Potatoes, Onions, Butter, Cheese

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This is what I make when I am home alone.

Ah, yes, that ever-so-common boo-hoo-poor-me post where you picture the blogger staving off the effects of pining over their beloved by diving into a bucket of comfort food. It’s so hard to be loved, well-fed, and widely-read, sooo haaaard. /sarcasm

(I am only the first two, thank goodness.)

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Of course I’ve got lots of things to do, like being an editor, tidying the flat, and packing for Thailand. Obviously I want my best friend to pursue his yearly project and am very proud of his achievements. He’s not doing these things at me. If I felt particularly neglected I would use my words and be very straight and blunt with him. He would listen, as a good friend should, and we’d do what we can.

But feelings are strange, wayward things, aren’t they? Although I’ve now learned to act in more productive ways in order to express and hopefully reach a mutually agreeable solution for impending feelingsplosions, I remind myself my actual weird, raw feelings are still valid. It’s a geek relationship fallacy to think that logic and control is the ideal way to conduct yourself: it’s rooted in the idea that having tidily proportionate and easily managed feelings is the ultimate state of being. In actuality, you will feel how you feel. Sometimes you will feel like a seething mass of argh and yuck. Feelings don’t make you less of a person, compromise your reason or sully your integrity.

Still, the overlap between feelings and actions is tricky to negotiate. Your hurt feelings may explain, but don’t excuse, bad behaviour. You can express your feelings in ways which aren’t damaging to anyone.

In other words, I still feel lonely and I’m going to take those messy emotions and dive into that bucket of comfort food.

Which will be smothered with cheese, because I’m going to make the best of this solitude.

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The bloke I live with doesn’t do cheese. Obviously, people don’t have food preferences or dietary needs at you. With the exception of not including a few ingredients in the food we eat together, his dislikes have no effect on my likes, and he doesn’t show any disgust or disdain towards what I put in my mouth. I’m fine with it. It’s not personal. I take about half of my meals without him anyway, so during that time I think about pleasing myself as much as possible.

Clearly I don’t rely on him to validate me and my life, and I spend much of my time cooking just for me. I’ve become better at  drawing from an inner sense of confidence and satisfaction (though, of course, the support of friends and allies is welcome).

So why, then,  do I still get this secret thrill when I eat something he doesn’t like? Arguably it’s a thrill which relies on the positioning of his dislike as stricture, and my rejection of it as victory, as overcoming. It’s silly when he’s never, implicitly or otherwise, made such a move. And yet…

Funny and sad how you can’t escape such things (such feelings!) despite being self-aware.

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Anyway, yes, sometimes I eat a pie plate full of starch and fat. It soothes and comforts. Look, this isn’t a balanced diet blog, I won’t even suggest you to eat salad with this.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have an date with Ezra Miller via Google image search. That face! Sir, I would climb you like a tree to reach it.

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POTATO, ONION, AND CHEESE BAKE
For one, very generously as a main meal.

Can also be made in a frying pan, which would be more voluptuous in flavour and texture, but I am too lazy. This is a hands-off version.

ingredients
2 – 3 medium potatoes, any type you like, washed, peeled or unpeeled as you wish.
1 medium onion, peeled
A good 2 cm slab of unsalted butter, more if liked, cut into little bits.
Salt
Pepper
Nutmeg, preferably freshly grated
Handful of grated mature cheddar cheese (or any kind you like that melts well, adding parmesan if you’d like more of a crust)

instructions
Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius/180 fan. Slice potatoes to about 2 cm thick. Do the same to the onions.

Pick a smallish baking dish (I use a 23 cm/9″ pie tin). Dot the base of the dish with a few knobs of butter, add a rough layer of potato slices, seasoning well with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add more butter. Continue like this til potatoes are used up. Finish with a few more bits of butter.

Bake potatoes for 20 minutes, turning them halfway through cooking to evenly coat each piece with butter. Nothing sadder than dry potatoes.

After 20 minutes are up, add the onion slices, breaking them up to get them soaked in the butter. Yes, good. Bake for 12 – 13 minutes.

Have you cheese ready. Open the oven and heap the cheese on top of the golden, fragrant onions and potatoes. Bake for another 2 – 5 minutes, depending on how melty/crunchy you like your cheese.

Add more nutmeg if you want. Eat in contented solitude.

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