Inspired by Top Chef I’ve changed some of the ways I cook. Like, I stop reheating things from Trader Joe’s. I made this dish that had my book club drop-jawed that I had made it, and hadn’t… brought something from Trader Joe’s. We have a rule that you can only bring food mentioned in the book. Our book was about occupied Paris, so I brought sandwiches from a section where a famous novelist and his girlfriend are escapig in a car, she’s eating a sandwich she’d packed, he refuses to eat his, the servants eat it, and later he can’t stop wishing he ate the sandwich as the food goes on short supply. The sandwich wasn’t described, but I used one that I used to get in front of the Marie Curie Institute in Paris, the absolute cheapest food on the streets then (’93): long baguette, pate slathered inside, and cornichons throughout. I added baby arugula, wrapped in parchment and sliced in small little sandwiches. Voila!

I went on one of those super hot grassy hikes on the peninsula and decided, as a reward, to give into my hankering for gazpacho, FDA warnings be damned. My sister in Baltimore, was like “is it really that serious?” She thinks everything we do in California- like not slather butter on our bread, rag on my Dad for not exercising, to be fitness-obsessed. I told her, two dozen people got e.coli, are you convinced? But whatever, I cannot tame the beast inside that wants gazpacho.

I forgot the cucumbers, but I have a cucumber salad- with Greek yogurt & lemon, yum- in the fridge, so it’d be too much cucumber, even for me. After the first bowl realized I had forgotten the main seasoning – vinegar, oil & garlic- but it was good even without that, so I added it and re-refrigerated it. It’s filling. It’s refreshing. It’s tasty!

The interesting things Dean & Deluca taught me about gazpacho, that it’s actually “bread soup” from Moorish Spain. I always think of it as “cold summer soup,” or, Almodovar soup. I toasted the leftover bread rinds and put some parmesan on top. That’s my hatbox of small electronics behind it.