Thursday, October 7, 2010

Kitchen Scraps, And A 'Just Make Me' Broccoli Salad

You know, for all those times I think deep, profoundly interesting things, there are perhaps an equivalent, or maybe even greater number of blanks being fired aimlessly in my think-box.

Like how much I hate our low-flow toilet. No matter how many times I flush the cat droppings down the toilet, one little renegade nugget always bobs back up into the bowl. Every time.

Or like how my bangs are at that stage where I need to make a definitive decision: Do I suffer the agony of growing them out and having hair in my eyes for the next 4 months, or do I cut them short again? Is there too much real estate on my forehead to not have bangs? Are foreheads the new nipple?

Pumpkin curry - is that something?

It sounds like our coat rack is threatening to break away from the wall under the weight of our 17 different kinds of jackets, sweaters, windbreakers and raincoats. The weather has been so all over the place, neither of us know how to dress when we leave the hous..........

Oh. WOW. Did that put
you to sleep too?

I'm sorry. You're totally getting my 'D' material. I'm tired, and it's been a difficult work week, which, if you've been following this blog lately, will elicit the question "When isn't it a difficult work week?" I don't mean to make it sound all bad. There are definite pluses. Like the 7 cats I work around all day; for example, there's Pickle, my attention-starved lunchroom companion, or Diesel, the whopping 32-pounder who thinks he's a dog and looks quite like an ottoman. For a few hours a day, I am almost a cat person.

Or wearing scrubs to work, which leads people on the subway to believe I am someone with medical training, toiling weird hours in the most noble of vocations, when in actual fact, I am but a glorified cockblocker between you and the appointment you
really wanted with your medical professional. (wow. Tired Moni is a bit crude. Apologies.)

But the other night, just before we closed the clinic, I was called upon to perform beyond my basic receptionist skills. A woman came in with her dead cat who'd just been hit by a car. She was beside herself with grief. I'd never seen a dead pet before, and it looked just like it was sleeping. I didn't know what to say; I was so scared of saying the wrong thing. There are so many cliched responses to grief, but they are inoffensive and safe and still show support, so you use them. But somehow, I felt it was worth the risk to be a bit more personal.

So we talked, about our pets, about our husbands, about life. And I feel like in some tiny way, maybe I helped. I didn't make her tragedy less tragic. But considering how pet death is a regular part of my workplace, causing me to have nervous stomach aches every day, I think the risk paid off. Because what resulted wasn't client-receptionist platitudes. It was just two people, a dead cat, and a very human connection.

And the thing is, in that moment when that inner voice that you've been harbouring since childhood is begging you to run fast and far, telling you, a depressive with a terminally ill parent, that you're not fit to deal with any more grief and sadness; it's too much to bear - well, that's when something truly extraordinary happens. That's when you realize that you're not falling apart like you thought you would. You are coping, enduring. And maybe even with a little bit of grace too.

So I haven't much to offer in the way of a challenging meal. This is a simple thing I threw together so as not to waste food sitting in my fridge, and it turned out incredibly delicious. I'd make this over and over again, no joke, and the possibilities for adaptation are endless. So Just Make This, and have a fantastic Thanksgiving weekend, if you're in Canada. I, for one, have a great many things to be thankful for.

And I'll probably think a great deal about them, in between all those aimlessly fired blanks.

Roasted Broccoli-Potato-Sausage Salad With Maple-Chili Vinaigrette:

1 large head of broccoli, cut into smallish florets
3 large potatoes, cubed
3 sausages; I used spicy pork sausage, but you can use any kind, even veggie ones.
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp chili powder


2 tbsp maple syrup (table syrup is just fine)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sambal oelek, or other spicy chili sauce


1. Preheat oven to 350-400 degrees F. In a large bowl combine the chopped broccoli and potatoes with the olive oil and chili pepper and put in roasting pan. Roast till soft, about 40 minutes.

2. While the veggies are roasting, cook up your sausages. Make the dressing too, just combine all the ingredients in a small mason jar and shake well till combined (or just use a fork to whisk)

3. When veggies are ready, place in a serving bowl with the cooked sausage, cut into 1/2 inch pieces, and cool for about 10 minutes. Add the vinaigrette and stir to coat everything. Serve immediately with some lovely, grainy bread and butter!


  1. Definitely going through life with grace, sweet soeur. I'm proud of you for many reasons and your new-found tenacity and resolve to stick with things even when you may want to run the other way. You've surprised yourself (not me!) and for this, I am thankful. You don't have the be the vet to be important - what you did for that woman last night was nothing she could have bought or asked for. I love yoo.

    And the potato salad looks delightful, too.

    xo mrsbs

  2. that salad looks AMAZING!!! loving your blog!

  3. Noodle, thank you; the way you phrased that was just lovely. Heart. You are the best sister.

    Hannah, I love your blog too! Thanks for checking mine out! By the way, I lived on this salad for three days; sooo yummy!

  4. goosebumps. You have a gift of knowing how to make people feel better just by being you.

  5. Melissa! I can't wait to hang out again, so I can hug you!