Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Air Travel Has It's Advantages, However . . .

This KLM plane is less than satisfying. I don't mind long flights when I have all the accoutrements that make it bearable. I can't tell you what type of plane carries my favorite item but I can tell you that if I board and see that the back of the seat in front of me includes a tv screen of my very own where I can watch any number of movies at my discretion or play games ... well then, I'm a happy flyer.

Both planes -- the one to Amsterdam and the one to Kilamanjaro -- were sans the personal screens. I got to watch one several feet above the row in front of me and was "entertained" with The Nannyt Diaries, Ratatoulle and bad TV programs (really, does anyone care that Malcolm was every in the Middle) and then a Jackie Chan romp and that fantasy thing about a star becoming human. Riveting, I tell you, just riveting.

My Mac only has backgammon and my opponent is programmed to offer up smartass comments when I lose which is often. So I took to writing instead of continuing humliation.

Writing has been on the back burner of later. I'm not uninterested in it but he temporary nature of my living arrangements may be affecting me more than I realized. Without roots, I don't feel settled enough to write. Structure, it seems, is as important to my motivation for a continuing conversation with my keyboard as it is to a good paragraph.

But speaking of burners, I have been enjoying a tad bit more cooking of late. And creating int he kitchen often gives me similar satisfaction as creating at a desk. When I pull off an interview and then piece together the best quotes with a lead that truly grabs attention and summarizes what I'm about to tell folks, it's rather lovely. As is piecing together a delicious meal with what I have on hand in the fridge. The other night I had a 20 minute feast prepared and it was a healthy presentation for me and my current host, Roger. Sauteed peppers and onions in a white wine reduction over baked fish and bismati was more than satisfying. At the risk of points off for bad puns -- our healthy meal was icing on the cake!

I like the idea of cooking with ingredients I can feel good about. I've certainly pulled my fair share of 9X13 casseroles ladened with cream of something and cheese products out of my oven but when I turn it up a notch and go fresh, I'm proud.

The plan is to take a class when I return from my travels. While I don't think the world needs another cookbook or magazine article about the joy of cooking, I do plan on capturing a few thoughts and new ideas along the way in Tanzania so who knows? Africa may hold a few culinary surprises worth writing about as well. We shall see.

What I see now is the need to close down the computer to take part in the only other distraction this plane offers -- another meal. While it's wrapped in plastic wrap and all of its various sponsors are duly noted on the packaging they haven't been too bad. At least not nearly as bad as the tv!

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