Florence Fabricant's Asian Seafood Risotto
Sam Sifton's Sesame Noodles

Dinner Frustrations


It was all meant to end a little differently. Without that floppy, pallid slice of pizza, if you're wondering. After all, I had plans. Plans to cook, of course. Things like Chinese peanut noodles or a spring vegetable soup. I'd be looking forward to making them for days. But there was that pesky rain at lunch that prevented me from going grocery shopping, and then the after-work event that wasn't pesky in the least, on the contrary, it was totally great, but it meant my visit to Whole Foods wouldn't happen until after 9 pm. And then it'd have to be with aching feet, hands jittery with hunger and a small dose of impatience that only got worse after I realized that the four simple things on my list were simply not to be found.

No way, no how.

Feeling intrepid (bedraggled, but intrepid), I made a valiant attempt at another grocery store. Wouldn't it just serve the Whole Foods colossus right, I fumed as I clickety-clacked my way across 7th Avenue, if the little, local chain had all the things I needed for dinner? And a speedy dinner it would be, because the jitters were only getting worse and I was starting to talk to myself, which is never a good sign.

But the joke was on me. Even though I stood stubbornly in the aisle at Garden of Eden and willed the bottle of hot sauce I was searching for and the fresh egg noodles that were nowhere to be found to simply appear, it seemed they had other plans.

What could I do?

Not much, besides collect my indignant, trembly self (it goes downhill by the second when it's that far gone, my hypoglycemia. I'm just happy Ben wasn't around when it was happening - it's always worse when there are loved ones present to snap at in your hunger-addled state of mind), walk down the misty avenue, and ponder my options.

I could fix myself a bowl of cereal, but cereal for dinner is really only appealing when I'm in the midst of heartbreak and food is but a distraction. (That's when my jeans fit infuriatingly well. Later, when I'm happy again and my jeans are always just a little too tight, I find myself wondering about the strange ways of a universe that have me wishing, just for a split nanosecond, for a teeny tiny dose of that heartbreak again so that I can have nothing but cereal for dinner and always, always look good in jeans. And then I realize what a fool I am for not finishing the plate of pasta in front of me. With bread. To mop up the sauce. And a piece of cheese after that. And isn't there something sweet in the house that needs to be finished? Yes, I thought so. Hand it over.)

Instead, I bought myself a slice of pizza and brought it home, where, along with two cleaned radishes and a glass of milk, it would have to do as dinner. And it was okay, actually. That slice of pizza wasn't bad, especially with the late-night mist falling and the sounds of the city outside my window. There are worse things, I told myself, as I chewed my slice quietly at the table and felt my jitters subside.

After all, there's always tomorrow. When I'd better find those damn egg noodles, Or Else.