Retail Therapy Part 564, a.k.a. A Break from Deep Thinking
Top to bottom: Aah, lovely new books! The covers were so cute I had to photograph them against my yellow wall. Dory in white wine and herbes de Provence, with a lovely bottle called Gossips (yezzz). Cumpletos recados in my kitchenette :)
Because the afternoon was overcast yet again, and because I’d been procrastinating all day, I felt an itch to go somewhere and buy something to rev up my energy. So when my friend Paolo, all the way from Scotland, told me to buy myself a book called The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery and bill him for it (thanks, Pao!), I very happily said, “Game!”
So I hopped over to Fully Booked in Greenbelt 5 where I found the book, a lovely paperback edition with a striking blue and yellow cover. I also found two other pretty looking things on the sale table: Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (about a year of eating only what’s been raised in the local neighborhood or what her family could grow), and Jennifer Haigh’s The Condition. The sum of both books: P299!
So that gave me a bit of a high. Having bought mind food, I decided to get something for my body. I left the mall’s boutique row with a basic striped sleeveless top from Warehouse, a pair of full-length leggings from Promod, and a bra from Calvin Klein.
At this point, my appetite for buying had been suitably worked up. As with most satisfying activities, the more you shop, the more you can’t stop. And the thing with having watched Julie and Julia over and over (at least seven times in the past few days) is that it had built up my literal appetite.
I entered Rustan’s with only a bunch of red tomatoes, ripe mangoes and sprigs of cilantro for a nice salsa in mind. Instead, I stumbled out of the grocery a bill that made my eyes flash and more plastic bags than I could handle. I had enough food to feed a family of five for a week, and then I remembered the reason why I had stopped shopping in Rustan's: inevitably, I would always buy more than I could chew. The bag boy had to hang them on to me. If, by some weird twist of events, I had stumbled over a bridge with those bags I would have sunk straight to the bottom of the sea.
To make myself feel better, I decided to make a nice meal for myself with all the things I had bought. A year ago, in late July, I visited Apol in Provence and tasted what ranks among the best-tasting dishes I have ever had in my entire life.
In a large pot, over an outdoor brick oven, Apol’s in-laws cooked mussels in a stew of butter, cream, white wine, olive oil, onions, garlic, rosemary and packets of herbes de Provence (I’m sure I’m missing some other key ingredients). I brought home some packets of that wonderful herbes de Provence to replicate the dish in Manila but have never gotten around to it until tonight.
Instead of mussels, I cooked three filleted Dory fish with a glass of white wine and made a bowl of the stew. The rest of the wine I drank while leafing through the first few pages of my new book, wearing my new top (cheers, Pao!)