Food and the Academic Life
Once I had gotten the submission uploaded, and finished investigating a book on Roman Jakobson (it does not seem to be possible to read about Jakobson's theories on aesthetics without wading through a lot of highly technical linguistics material, which is tiring for those of us whose interest in linguistics is not supported by any actual coursework), I concluded that all I wanted was a hot meal and bed rest.
My preferred hot meal would have been a buckwheat-and-egg recipe Jesse taught me, but apparently there is a shortage of buckwheat in the Czech Republic this week. The local market was out of it on Monday night and last night it was not to be found at Tesco either.
I must say that despite the switch to capitalism here having taken place quite some time ago, Czech stores do not seem to operate with any kind of real plan regarding their stock. There is always a lot of merchandise to be had these days, but the mere fact that the store had an item you wanted last week is no guarantee it will ever stock it again. One needs to practice, as in the days of yore, a hoarding strategy for long-lasting goods like buckwheat and boxed tortellini, which are on the shelves just often enough that you expect they will always be there. (I ended up making a sandwich and falling into bed at an absurdly early hour.)
Anyhow, I am relieved to have finished assembling the panel, but will now have to turn my attention to inventing a proposal for a conference on Central/Eastern European modernism. This has been hanging over me for a few months now, as clearly I ought to submit a proposal, but I am drawing a blank as to the precise topic. For awhile my conference papers were a bit thin on dissertation-related material; now they are heavy on Toyen so I am branching out to topics that are still dissertation-related but more loosely so.
Unfortunately, at this stage of the game I need to beef up my publications, since so few of them are recent or remotely related to art history or my dissertation. I do not look forward to this--not because it would be so hard to write the articles, but because scholarly articles, like fiction, are submitted as completed works rather than as proposals (one generally writes fiction because one can't not write it, but one writes scholarly articles solely in the hope of publication). Worse, each scholarly journal tends to have its own special style for citations and other things, which one's bibliographic software may or may not offer a template for. And, worst of all, in art history one generally has to provide images and pay the permissions fees to use them. The thought of trying to find the rights-holders for one's images, never mind spending what could be a few hundred dollars on the permissions, makes one feel very much like crawling back into bed.
That said, here is my version of Jesse's buckwheat recipe:
Sautee an onion and some garlic in a flattish panThe result looks hideous, but everyone I have fed it to claims to like it.
Pour a quantity of buckwheat into the pan (it will enlarge somewhat but not vastly while cooking). In the Czech Republic, add plenty of water and half a chicken bouillon cube. In the US, add a can of broth and some additional water.
Stir from time to time.
Once the buckwheat is cooked (chewable) and there is no more liquid in the pan, crack an egg into the mixture and stir thoroughly to coat the buckwheat.
Add pieces of several kinds of cheese. Swiss, parmesan, and blue cheese tend to be good. It is preferable to have at least three types of cheese in the mix, but the question is, what's in the refrigerator? There are many excellent Czech cheeses, but I have not seen most of them elsewhere.
Of course, one cannot go far wrong adding additional vegetables like peppers.