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Once again I was so touched by the outreach from so many of you after my last blurb. I appreciate your words of support on that meatless journey of ours, as well as condolences and sympathy for my misery. Thank you all!

As I’m typing these words, I am also engaged in the process of sipping a barely-tolerable non-alcoholic beer (How the hell has that landed in our refrigerator?), the multi-tasker that I am. If you must know, beer, beside calories from carbs, also contains–are you ready for this??–protein!, vitamin B6, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, folate, and a roster of other micro-elements. Seems like a much better option than a can of soda, don’t you think?

Moreover, beer made a brilliant match with our dinner last night. The food was packed with both–flavor and protein. Come to think of it, if I don’t look like the pre-governor Arnold at the end of this month, I am going to pack my toys and leave this stupid … protein club. The food was something else though.

Last night on the menu there was a POACHED EGG OVER MASHED RUTABAGA & CELERY ROOT, WITH BROCCOLINI AND EDAMAME SAUTÉED WITH GARLIC ON THE SIDE. Inhale. Exhale. Now breathe as if your life depended on it.

It seems a lot of people are scared of poaching eggs. Turns out the devil is not as scary as they paint him to be. Yes, you can quote me on that. It’s all about the technique. Boil water in a small saucepan and then add salt and 1-2 tsp of vinegar (e.g. white wine, rice, apple sider). Break an egg into a small bowl or a cup, spin the water in the saucepan with a fork or spoon (what-have-you) and gently slide the whole egg into the boiling liquid. Vinegar helps coagulate the egg white, and the whirlwind from the spin helps keep the whole protein (yup, there it is again!) together. Turn off the heat, cover the a lid and leave for 3 minutes precisely. Feel free to set your alarm clock as you have no idea how fast three minutes race by when one’s plating the dinner. When the alarm goes off, using a slotted spoon scoop the poached egg out, let the excess water escape through the gaps, and serve as desired.

After din-din, our tummies were full, all cravings went to hell, and then we though gratefully about the troops stationed in the Middle East. We thought about the veterans who served their country the best they could, while now many of them are homeless and roam the streets of Los Angeles, or of your city. Let’s think of them not only on the Memorial Day. Let’s share a meal. Let’s not throw away food knowing there’s always somebody out there going to sleep hungry. And let’s all have a sunny and a very good day!

My balls are shrinking. Age, like cold water, morphs my GUTS into small and shivering little nuts.

I was an adventurous and stupidly brave kid who would climb trees and roofs of garages with my older brother’s friends, despite an ever-growing collection of bruises and boo-boos all over my limbs. I was the one whose back all the girly girls would use for shelter hiding from the boys who wanted to pinch their arms and pull their plaits when we were all in second grade. I was the one to stand up to a teacher when the whole class felt mistreated and no one would rise to speak for themselves. I was also the one to scratch my Russian teacher’s car (she was an old and grumpy Pole who taught Russian) with my house keys at the age of 11 when the woman called me a STINKY BUM in front of my entire class for not having memorized new vocabulary SHE HAD NEVER TOLD US TO!

No, I’m not so proud of the latter. At least now I’ll know what to teach my kids NOT to do, specifically. Scratching your Russian teacher’s car with your keys will lead to everlasting shame and will potentially ruin your only chance to enter your own house. At least until parents come home. I can always prevent this from happening by NOT enrolling my kid in Russian classes. Instead, let’s focus on mastering your mama’s native tongue my child  – Polish.

Where was I? Oh, yes, the FEAR. The fear that has emerged out of a thick fog as I entered my thirties. Flying has never made me feel like being on top of the world. There used to be a thrill associated with that activity, but frankly, when younger I would get excited just as much when riding a shopping cart across a super market. Ok, that still is a source of a massive glee. In order to fly, however, without breaking into a showering sweat I need a sedative.

Last weekend, when we were flying to San Francisco, one shot of Patron helped me loosen up enough to cheerfully enter the tunnel leading up to the plane. Right at the door of the machine there were standing two police officers and chatting with an older couple. Apparently they were escorting a passenger who got warped in a loop of time and was not sure where he was anymore. However, as I walked up to the group, all I heard was:

HE WAS IN TOKYO TWO DAYS AGO, THEN HE WAS ON TWO OTHER FLIGHTS SINCE AND NOW SUFFERES FROM INSOMNIA. HE HASN’T SLEPT IN THREE DAYS AND IS AWFULLY CONFUSED.

I looked at the police officer TERRIFIED and asked with crawling panic in my chest:

I HOPE YOU’RE NOT TALKING ABOUT OUR PILOT!

An explosive of laughter tore the air around and strangely enough that sound instantly comforted my shaken insides, a loud sigh escaped my wide-open mouth.

After a wonderful and unintentionally romantic weekend in Napa we found ourselves at the airport all over again. Our flight was delayed two hours due to the weather. The only way I knew how to keep my composure was to hit a bar next to our gate and sip on a perfectly chilled Blue Moon with a slice of an orange tucked on the rim of the glass, while I read through Michael Pollan’s food rules he had recently put into a book by the same title. Thirty-two ounces of the golden nectar later I was perfectly joyful and frankly could not stop laughing, for any reason and at anything. I was ready to board.

Before I knew it, Tuesday rolled in and we quietly dispersed back to our offices. Since lunch wasn’t provided at my work that day, as all the big shots (a.k.a. producers) were absent, I drove back home to let Cosmo out and had about fifteen minutes to feed myself. I opened the fridge and heard the wheels turning in my head. It only took seconds and I had the plan.

Two slices of bread with a thin layer of butter, a few slices of Fontina and a tomato went into a toaster oven. Two eggs were cracked, one after another, yolks separated, and then dropped gently onto a hot skilled greased with butter and olive oil. I seasoned the eggs with chili powder, sea salt, black pepper, and let them set. As soon as the bread was ready, I slid one SUNNY-SIDE-UP on top of each toast, garnished it with a fresh basil leaf and a few slices of fresh avocado. A handful of baby carrots completed that landscape art on my plate.

The bread with melted cheese and toasted tomato was embedded within the frames of the perfectly crunchy crust. I broke the egg yolk with the tip of my knife and let it ooze all over that open sandwich like a warm mist on my face during a facial treatment.

Oh, the delectable bliss.

Fifteen minutes on the dot. Prepared and consumed. Done. Haul my arse back to work.

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