FakingStock

FakingStock
"The results prove nourishing anyway."

During the earliest days of summer, a man's thoughts inexorably turn toward produce. The cherries are in, dark, firm, and glorious. Small rose-blushed apricots cannot be resisted without committing one of those sins of omission that at least one of the more vengeful gods will eventually get you for. The garlic's young, the parsley root, ancient, the celery so fresh that the root needs no peeling and the greens scent everything they touch. Though The Muse and I stroll through the Grand Market on the alien side of the Just Visiting line, I finally cannot resist. That little apartment we're staying in must have something like a stock pot, mustn't it? I could conceivably buy a small amount of braising beef, a slice of that extra fine-grained pork belly fat, and a turkey carcass with which to concoct a decent stock. It would't be very much like any of the many stocks I've seen described by fine chefs, but it might work just fine for some NuthinSpecial someone like me.

I groan our way home on the tram, my shoulders bowing beneath the accumulated weight of just a little of this and a little of that.
My shopping bags overfloweth, a reassuring sign whatever the season. I'm also carrying a serious case of produce envy, for I cannot, no matter the height of whatever season back home, find there produce of this quality and abundance. I over-bought, hardly a sin in a season of such over-abundance. I'll turn most of it into a stock of sorts, I reason, so nothing should go to waste. My NuthinSpecial definition of stock might be more expansive than that employed by real cooks. Any food-like substance slow simmered, eventually amounts to stock. Picky people skim their stuff, seeking a clear, transparent result. Mine will most certainly appear murky in comparison. I can't care about that.

The stock pot I find back at the apartment hardly qualifies as a pot to piss in, but it's the pot we have. The Muse and I have been known to go out and buy a used stockpot at a Goodwill when discovering no suitable pot available, for we often find ourselves in the awkward position of having bought too much savory veg without a suitable stock pot available. This time, I'll use the one that's here, an acquiescence that should further distinguish my result from the real® McCoy. The turkey carcass, once browned off in a hot oven, hardly fits in there with all the lovely veg tops and trimmings. I shove it under anyway, figuring it will eventually, mostly fall apart. The apartment steams up. The Muse excuses herself to another less humid room. I guess that the sweat dripping from my brow will just add that much more seasoning to the stuff.

Even mature adults continue to play House. We rent a tiny apartment, then set up housekeeping for a few days, imagining ourselves worldly European epicureans while well out of sight of those who know us to be Nuthin Terribly Special back home. We do without a car, mugging as if we were greener than we are. We'll inadvertently hop on the wrong tram which will deposit us where we wanted to go but had not yet figured out how to get there. We exit said tram as if we knew what we were doing. We're faking it, of course, exactly like I fake stock, to play a decent, almost-believable game of House.

We speak in kilograms darkly and fumble unfamiliar change, and ultimately, convincingly fool nobody but ourselves, and even then, only for a little while. Playing House is a game exclusively for those engaged in the game. It never qualifies as a spectator sport. Those peeking in on the play might find it endearing, but it's serious learning for those engaged. We seize an opportunity to live an alternate life and thereby more deeply appreciate the life we have. Though NothinSpecial, it allows us the latitude to perform so unconvincingly. We know full well that we're faking it, like I FakeStock. The results prove nourishing anyway.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved










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