Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A dream job

Note that I say "a" and not "the."

I live in what is, most of the year, an adorable and enviable apartment. Hardwood floors, a fireplace, a tub, black and white tile in the kitchen, crystal doorknobs, with plenty of windows, lots of light, and even a small yard and garden.

But it has single-paned windows, and not especially wonderful insulation, and in the winter, especially when the temperature range is 25-40F, it is a singularly unpleasant place to be, and one that holds heat badly.

I was whimpering about this on FB, when my friend J., whose husband was traveling overseas for a week, invited me to come and stay with her in her lovely, warm, insulated house. I hesitated just a tiny bit, though really I could have kissed her. Repeatedly. Being cold is miserable, and I am sensitive to it, even when I'm wrapping myself in microfibers and fleece and down blankets. I find it challenging to type and read if I restrict my mobility too much, and I don't love the utility bills that accompany the warmth of my heaters.

"You don't mind if I cook, do you? Because I have a 5 pound squash I need to do something with...."

No, she didn't mind (though I shouldn't feel obligated), and in fact, she loves squash, while her husband doesn't so much. Brilliant!

Last night I made squash pancetta risotto; tonight I took the rest of the squash and turned it into an apple-squash soup, and served it up with kale crisps and an eggplant-tomato tartare. I had to reassure J. that this was normal behavior for me (well, normally I might not do all three on the same night), and that, in fact, I was in heaven, having a chance to cook for an audience.

Tomorrow I actually will keep it ultra-simple: Greek salad, and yam fries. (I do seem to be in an orange root vegetable phase, but I'm taking care that each version tastes different).

But it got me thinking. What I would love, is this: if people could hire me to come to their house, learn what they like to eat, and cook dinner for them each night, in quantities that would provide leftovers for the following day's lunch (optional, since I know that some people are decidedly anti-leftover), for periods of 3-7 days. I wouldn't need to live in, though I'd need access in the afternoon each day if they weren't home.

I wouldn't want to do it for less than three days; and I don't think I'd want to go more than seven. Maybe no more than five in a row. I wonder if a market for that exists: a sort of staycation treat, perhaps? Appealing to people who like restaurants, but would like a restaurant experience customized to them, and/or who don't love the hassle of going out. All dishwashing included, natch; and for an additional fee, I'll teach them to make the dishes themselves.


  1. I would hire you! Though then I'd also want to be in the kitchen cooking. (What I wish I had right now: more friends close by with whom to cook dinner.)

    And oh, I hear you on the cold apartment thing. Mine is so drafty that last winter I got what I'm pretty sure were chilblains on a couple of fingers. This winter hasn't been as bad as previous ones, but huddling under a blanket in a freezing living room is a miserable experience.

  2. You wouldn't need to hire me -- we'd just cook together.

    J. is very much not a cook, and neither, I think, is another friend who's invited me to her place, (and she needs to stay gluten-free and dairy-free, which would be an interesting challenge).

    I remember your mention of chilblains last year. Ugh. May they stay safely in the Victorian era, where they belong.