Just a brief Friday visit.

There is a lot going on today (well, “a lot” in pandemic terms – homework to do, errands to run, the week’s groceries to buy, etc.), and as a result I’m not feeling much of a strong throughline, unfortunately.

Still. Doesn’t mean I can’t share a few Delightful Things:

The webcomic Cat’s Cafe, in which a cuddly kitty…well, runs a cafe, where a host of adorable animal patrons come to have a little something delicious and relax, taking a break from the everyday troubles of living. The cuteness does a pretty good job of at least softening the blow when things inevitably become a bit too emotionally Real – and they will do that. Characters struggle with anxiety and low self-esteem and depression; recently the artist has lost his father, and that comes through in some ways that are…uh…yeah. I know that feel. (But don’t let that scare you away, either!)

The “Return of the Mac” pizza available at one of Toronto’s local pizza joints. This absolutely positively does not seem like it should work – it’s a pizza crust, yes, but topped with cheese, onions, “secret sauce,” meat (or Impossible Meat, recently), pickles, and lettuce – a Big Mac in pizza form. It can be a pain to get, too – that lettuce doesn’t travel well, and so you can only order this one via take-out. But. You guys. It’s delicious. No, I don’t understand it either, but give it a chance if you have the opportunity.

The blog McMansion Hell, which I hadn’t thought of in forever and that suddenly returned to mind yesterday. It may or may not be defunct (the last post was a while ago) – but even so those archives are full of delightful snark about a flavor of architecture I remember all too well from the suburbia of my childhood. (There’s also a subreddit taking up the torch, it seems – and every Thursday they take a break to do some appreciation of beautiful architecture, so we can all enjoy looking at some lovely homes none of us could ever realistically afford.)

Delightful things, February 19, 2020

Today, a food edition:

  1. The experience of “seasoning to taste” – gauging the difference before adding that sprinkle of salt or dash of citrus and after it; sensing the layers of a flavor gradually unfurling with every little adjustment.
  2. Adjunct to that: the long and gradual process of learning what seasonings DO. Learning that the presence of one flavor can enhance another, that sweetness can counter and elaborate on heat, that the vague sense of something missing in a dish is often acidity (and that a dash of apple cider vinegar can convert an already perfectly tasty goulash into a superlative one.)
  3. Layers in a laminated pastry, the ones you’ll see in a well-crafted croissant. The way the crisp edges crinkle between the teeth, little valleys embracing half-melted butter and lacings of sweet-tart jam. Knowing that this, somehow, has been rendered from a heap of flour.
  4. “Blooming” pour-over coffee, pouring hot water over ground beans to encourage them to release any gases trapped in the grounds. They expand, bubbling, releasing a wave of that rich coffee scent.
  5. Watching milk fold into coffee or strong black tea, a kind of fractal swirling that mellows into something softer and warmer. It tames acidity, affects heat retention…and, of course, it’s delicious.