Thursday, February 26, 2009

And Now We Really Really Really Need a Vacation

Why oh why are fresh spices sold by the pound? Or so it seems. Cilantro is sold in batches so large I could stuff a pillow with it. Basil, thyme, sage, all of them are bundled in huge portions suitable for using to cook on cruise ships. I am making Chicken Soup for the Sicklies’ Souls (more on this in a minute) and I wanted to add fresh rosemary, which meant I had to buy a million sprigs all tied together for some ridiculous NYC price. All I needed was a pinch. Inevitably most of it will go bad before I get to use it. Such a waste. The glut of fresh spices brings out some not so desirable consequences: Either I become an overspicer, putting in twelve times the recommended portion into the recipe, usually to not-so-pleasant results, or I become cavalier, using just the two best, greenest, prettiest leaves from each basil frond and throwing the rest away.

As long as I am being honest, this spice problem brings out the thief in me. I can admit that on an occasion or two I have swiped a couple sprigs of basil and stuffed them into the lettuce bag. I know, wrong, but when a recipe calls for one or two leaves, it just seems wasteful to buy an entire bag for five dollars. So if you were the one person who needed a pound of basil and found your bag a half of a half of a half of a half of an ounce short, I apologize.

What I need is an herb garden in a backyard. Or one of those windowsill gardens, at least. But I digress, as usual.

The stomach virus has visited our home, for the first time ever. I can’t believe that we have escaped illness for 22 months. What a roll. We have had little things here and there, like fevers for a day or two. But nothing like this.

It started with Avery, who threw up in the middle of the night in her crib. I felt terrible that she had to go through that alone. We cleaned her up and she slept with us for the rest of the night. She only threw up that once, but she has a fever and diaper rash and diarrhea, never a good combo. It makes her adorable cuddly.

Madeline was completely fine until last night when, out of the blue, she just stopped playing and proceeded to throw up the entire contents of her stomach. Madeline is the good eater, so by “entire contents” I mean blueberries, grapes, oatmeal, apple, a banana, pasta, peas, carrots, applesauce, more pasta and not one but two popsicles, which I bought for Avery, thinking she might need an incentive to eat. She threw up ten times (or so) over the next few hours. But today, she is back to her old (young) self and is acting like nothing happened.

Nicole stayed home from work, feeling under the weather herself. So far, she is ok, and so far, so I am. But I [we] sit hear in fear of being the next victim[s]. I reasoned that Nicole and I should binge, eating entire cakes and pies and bags of gummi bears, since it is most likely going to come up anyway. But Nicole refused to join in the reindeer games, and I felt silly doing it alone. And it is hard to indulge in raspberry Napoleans or icebox cake when everyone around you is snacking sadly on Saltines. I still say we missed our chance at no-consequences eating.

And I am really disappointed because it is supposed to be in the 50s and I was going to take the girls out for along walk and to play in the park. Instead I am sitting on the couch in my pajamas and making soup for three people who are having a hard time keeping food down.

Pictured above, my patients.


K J and the kids said...

I see your 24hr flu and raise you pink eye and croup. :)

I'm so sorry your house is sick.
I hope everyone feels better soon.

tessa said...

about the spices, do you ever tie the bunch upside down in a paper bag and let it dry?
and about the sick, so sorry.

Puk said...

You can successfully freeze those spices before they wilt.

suz said...

I will second the drying thing, rosemary and basil in particular dry pretty easily.

Denise said...

Sorry about the kids and Nicole being sick. Nicole looks like she lost weight.

bleu said...

Drying is an option but it can seriously lower the pungency. With rosemary you can freeze it well, also bay leaves. Basil you can make pesto and freeze and you can chop it and freeze it plain too but not with great results.

ann (fchen) said...

cilantro makes great pesto as well .. google cilantro pesto detox & you will get the recipe (it's excellent for removing heavy metals from one's system).
hope everyone is on the mend.

calliope said...

you should put a note up in your building for a spice swap or something. Hell I bet people would pay you to take their spices and then bring them soup! Side business to get you on the rosie cruise...

So sorry that your tribe is under the weather. I hope everyone bounces back ASAP.


Anonymous said...

there's some great suggestions about the herbs/spices here. i just came to say i'm with you on the guilt-free bingeing. that would have been my logic too.

also, i've been grateful too that we have gone 21+ months without serious illness and i am dreading the first middle-of-the-night vomit-in-bed experience.

Jess said...

Layne is on her 8th day of diarrhea and vomiting. It is so hard to watch and keep them hydrated. Apparently, Rotavirus can last up to 2 wks...oh Dear God, please help!!