Dancing and Cooking

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I feel strangely compelled to share more about myself with the world.  Not really sure why but we’ll get to that in a minute.

Let’s start with the dancing and back to the Famous Franchise.  Since we are two weeks from Showcase, that evil part of my brain that hates me and wants me to fail decided to act up.  Same stuff that I’ve written about on many occasions so I won’t bore you with the details.  It was that whole mental rolodex (does anyone even use those anymore?) where my evil side was filling me with doubt.  “Make sure you keep your frame extended.”  “Is your head pulled back enough?”  “Aren’t you supposed to be looking up and to the left and not down?”  “You call that a heel lead?”  “Where’s the shaping your supposed to be working on?”  “Boy that move was awkward – bet it looked like crap.”

Kid T tried to slap me out of it in her nice way.  The good news is we actually made it through both the closed Waltz and closed Tango.  In the Waltz, we were working on the promenade and shaping but she ended up changing the way it looped to take off a couple of extraneous steps.  That was fine except it changed the alignments just a bit and so we ended up having to awkwardly bend a step around the corner.  It didn’t help that there was a newer couple doing the hustle right in the spot where we were trying to loop.  Can’t complain about that though – we all need space to dance.  I eventually got it to do what it was supposed to do.  If I really think objectively, there is only one spot that is getting me down.  I’m supposed to twinkle across the floor while picking her up and letting her rotate around me.  It always feels like I need to do more than I’m supposed to do but this is one of those steps where I need to trust her to get to where she needs to be.

The tango was much better which is strange because I tend to prefer the Waltz.  But all we were working on is exploding out of a few steps which is something the coach brought up.  It is supposed to involve slightly compressing into the knees and then using that to really push out and move.  He called it “Fire Tango” for some reason.  Guess because it has more action and looks better.  I could live without the whole knee compression thing.  Tango is freaky enough trying to stay in slightly bent knees the whole time.  My knees kind of hate Tango by the way.  But, again, if I force myself to be objective, we did get significantly more power in certain parts and it moved quite a bit more.  It made the loop consistently end up right where we started which has a nice symmetry to it.  And it was more work!  Tango doesn’t normally make me breathe too hard but this did which is probably a sign that we were doing the right thing.

Well enough about dancing for a bit.  I want to talk about food and cooking.  My wife and I both love to cook.  There was a local culinary school that used to have cooking classes and we took several and it was a lot of fun.  Sadly, they don’t do that anymore.  There are times I dream of chucking work and just going to culinary school for the heck of it.  Then I realize that I’d be on my feet way to much which my knees would hate and there’d be that whole money thing.  One expensive hobby at a time I guess.

Now, I have to differentiate between cooking and baking.  Baking is a science and it is too restrictive for me.  So no cakes or cookies for me.  So I’m just talking about main dish type things where a recipe is really just a guideline and there is room for a bit of creative flair.  It is fun to look in the spice cabinet and say “now what would work here”.  I like to add little amounts that create that “what’s in here” kind of moment.  For example, I make a butternut squash soup and I like to add a small amount of nutmeg and curry powder.  Trust me, it works.

But what I really like is chopping stuff up.  I know that sounds really weird and I can’t figure out the appeal.  Maybe something about how neat and orderly things look when they are all diced up.  I actually like to get out little bowls and put the various vegetables into separate bowls so I can add them one at time.  It is like pretending your on the food network and describing the dish.  I’m happiest when I’ve got a bunch of things to dice up.

There are multiple challenges because it is just the two of us and cooking for two is difficult.  Plus, there is the time factor.  I have some early lessons at the studio and we have an unwritten rule that we split the cooking and that we also cook one thing.  So I sometimes have to rush home for work, feed the dogs and then get started on dinner and leave enough time to eat, clean up and then get to my lesson.  Limits how much time you can spend on something.

Tonight I made a potato/leek soup.  We were at the farmer’s market on Saturday and someone had leeks and potatoes so it was perfect.  You should have seen the dice I did on those potatoes.  Seriously, it made me so happy.  They were mostly in nice perfect little cubes.  Oh the soup turned out pretty good as well.  I mean when you add heavy cream and then garnish with bacon and cheese, how can you go wrong.  The bacon and cheese also came from the farmer’s market.  I’m not a snob about buying local but I like to do it when I can.

Its the little things in life that make you happy.  For me, tonight, it was the diced potatoes.

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