I biked all the way across the City today, going farther than I ever have before. I snagged my favorite pair of hose on a sprocket tooth, but other than that, I returned home unscathed. I have been training for this day ever since I learned how to bike in the driveway when I was ten.
The City's infamous hills and aggressive, urban traffic, continues to intimidate me, so last week I attended a four hour bike safety class put on by the Bike Coalition. I learned that I had the right to a full lane all the time (except for on freeways), how to wear a helmet and other sorts useful things that are easy to take for granted. I am still scared of traffic, but now I can mostly avoid it.
Since the Silver Bullet's untimely demise, I have had to relearn how to be a grown-up. I used to just be able to drive places, like to work, the post office, and the grocery store. I feel like I have suffered from some kind of life-changing physical accident. What was once easy, is now hard and fraught with drama. It was as if she was an appendage. My phantom car hurts.
After the car went away, I didn't go to the grocery store for a long time. The stash of dry pasta was running out. The ranks of canned beans were decimated. Only a few dry garlic wrappers chased the breeze in the bottom of the allium bowl. The lone banana quietly rotted in the corner. The proverbial larder was painfully bare. Fortunately, Dutch didn't let me starve, instead, he fed me at restaurants, but that is expensive, though delicious (at this point, this blog could almost be entirely devoted to food). My nutritional outlook is now sunnier since I put a rack on my bike.
I was going to wait to install a bike rack until such time as I had money, but the irresistible cry of my stomach overrode those petty financial inhibitions, so I took the bus to the closest Sport's Basement (the Presidio lacks groceries, but it has a sport's megastore!). The Yellow Monster now has the cheapest rack and the heaviest saddle-baskets available (and when my ship comes in, I'll replace them with something lighter) and together we can haul up to two conservative bags of groceries! Now the wide, wonderful world of City grocery stores is mine for the taking! I can even go to places that don't have parking, like the legendary Mai Wah Market on Clement St, which I had to avoid before. (My housemates describe Mai Wah as a "food museum" because it represents everything eaten by humans, regardless of continent and epoch). Not to mention the Evergreen Market on Mission, whose tortillas are hot, the quesa cold, the chiles plump and you can fish the tofu out of the barrel for 99 cents-a-pound. The adjustment period has been difficult, but my gastronomy can only expand! Oh the vistas to conquer! and worlds waiting to be chopped, sliced and sauteed and consumed!
Chow Bike (adapted from Martin Yan's Chow Mein)
mess of green beans (from the Syrian Market District on Geary) cut 1"
two cloves of garlic, minced
1 t-spoon sesame oil
fresh ginger, to taste, grated
2 tbs soy sauce
orange bell pepper, diced
1 tbs oyster sauce (from Mai Wah)
half cup of chicken stock
pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp crushed "brown sugar" from Evergreen (it looks rustic, tastes divine, comes in a big, pre-industrial cake)
- cook noodles per directions, rinse with cold water, set aside.
- heat skillet, add oil and garlic, but don't burn either one, just warm the garlic, to release its fragrance. Add the beans and cook gently
- mix liquid ingredients in a bowl, plus the ginger and sugar.
- add the sauce and noodles and stir until heated through, add the bell pepper. Add some pepper if you want.