When I first decided to move to Miami to finish my masters, I had visions of a Mary Tyler Moore sort of life. Having married more or less around the age of ten, I’d never really had the chance to live an independent life—the chance to eat when I wanted, cook what I wanted or flit about throwing my tam in the air.
After years of cooking with other people in mind, I’d finally have the chance to eat with purposeful selfishness. I envisioned myself whipping up salads of quinoa, chick-peas and lentils. I’d try new vegetables like Romanesco, Daiken, Kohlrabi. With my cart stacked up like a contestant on a free grocery shopping spree, my virgin run to Publix showed signs of promise. Cupboards stocked and my mini-kitchen fully operational, like Mary, I was ready to take the world on with my smile (and my spatula.)
Fast forward a few months later, and I’d succumbed to the one-pot wonder. The refined salads of may imagination had become “dump everything in your fridge into a pan with some boneless chicken” and voila! Lunch and dinner for a week. Cooking was messy and with no one around to appreciate the end result except me, well—why make a mess at all? Besides I had writing to do. Wasn’t that why I was in Miami in the first place?
Then I discovered Epicure Market conveniently located below my building. I started to eat beautiful expensive salads, that were all the same—bland and too oily. Then came the Lean Cuisine phase, the Jamba Juice phase, the Turkey-Bacon Egg-White Starbucks Sandwich phase, the Nordstrom salad phase, the Nordstrom pizza phase, and the Daily Bread humus and Tabbouleh phase, only to return to the one-pot wonder phase. Sure I could throw my tam, but it turns out cooking and eating, for that matter, are social activities. Who knew?
The good news is that now I know that someday If I end up on my own, I’m destined to become a crazy old lady and there’s a certain comfort in knowing your destiny. I’ll live for weeks off a box of crackers, or make a meal out of a stale piece of toast and a bottle of Scotch. I’ll dip broken pretzels into a container of butter and eat black beans out of a can. I’ll tell people in my old lady voice, “I’m fine. Don’t you worry about me, dearie.”
When I accidentally press the wrong button on my TV, I’ll live with fuzz on my screen for months until one of my nineteen cats (okay, maybe a pack of small white dogs) finally walks over the remote hitting the proper sequence of buttons. Then I’ll sit with a bowl of undercooked white rice and watch reruns of Chopped. I’ll throw my wig up into the air and reminsce about my glory days in Miami.