Monday, March 22, 2010

What I ate when I was finishing off my MA thesis. Today I have been feeling sick – I think it's a touch of the old food poisoning – and I realised my repertoire of home-cooked meals is calibrated around me being well. I couldn't think what to make when I was sick.

Right now I feel vaguely like eating banana custard, but I'm unsure if the feeling in my stomach is 'fullness' or 'illness'. I probably shouldn't make custard.

In the end I made a minestrone, which ticked the 'soup' and the 'healthsome vegetables' boxes. But my housemate Simon put his own healthsome vegetables into Mi Goreng noodles for dinner tonight. He said it was the first time he had chopped something up since he moved in a month ago.

This sent me into a little reverie in which I remembered what I used to eat when working absurdly long hours at my uni office towards the end of my MA candidature. I used to like the quietness on the sixth floor at night and on weekends.

On a shelf in my room I had a bowl, a fork, a spoon, a mug deliberately chosen for its ugliness in order not to be stolen, and various tinned and packaged foods. The postgrad common room had a microwave, but here's how I used to make Mi Goreng noodles.

First I would take the bowl, the packet and the fork to the little kitchenette next to the stairwell. The light in there was a bilious yellow that felt, somehow, retro. Sometimes there would be scummy crockery and food scraps clogging up the drain. I always blamed this on members of "the goddamn History Department", or on Tal The Israeli Cocksucker, a postgrad whom I did not like. I would put the noodle cake in the bowl and fill it up with boiling water from the urn.

I would leave it soaking and do something else for perhaps five to ten minutes. Then I would use the fork to hold the noodles in the bowl while I drained the water. Then I would mix the seasoning on top of the noodles. Then I would eat them. This would be my lunch and dinner on many occasions.

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