Lauren Fitzgerald Veit

I like to write about ghosts..

New York, NY

New Yorker (lite), Stage Manager (when not in pandemic), Novelist (I've just decided)


The Fish

Jul 23, 2020 3 years ago

The salmon fillet is the length of my wingspan. Have you ever tried to find good fish in rural Minnesota? That's a trick question. There is fantastic fish. Right outside. In the lake. Super fresh. Catch it. A little lemon. Panko bread crumbs. Delicious. But that gets old after several months. So instead I have this giant fillet that I had to drive thirty minutes both ways to get. Bobby's Flay's cookbook is lying open on the counter next to me. There's a vinaigrette distilling or something with peppers and capers. Already there's been an olive oil spill. A wet spot on the counter where the dog jumped up to steal a piece of broccolini (which is also difficult to find in rural Minnesota). I'm drinking coffee while I do this. At four thirty in the afternoon. Time doesn't matter. I hope this is good. I haven't eaten yet today. I'm buzzing with too much caffeine and not enough food. Before quarantine I could barely cook. I ate everything on the go. Bagels and coffee in the morning. Whatever was close to the theatre at lunch. Takeout late at night for dinner. I could do eggs and rice and ground beef and Seamless. But now there is so much time! It's family recipe week or vegan week or church basement hotdish week. My dad taught me how to pan fry hamburgers. My mom sends me blurry pictures of old recipes she comes across. I make adjustments to the recipes on mommy blogs. I add meat or butter or whatever. I follow TikTok accounts of people who just recreate foods from anime. I learn drop dumplings and pie crusts. I start cutting my tomatoes with a bread knife. If and when I go back to work I won't have time for the things I'm cooking now. But it's nice to do if you have the time. Which I do. I'm out at the lake with my dad, who's retired. I cook him stroganoff or potato soup and we eat it and watch tv. We watch the world keep turning even though we've stopped. My accent gets thicker. I talk more slowly. I've relearned how to be midwestern. Storms pass and I assess the damage to the trees. I remember how to bait a hook. I drive a car again. I dip my feet in the water. I sit on the dock for hours with books I've been meaning to read. And I cook. An email sits in my phone which sits in my pocket. Usually I read emails so fast. It's necessary for my job. But I don't have time to read it as I pick fresh vegetables. Can't look at it at the butcher's. Don't email and drive. Can't read it when I'm wrestling with this giant fillet or prepping the vegetables or trying to remember all the spices in that great orzo recipe. So there's an email on my phone in my pocket informing me that the show I was hired on was postponed again. That March had turned to February had turned to May of 2021. That's a scary thought. But the oven is ready, and I have a fish to cook. Just a truly massive fish.

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