a repetitive meal for a manic monday

when you’re in school, it’s easy to feel like mondays are the worst thing invented, period. worse than tests and homework; worse than rainy days, bad cartoons, long car rides, furniture shopping, or waiting in the car while mom runs her errands. and yet nothing quite dwarfs that nascent sense of hatred like the dawning of a monday when it means getting up and going to work.

ugh, work.
give me a 7.26 first period bell any day.

it is at this point that a small voice inside my head thinks that life shouldn’t be this way; one should never, it insists, actually dread having to get out of bed in the morning. unfortunately, that little voice isn’t responsible for paying the rent, buying groceries or saving up for that really awesome jacket i saw in an east hampton shop last weekend. and so, every monday, we wake up, we shower, we get dressed, we close the door behind us, we realize we forgot our keys and open the door again--slowly, but slowly, we begin the trek for our daily bread.

about the only thing that gets me through these toils is thinking, in fact, about my daily bread. i eagerly anticipate lunch. i spend my long walk home contemplating dinner and, with a burst of workaday-repressed energy, gleefully list all of the tasks i will accomplish when i finally cross my own threshold. tonight was one of those nights, the list long. two stops on the way home. bags to unload. process film. clean out fridge. drool over the new nigel slater cookbook i special-ordered from england. salvage the leftover croissants and use up the extra heavy cream in a pain au chocolat pudding. use the blueberries before they ferment--blueberry-thyme cakes. and then dinner.

it’s one of those nights where i push the greasy french fries and sinfully, deceptively “healty” wrap i consumed at lunch, the polenta i had over the weekend, and the polenta i baked last wednesday to heat up a nearly identical meal: baked polenta, spinach, fresh mozzarella, proscuitto. it’s nearly identical to the concoction i pulled out of my oven last wednesday, only last wednesday i ate a salad and this monday i drizzle fresh pasta sauce and two fried eggs on top of the polenta before pushing the tines of my fork through the parmesan-sprinkled crust. there are days when you need to have a meal that can sit on its own in the oven for a few minutes while you rinse the fixer out of your bathtub, a meal that you know will deliver satisfaction, not epiphany. usually, we call these days “mondays.”

pain-au-chocolat pudding

4 stale chocolate croissants
3 eggs
2 cups milk
2 cups cream
3 tablespoons sugar
slug of vanilla
drizzle of leftover raspberry extract

tear the croissants and lay them in a baking pan (i used a 9x9x2 square). whisk the eggs and sugar in a bowl while the milk/cream mixture heats up on the stove. temper the egg mixture with some of the hot cream and mix it all together. add the extracts. bake 45 minutes at 350. faint from the unbelievable aromas wafting out of the oven as you pull out the pudding.

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