado and plunked the oysters on top. Then sea salt and a pinch of smoked paprika, which I’m obsessed with at the moment. I ate them right there in the kitchen, standing at the counter in tree pose– my de facto cooking stance. The bruschetta were salty and sweet and smoky, the harsh crunch tempered by a thick layer of softness above. I might as well have been swallowing pure relief.
Maybe Mondays are a bad day to plan to confront destiny, I reasoned as I chewed. Aren’t Mondays daunting enough already? Tuesday would be a much better day.
*My apologies for the pessimo picture. These look more like turds on toast than anything else. But I swear, they’re tasty.