There’s something manly about cooking stew.
On cold, rainy nights during law school, I’d buy bags of vegetables and stock from Super Fresh (which was neither super nor fresh). Hunched over the tiny sink in my hole-in-the-wall apartment, all that peeling and chopping was actually exhilarating, stress-relieving, dragging my mind out of endless books and useless assignments. A giant pot of stew would last days, and with some Tabasco sauce and good French bread, it warmed even the nastiest of souls during a tumultuous period in my life.
Here on the East Coast, we wait in silence, in the calm before the storm. The air is crisp but not too cold, the wind has picked up slightly, and rain is drizzling. Nothing out of the ordinary yet, but who knows what tonight and tomorrow will bring.
During this calm, I once again peeled and chopped. Wholesome chunks of potatoes, carrots and celery go into the pot. Butternut squash, onions and broccoli soon join. Eggplant is something new in my routine, but a pleasant addition, and baby bella mushrooms is a must. Canned corn and crushed tomatoes marry everything together. And garlic, lots and lots of garlic.
Heaps of coarsely chopped produce thrown together, simmering for hours in a bathtub of a pot. Men, including me, would almost always prefer to be gnawing on a brat off the grill or a bleeding bone-in ribeye any day of the week. But one exception could be this stew. Something about big chunks. Something about mounds of food. Something about letting the thing simmer for hours over low heat.
So I sit here “stewing” before the storm.