What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance. ~Jane Austen
Despite the ongoing irritability, the near-constant sweat mustache I'm sporting, the lethargy and the raging cabin fever I'm getting from not being able to go on walks with my dog, I actually don't hate heat waves as much as I should. Because they remind me of that time, many, many years ago (actually only 7 years) when I went backpacking through the south of France and up to Paris with my best friend. It was during one of the hottest summers ever recorded in Europe, particularly in France. My mother, a world traveller herself, afflicted with lifelong wanderlust, had wanted me to get away and see some of the world, so she paid for my whole trip.
We stayed at hostels housed in rundown villas, walked for miles with our cumbersome knapsacks in well-worn flip flops and drank rosé on the beach every day. We ate Salade Niçoise and fresh fruit, paninis and chocolate with roasted hazelnuts and all kinds of local cheeses. We even sunbathed in scandalous near-nudity, and did very little that could be classified as cultural or educational. I'd only really learned several new French phrases over the course of that summer, one of them being "I'd like to buy a packet of Lucky Strikes". I was 25 years old, tanned, fit and making terrible decisions about the men I chose to be seduced by; I didn't think about things like sunstroke, dehydration or carcinogenic melanomas. I was too preoccupied trying to be the French version of myself.
But being sweaty in Europe seems inherently more sexy than it is at home in downtown Toronto. It is not natural or sexy when gnats adhere themselves to my damp body as I'm riding my bike and die their undignified little deaths by drowning in my perspiration. Nor is it earthily attractive having my hair plastered hotly and wetly to my head within ten minutes of being outdoors.
So today, I felt like cooking but I didn't feel like turning on a single kitchen appliance. I took a pizza dough I had made, using this recipe and frozen a month or two ago and defrosted it on the kitchen counter. I decided I'd roast some tomatoes on the barbeque, wilt a bit of Swiss chard and add some barbequed sausage and goat cheese to my dough for a grilled pizza dinner. Husband came home, took off his shirt and started drinking refreshingly cold beers while watching Germany and Spain duke it out on the soccer field. I stared dreamily at the frosty glasses filled with Asian Sling cocktails on the cover of the newest issue of Food and Drink he'd gotten for me at the liquor store and got to work slicing some tomatoes;
And washing some Swiss chard;
Then I cooked them with the sausages on the grill and assembled the pizza, which took very little time to cook. It was gluttonously heaped with toppings. This was a full assault of dominant flavours. This was not a shrinking violet pizza. This was an aggressive, salty, juicy pie. Oh, and my brilliant plan to barbeque instead of heating up the kitchen? Well, I forgot about one important fact - that I'd have to be outside in a heatwave with a 500 degree heat source. Fark.
It was worth it though. I took my dinner to the cool bedroom and started watching a movie. A little bit later, Husband came in, furious and full of swears, and hugged me tightly. He told me he'd read the resulting comments of this blog I'd had a bit of a skirmish with a few days ago, and he couldn't believe how mean they were to me. Of course, I had to go and read them for myself.
I couldn't believe that my one little comment caused such a defensive reaction. It was even addressed in the newest post! Oh, there were some nasty things said about me and my blog. Here's the thing though; I don't expect to be everyone's cup of tea and it's okay if you don't like what I do here. But grow up. Seriously. We're not in high school anymore. And there's enough cruelty in the world without adding to it.
Let's move on, shall we?