>Egads, I overseasoned the kale. I think it was the normal sodium chicken broth, combined with too much sea salt. I was embarrassed, but oh well. Lesson learned. It was still tasty, with the paprika and garlic.

Malia has always been savvy with her seasonings, which wore off on me over the years of living with her at 1350 N. Kedzie (pre-John, naturally). We went from…okay, my cooking went from a terrific amounts of butter and parmesan and cream (organic, if possible) to chicken broth (from happy chickens!) and olive oil and whole grains (still organic) to eventually no carbs (salad! which I once hated), but still a healthy dose of flavor, although occasionally, like last night’s kale, I lean on the too-much side. I’d rather err on that than too little.

In those early days right after I’d moved in, Malia and I would go to the German/Puerto Ricanville bakery (Roeser’s? I’m forgetting names already, which saddens me) right at the ghetto central of North & Kedzie and buy baguettes. We’d then pile it with low-fat (why did we bother?) salami and thick wedges of butter and sit at the butcher block in the non-air-conditioned apartment and eat it all. That was just in the afternoon. And then Charlie would start creating some stupendous meal (maybe an elaborate pasta and unusual salad, or a nut-crusted fish with fennel and roasted root vegetables), and I’d throw booze in the shaker – a staple, like vodka, combined with a splash of organic mango juice or acai nectar, raspberry or cranberry liqueor, lime vodka, and maybe whatever unusual we had that was on sale from Sam’s, like passion fruit vodka. Malia would drag Kitty around on the rug, and then we’d sit on the kitchen stools and drink and talk for hours while Charlie cooked. Eventually, we’d eat and watch whatever Netflix we were on then (Charlie’s subscription, so it was either a Marilyn Monroe movie or a season of 6 Feet Under), then force Malia to make us her chocolate chip cookies. This was a year or so before Malia discovered chocolate martinis, which opened a wealth of new mixing opportunities. Then both of us, and soon Daniel, discovered dirty martinis with stuffed bleu cheese olives (and Daniel and I would eat all the bleu cheese with our fingers when Malia wasn’t looking).

In honor of those days, which I miss dearly, I’ve taken the liberty of stealing these two pictures from Malia’s facebook. The above shows our beautiful booze collection (which grew when we discovered Binny’s Beverage Depot) and Charlie playing his accordian for the Wheaton party. In the second, Malia and I have obviously been consuming too many of my concoctions. It’s probably a good thing life drew us apart, so Hubert & Nancy didn’t have to roll us out of that apartment.