Thursday, November 15, 2012

Cozy Football and Comfort Food

I never thought I would say this, but I am going to miss college football when this season is over. I am an artist and a progressive: I am not supposed to like watching a bunch of men, gladiator style, performing dangerous exhibition sports for a sea of grunting, pounding on the chest peers but I do. It’s become an almost soothing sort of ritual that harkens back to my childhood when the sounds of Saturday and Sunday sports provided a weekly monument of familiarity in an otherwise chaotic household.

Growing up, I had that kind of family that spent whole weekends during this time of year huddled in the living room. My stepfather had a special La-Z-Boy type chair that nobody else was allowed to sit in. From this perch he would command the atmosphere, gruffly barking out orders to the athletes on the television screen as the day progressed and the kitchen started to heat up with mom’s one pot casseroles that we salivated over while munching on tortilla chips and her famous white trash dip on the communal overstuffed couch. My mother would stand behind the billiards table at her ironing board taking care of the week’s laundry pile while acting as supportive cheerleader to her favorite teams during their games. From my adjacent bedroom I would type away at my typewriter keys, writing angst-ridden poems with the sports soundtrack from the other room juxtaposing wildly with my deepest thoughts coming out in courier font on pieces of blank white paper.

I left the noise for almost two decades and then rediscovered it again this season with the Cute Gardener who plans whole Saturdays around the schedules of his favorite teams. It has become a ritual for me again, only this time much more cozy as I sit on the couch all day in pajamas huddled under a blanket in the coolness of winter with an excuse to do nothing all for twelve hours other than root for the favorite teams. And at the end of the day as the games start to dwindle down to the last of the slate and hunger starts to set in, I look forward to the home-cooked meals – one pot comfort dishes cooked by my mate that have replaced the maternal chips and dips.

My favorite of late was a simple Mediterranean chicken dish made expertly tangy and creamy by the addition of Armenian olives and feta bought at a Middle Eastern market in Granada Hills that was selling whole blocks of the crumbling white cheese for about 3 bucks a pound, providing five times the amount we might pay the same price for in a store like Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s.

To make, simply sear four chicken quarters and then drain the fat.  Add half an onion sliced, twenty kalamata olives, four cups of deseeded tomato, and oregano.  Cover and simmer.  Add half cup crumbled feta and serve.

I will be sad to see this season end but like the idea of having something to look forward to again next year and an excuse to whittle away Saturdays in the dimly, lit den capped with comforting food.

No comments:

Post a Comment