Locked in the tower, again

Today begins my customary semester-end sequestration. With the exception of happy hour drinks tomorrow to celebrate with folks from the program who are graduating, I’m back in lock down mode. It will last through Monday night when final edits are finished for the paper I’ve been writing. The working title is currentlyBottle versus tap: a historical look at preferences for mineral and spring waters. I’m interested in taste preference related to mineral waters from around the world. I argue that a so-called bottle versus tap debate has been going on long before the current debate recognizes. I believe taste plays are role in water choice. Conversely, I think this preference is either overlooked or rejected. Most folks discuss points related to safe water supply and ecology. A colleague challengedDon’t fall into that trap; water doesn’t have taste.

As it turns out, there’s quite a lot of references to historical figures who preferred a particular mineral water. Granted, for several examples, I have yet to find primary and academic-worthy citations. But I believe I found enough to make my case. To name a few, from either category, Leonardo da Vinci drank Pellegrino; Hannibal and Julius Cesar drank from the original Perrier springs and were responsible for building its early infrastructure; Louis Pasteur ordered Badoit 50 bottles at a time; and George Washington made a bid to purchase Saratoga Springs. And then, yours truly prefers Pellegrino and Badoit when I’m being fancy, seltzer when I’m noteveryday. Pour de l’eau sans gas, je préfère Fiji, Vulvic, and Poland Springs. Je déteste Evian. Too soapy.

Last week I gave a six minute presentation during class on the topic. Thankfully, I wasn’t mortified afterwards. It went quite well actually. After giving some presentations I have been less than thrilled about during grad school, this brought relief, a deep exhale, and a bout of the proud giddies. I’m hoping this marks a lifting of dark academic clouds. During a reception following a James Beard panel at Fales, also last week, one of my professors commentedYou know you’re making progress in graduate school when you’re not embarrassed by your papers. I’d say this rides the same commuter rail.

Returning to day one of sequestration..

I admit. I’ve been mostly worthless. Yesterday’s ten hour day knocked me on my derrière. I think after a couple days of it, I’ll acclimate. During the heyday of www bubbles, 14 to 17 hour days were the norm for a stretch. They didn’t stop me from a healthy social life and making advances up rungs of the corporate ladder. But for now, until then, ufa.

I’m awake. Tapping here is warming my fingers to the keys. I’ll likely be up until 3. That’s EST. The reality is, despite setting clocks at home to PST, I won’t touchdown in the PST until next Wednesday. Just in time for lunch. I’ll post about it that night. I’ve been itching to tap something I hadn’t gathered enough material for when I was there in January. I’m excited about it, but will stay focused on water water everywhere for the days ahead.

In typical grad student form, I’m heading to the kitchen to procrastinate, I mean to make a salad. The late night family meal threw my appetite for a loop. The salad was way too salty for my sub-threshold sensitivity. And animal protein that late usually disturbs my sleep. It did. In one of the dreams, I met a friend’s dad. Instead of being a darkish, chubbyish guy, about Monsieur’s age, with an accent, he was very white, with buttery-sand blond hair, like a fictive Wild Bill Hickok type. He was very American, in a Wild West sort of way. Minus the laconic speech. More gregarious. A dream in unlikelinesses.

Salad turned into breakfast for dinner. I made another omelette. I’ll be chasing wild dreams for another night.

Pre-summer spring-end procrastinating grad student’s omelette
Feeds one procrastinating grad student

Two eggs* beaten
Dollops of Fairway fresh ricotta
Dollops of Fairway fresh homestyle pesto
Good butter
Crushed red pepper flakes

Heat good butter and olio in favourite pan for making omelettes. Palm the handle to swirl melted butter and olio around entire bottom and sides. Pour in beaten eggs and turn the heat down to medium-low, or lower. Patience is key with omelettes. Palm the handle again, gently, to swirl eggs around the bottom of pan. This is a thin omelette, so don’t let the eggs spread too thin and crawl up the sides of the pan. Once the bottom just seals, use a fork to flick bits from spooned dollops of ricotta and pesto down the center of the omelette. Fold each side of the omelette in on the center. The omelette should be not quite three inches wide. Press gently, then turn over to let eggs set on both sides. Cut in four even-ish pieces. Serve with your favourite crackers or break of bread.

I’ll post the picture soon. In the meantime, this is what I share with you and you and you..

Bon appétit..

*To save my tapping fingers, all eggs listed in my recipes are always happy brown eggs from chickens who are not fed hormones or sub-therapeutic antibiotics; they are generally organic. If certain MIT scientists prefer conventional eggs and ecologically irresponsible agricultural practices, then I sayshove it. The debate is over. You are wrong and sorely misguided.

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