Monday, January 22, 2007

In Which Sangria Fixes Everything

I had half a post written about the semester beginning, and about how I'm a big ball of nerves, and about all my anxiety, and about how I'm having to give up a lot of cooking, because I have so much work and so little time and need to train myself to focus. And then something happened.

I got drunk.

More specifically, I went out to drink with a bunch of folks from my class at Spain, a dive-ish tapas bar. I sat with folks I know and folks I don't, and we talked about department politics, city politics, babies/weddings/not having them, and the sex lives of our friends. And I drank two half-pitchers of sangria, and ate about ten pounds of patatas bravas, which are thin slices of potato (thicker than potato chips, but not by much) slathered in bottled hot sauce and are the only vegetarian tapa that ever comes out of that damn kitchen, and I walked to the subway slightly dizzy and giddy in the light of the flurries landing on my head.

I'm a lightweight. I always have been, and I actually have cultivated the talent. When I drank more regularly in college, I noticed when my tolerance increased and cut back on drinking, to keep my tolerance down. I want to get giggly on a glass of wine. I want to have my head spin easily.

And there is something in the sociality of drinking with people that sucks me in. My first drink was in a boƮte in the south of France with my host sisters, who poured me whisky and coke. My second was poured for me by a guy who, after that, became my closest friend for nine months, at which point he failed to answer my emails for a summer, at which point we were peaceful and friendly to each other for the remainder of our time at school. My first time drinking with the Boy, when he got drunk for the first time in--five years?--at a formal dance, and my mother carried the photo of us together, glassy-eyed trashed, in her purse for years. The night the Boy and two friends and I were walking home from pitchers of sangria and nachos at Viva's, and I slipped on the ice and got a hematoma in my hand but didn't care because, and this was the important part, my cigarette did not go out. Blenders of chocolate milkshakes spiked with vanilla vodka, split between the four of us in the commune, laying on the floor of the trailer at the beach, feeling like a family as we played round after round of Phase 10 and laughed, and laughed.

And tonight. Tonight was drinking with people who I want to like me. Tonight was taking half a moment off from my panic and anxiety, half a moment off from being terrified about ruining everything in my life, and drank.

And something amazing happened when I came home. I made the Wife a frozen pizza and some romain lettuce with dressing. And then I made salad. It was just baby spinach and fresh goat cheese and pomegranite-balsamic vinaigrette. It took five minutes. But it was...amazing. The dressing was just right--sweet in a way I haven't tasted before. It was simple and clear. I may not have time this semester to spend hours cooking, like I like to. But I can feed myself, and I can do it right.

Pomegranite-balsamic vinaigrette, for when everything needs to be OK
Mix equal parts pomegranate molasses, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil if, like me, you like your vinaigrette sour. If not, toy with it; the pomegranate molasses is sweet-sour and smokey in flavor. Good on any sort of salad, especially, I realized tonight, on the plainest ones.


Blogger bazu said...

I just discovered your blog and am liking it. I have to say, as a fellow grad. student, I don't know how anyone could get through graduate school without copious amounts of alcohol. (and gossip) Your evening sounds fun!

5:18 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

You know, my entire first year I didn't go out drinking with classmates very much...currently working to rectify that failing! Welcome, please come back!

12:36 AM  
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