Thursday, January 14, 2010

Passion may be

the subject,

but the method

is reason.

{A.O. Scott on Eric Rohmer in the New York Times

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Requiem for a toaster

My parents bought me a toaster in 1992. At the time I was still at an age where my parents would buy me things, but all ready of an age where my parents would buy me such things, things I needed more than things I wanted or desperately desired. We were the kind of family that when we went to the movies didn't buy popcorn or sodas. It's not that my parents didn't want to spend the extra money, or that they were trying to save our appetites for a dinner that would follow (or - except for a few unmentionable years - were trying to protect my waistline). It's just that we didn't believe in these things. Popcorn was nice, and soda was nice, and I never lacked for these things. It's just at the movies we didn't believe in them

(Strangely, all these years later, I still don't believe in popcorn at the movies. I am so absorbed in the film that even the basic process of shoveling food into my mouth is too distracting -- although perhaps this is the time to confess that for few years I used to take pasta to the movies. I mean if you are going to eat, then why not eat really good food?)

In the 18 years that have followed, I have taken that toaster for granted. For, you see, I am not really a toast person. Toast has never been a breakfast food for me. Nor do I take toast with an omelet at lunch or brunch. And when I eat bagels , I eat them untoasted. Nonetheless, it follows my blindly and loyally wherever I go.

I have from time to time used the oven feature. But really when I use an oven I need a real oven for baking. And I don't eat much frozen food. But still sometimes the oven has come in handy.

My parents bought me the toaster because they thought I needed one. There is a pretty lengthy list of things my parents bought for me, generous as they are, and most of the items on that list proved to be pretty useful. (The one item that stands out as less used than the toaster was an electric can opener. I got rid of it years ago. Not because I don't open the occasional can, but just because the mechanical variety seems to take just about the same effort and take up less space. I still don't understand why someone would need an electric can opener. I'm not being judgmental here, or, I hope, unappreciative of a thoughtful gift. I'm just trying to understand.)

In any case, after a long gap, and for some random reasons, I bought a loaf of toasting bread the other day, popped two slices in, and depressed the button. Nothing. I was taken a back. There are few certainties in our world, but this is one of them. When you depress the toaster button, the heating wires turn red, and the two slices are on their way toast heaven.

It stood there, inert, mute, cold, lifeless. My toaster was no more.

* * *

I miss my toaster for all these reasons, except the toast. But I am gleefully, and guiltily, thrilled to recover the counter space, the one most precious ingredient in my kitchen. And I have plans for that space, such plans! But more on that some other time.

For now I would like to remember the toaster that my parents bought for me 18 years ago, and the 18 years we have lived together since then.



I had better just confess this now. I've become a toast addict.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A peek from behind the screen

{images of Fatehpur Sekri by yours truly}

If I were prone to peeking from behind screens, then I might be tempted to do so from these.

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