There were times at the Nordic Food Lab when we didn’t have quite enough for staff lunch. They were the moments in between CSA pick-ups when the vegetables were running low and we needed to stretch the meal just a bit further. Eggs were always the solution. Sometimes scrambled, sometimes a frittata but mostly soft boiled. What quickly became apparent were the differences that each of us had in our vision of the perfect egg. It also became apparent how easy it was to lose track of time and dreadfully overcook that little unctuous oval. Scrambled eggs took on a rubbery consistency as small puddles of water gathered on the plate. That seductive gooey yolk slowly firmed into a sulfurous ball. What was once the answer to a problem became in itself the problem. I didn’t blame the egg, I blamed time.
Time is a seamless frenemy. Water won’t boil faster because I will it to. Bacon cures at the same rate no mater my intentions and an egg will overcook unless I am mindful of my time. Time. It continues to play the supportive actress in both my kitchen and in my life.
I have been home less than 14 days. 14 days is a seemingly minute amount of time, especially since I have been gone for a year. While 14 days is enough time to unpack a suitcase, visit with my parents, reestablish my health care, get a job, get the flu, and upload graduation pictures to facebook. It is not enough time to be home, to be present, to process what the hell just happened, to sit with my husband and talk about our dreams for the future, and to decide which Italian flavors I want to keep in my life. Time. What a bitch.
It won’t speed up, it won’t slow down. It will just tick away, forcing us to be mindful, forcing us sometimes to just be patient. As I ended a Skype call with a classmate today, she reminded me “piano Ali, piano”. Slow Ali, Slow. I can’t force the water to boil but I can grab a glass of wine, sit on my couch, pet my dog and let the egg cook. Maybe time isn’t such a bitch after all.