follow tali on ...

the everyman memoirs

The official blog of author Tali Nay.
FEB
19

Catching Up

I didn't realize an entire month had gone by since my last post, but before we discuss anything else, we simply must discuss this chicken. Er, this not chicken. As a vegetarian, I've been thrilled with all the fake meats that have become so prevalent (and dare I say...popular?), but chicken is notably harder to imitate than ground beef. That said, I was pretty excited about KFC getting in the Beyond Meat game. Admittedly, I was a teensy bit less excited after eating it, only because I guess I had hoped somehow that the texture would be more chicken-like, but coated in that delicious coating and dipped in a tangy sauce, it's another solid non-meat option when opting for fast food. (Word to the wise, 6 of these "nuggets" are MUCH more filling than 6 standard chicken nuggets. And in more wise words, Quorn has my favorite meatless nuggets. Try them if you haven't.)

What a month it's been. From fake meats to making my first-ever lasagna (with, you guessed it, Beyond Meat!), there have been two work trips (including a complimentary upgrade to a $1900 per night villa the likes of which I will never find myself in ever again), one family trip, a new at-home work station, a private showing of a record-breaking $1 Million dollar pearl, multiple meet-ups with dear friends from my hometown, a new kitchen table (it only took two of us an hour and a half to put it together), my first runs both on a treadmill and in sub-30-degree temperatures, a probably related new running injury, and, naturally, as much Olympics viewing as I've been able to fit in.

All this said, I've done NO WRITING over this same time period. I've got it on my list for this blessed long weekend, and I'm looking forward to getting back into it. It's always a bit hard when a new book comes out to let the launch mode you've been so focused on go and to move back into writing mode. Especially when you're starting a new project, it can take a while for things to start cranking. But just from the stray hours here and there while preparing for the launch of Yuppie where I did manage to buckle down and write something, I'm already almost 20% done with what MIGHT end up being my next book. So I'm excited to see where this new little manuscript baby might take me. I'm equally excited to see how much progress they've made on fake chicken by the time it's done.

AUG
04

When you want a Mint Julep

It wasn't just that, though. It's not that I even wanted a mint julep. I wanted a Disneyland mint julep--the super sweet, non-alcoholic beverage purchased in New Orleans Square and accompanied by a bag of warm beignets. One could argue that the mint julep really had nothing to do with it, that really I just wanted to go to Disneyland. Or, more to the point, I want a world in which we can go to Disneyland, and anytime we want. It's an escape that I count on regularly, and I know it's a first world problem, but I miss it.

I've actually attempted multiple copycat Disneyland treat recipes while in quarantine, and what they all have in common, including the mint juleps, is that they taste nothing like the real thing. This could, of course, just be a product of my kitchen skills (when the BF recently told me a meal I had cooked was in his top 5 of things that I make and I asked him what else is on the list, he couldn't think of anything), it's probably because nothing short of being there is going to taste at all like the real thing. And there are so many real things, beyond just Disneyland, that I miss terribly. 

I do feel the need to point out that all the mint used to make my mint juleps was grown from my very own herb garden, something I doubt I would have attempted outside of quarantine. And I feared my gardening skills were akin to my kitchen skills when my first attempt yielded nothing but a single tiny sprig of cilantro--a sprig that was eaten by a bird just when it had begun to look promising. My second attempt has flourished, and I'm taking a rather unusual amount of pride in harvesting my own basil to make homemade pesto (which, yes, is actually something I have now done) and snipping cilantro to put in my soups. 

I also used quarantine to start running for the first time in my life. As in I have never been a runner. Ever. It looks awful to me and always has, yet I'm such a sucker for the idea of working toward and finishing a race. As surely the only person on earth who cried at the end of Brittany Runs a Marathon, I figured it was worth a shot. (Running, that is.) And although every run confirms to me that it doesn't just look awful, it IS awful, there is satisfaction in doing something that is hard, something that is new, and something that can be improved upon over time. I was surprised in the progress I made in just 6 weeks, and even more surprised still that 6 weeks is all it took to develop a debilitating case of pes anserine tendonitis. So it may take another 6 weeks before I can so much as take a walk, but what, really, could I have done? Besides maybe learn that I am incredibly over-pronated and gotten the appropriate amount of stability before beginning a running regimen. But that's neither here nor there.

In short, I'm finding small joys in new areas, and on most days, that feels like a win. I've also been savoring the experience of finishing my new manuscript. When last I wrote, I claimed I was really going to slow down, so as to more effectively savor the writing process. Right. I totally finished it. More on that later. For now, it's time to water the herbs and ice my knee. Just another day in quarantine.