Ennui In the Kitchen

This past month started out lively… well, to be honest, a tiny bit frantic. We had been travelling quite a bit the month before and were set to begin the academic year which entails lectures, receptions, dinners, entertaining, etc. During that busy schedule, we also took off for a weekend in Santorini where we had fabulous fish dinners, drank superb wines as well as tasting some of the island’s specialities – fava and tomato keftedes.

Thanksgiving dinner was spent at our American neighbours which was fun and very much appreciated. I had none of the hassle, but the flip side of that was no leftovers – no turkey sandwiches, turkey soup, turkey curry. After that, as the days ticked down to the end of the month, I felt… well, increasingly dull in the kitchen. This is partly explained by the weather turning grey, rainy and cold. It was compounded by my increased amount of solitary time spent in the library and on the computer – not writing my blog, I might add. Meals were hastily pulled together and tended to be comfort foods – things like broccoli soup, chicken pot pie, beet green and carrot risotto and the inevitable pasta dish, the sauce made with any ingredients that came to hand.

By now, I’ve given myself a stern talking to. Holiday foods are beginning to make their appearance. The clementines are piled high in the market stalls and melomakarona, Greek cinnamon Christmas cookies oozing with honey syrup and studded with chopped walnuts are in all the bakeries and sweet shops.

We also just received a new clay baking pot from a potter up north who is based in a small village near Thessaloniki. This lovely potter sources his own clay, forms these pots on a wheel (the shapes based on old Balkan pots) and then fires them in his own kiln – everything from the start to the finish. He put the pot on the public bus to travel to Athens where it was collected by a taxi driver who delivered it to our door. The way things are done here, apparently.

The new pot plus a new food obsession prompted by an article from the Aegean inflight magazine is helping me snap me out of that kitchen ennui. I’m trying to track down Greek bottarga – smoked Grey mullet fish roe – from the lagoons of Messolonghi in Western Greece. I’ve known that it was a speciality of Messolonghi (along with it association with Byron – the area, not the fish). It’s also been on the menu in restaurants where we’ve eaten. Would be great for the holidays.

Time to get out of the library, put the computer to rest and spend more time in the kitchen.

A monthly IMK (In My Kitchen) post. Check out other IMK bloggers, each of us writing about what’s been happening in our kitchens each month, hosted by Sherry @ Sherry’s Pickings. Earlier IMK posts can be found on former IMK host blogs: Liz @ Bizzy Lizzys Good Things, Maureen @ The Orgasmic Chef) and the fabulous Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial who began the IMK phenomenon. A chronological listing of my In My Kitchen blog posts can be found on a separate page, just click the link or look under the heading of Diaries in the Menu bar above.
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14 comments

    • I’ve heard stories of how university students get their laundry done by their mothers – send it back home on the bus, and the next day, the bus delivers it clean, dried and pressed. Never thought I’d have my pot delivered the same way. Will no doubt get into the holiday spirit soon enough. I can see baking in future!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. i love the look of that clay pot. yes it’s hard to get motivated in the kitchen sometimes. it was 38C here today so not much got done except a salad for dinner. looks like we are in for a long hot summer. thanks for joining in. cheers sherry

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  2. Nothing wrong in my book with the looks of your comfort food. We seem to have designated ourselves as the host house for “American Thanksgiving”. Mostly because most of our US friends work and I’m retired and love to cook. I’m looking forward to hearing and seeing more of your Greek bottarga search. I do love a good ingredient search. Oh and that pot is fantastic.

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    • Ron, that pot is fantastic. It is a smaller one than one I have back in the UK (also made by the same potter) which I used all the time for big feast-sort of meals since it was big enough to fit two legs of lamb and then some potatoes. It just fits in the oven. This one is more for a family dinner and I can see I will be using it much more. Sounds like you had a great Thanksgiving and are enjoying all those leftovers. Will report back if I find that bottarga.

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  3. Ennui is a mood I understand. I have been suffering from the same condition since returning from Bali at the end of september. I lost interest in everything, cooking, the blog, photography. I love your comfort dishes, that’s good cooking in my book.The clay pot will be a timely addition to your kitchen and what a journey it’s had across Greece to get to you. Love it. I have a similar Italian one which I use all the time for cooking beans.Good luck in your search for Bottarga.

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    • You, like ladyredspecs and myself seem to be suffering alike after a period of travel. Must be an effect of coming back to reality. I’ve also been sidetracked by academic work in the library/archive which has kept my nose to the computer. Lost track of the blog, too. But, time to come up for air. I love it when things have stories to them, and the pot certainly does.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Travels have left me listless too with the return to my not so exciting daily life. I’m however trying to get myself into the festive spirit for the sake of a super excitied 3yr old….Love the pot delivery story, an eminently sensible arrangement in my view.

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  5. That’s a great cooking pot and a lovely story about it’s delivery. You must print out the story and keep it in the pot so that it travels with the pot, wherever it goes. I have spent a considerable about of time looking at Tomato Keftedes recipes as I had never heard of them. Travel (and blogs) provide great inspiration!

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  6. Debi, the ennui bug hit me in January 2018 and I’m still suffering from it, barely able to eke out a blog post once a month (except for IMK), but the inspiration I’ve derived from that — amply provided — gives me hope for the New Year. Sometimes we just need to STOP and regroup no matter how long we’ve kept our “audiences” waiting. The delightful thing is that they’re willing to wait until “next time.” Good food and great writing are worth it — and this post qualifies as both. Blessings to you ‘n’ yours this Holiday season!

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    • Hi Kim, Thank you so much for these words. It’s okay not to blog so much, or to skip a few weeks. Sometimes you do need to STOP and regroup! Thanks for joining in the conversation. I hop you have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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