Living the Good Life…

My food blog & cookbook in progress

Explaining the “good life”

The title to this blog is lifted from my cookbook-memoir-in-progress, a work that I still hold out fond hopes of actually publishing someday. Writing proceeds in fits and starts, but its the kind of thing that seems blogable so I’ve decided to put it in here and test-drive the recipes as well.

The origins and indeed, the bulk of the contents of this book, not to mention its title, come from the first few years of my life as a graduate student at Yale University during which time four of us shared an apartment –B-22 on 10, Livingston Street in New Haven. A toast to the “good life,” first made by one of the original four at one of the early meals in the apartment, caught on and soon became one of our constant refrains, so much so that Chris, bless his heart, immortalized it in the acknowledgments section of his Ph.D. dissertation. Specifically, he thanked me for “showing him how to live the good life as a graduate student,” and really, the least I could do after was to return the compliment by invoke the same toast in the title of our book. I say “our” because after all, this book is, at its heart and center, a joint effort of all those of us who lived and ate in apartment B-22 at 10, Livingston Street.

That I wound up living at this address at all was sheer good luck, a much-needed and appreciated eleventh-hour happy-ending to a series of nightmarish encounters with strangers and acquaintances alike in the matter of arranging for and furnishing my apartment. In the end, I think it was food – or rather my obsession with it coupled with my self-professed skill in cooking – that tipped the guys – Adam Chris and Manish – towards me as their fourth roommate.

I not only made good on my boast, but being the only female denizen, older than the others by some years (we won’t say how many) and naturally bossy to boot, I took on the role of executing chef/cook almost by default. Which is to say, that the others (including those who regularly ate with us but did not live in the apartment, and two in particular, Aditya and Devesh) did most, if not all, the pre- and post-dinner work – chopping, cutting, clearing up, and washing and more washing and drying – while I did the fun part – menu planning and actual cooking. In addition to the in-kitchen help, Chris and Adam often provided entertainment, if one can call it by that lowly title, in the name of piano practice. Cooking to the strains of Bach, Beethoven (most notably the 7th Symphony) and jazz became something of a staple, and even now I cannot listen to certain tunes without waves of acute nostalgia.

We may have been four residents, but dinnertime almost always saw more of us at the table. B-22 was really the ultimate party apartment, both due to its layout and the fact that, as a whole, we were a rather sociable bunch. That first year, we had many dinners on Wednesday night, as a sort of prequel to heading over to GPCSY, Yale’s grad student bar, for Adam’s weekly jazz gig. Sometime in our second year, by which time Manish had moved to California and Art moved in as the 4th roommate, Aditya and Devesh became r’glars for a time. Then Art went to New York and Mike moved in and Tara joined the gang for a bit as well. Meanwhile there were the out of town visitors, but that’s another story…

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