Yesterday morning I made my second cafe au soy, and poured soy milk over some organic oat and honey* granola. The latter was delicious--better than milk, even; however, the former was disappointing, tasting nothing like my morning treat.
Throughout the day, I kept thinking about cafe au lait, and my craving was intense. My crabbiness was fairly strong, too. My mind oscillated between two obsessions yesterday: cafe au lait, and warm weather (we were supposedly having record heat all across Wisconsin--except for the lakeshore, which was 20-30 degrees cooler than the surrounding environs).
Still, I carried on, making a satisfying sandwich for lunch: toasted honey* sunflower seed bread with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, impromptu guacamole (avocado and lime juice), sabra classic hummus, red bell pepper, cucumber, and salt and pepper. Mmmmm!
Throughout the afternoon I puttered around the house, waiting for the fog to lift and the air to warm up before my afternoon walk. At 3:00 I headed out to the lake, bundled up, but thankfully stripping off my fleece jacket along the way.
Cafe au lait! Milk! Latte! echoed through my head, but I came home and ate Koeze natural peanut butter on Triscuits (try it! salty, crunchy, delicious.)
After a quick trip to the Pig (yes, we have a Piggly Wiggly in our neighborhood) for a few provisions, I set out to cook up a vegan Mexican feast. Gregg called on his way home from work. "How do you feel about strawberry margaritas? And can I just say that I want cafe au lait in the worst way!"
He's used to my non sequiturs:)
"I feel good about strawberry margaritas! And I don't see how anything could be bad with that delicious vanilla soy milk!" (he sampled some sraight up the night before, declaring it awesome, and egg nog-esque.)
Grrr. No one was going to put up with my whining about cafe au lait.
Our Mexican meal consisted of spice rubbed baked tofu (I used a mixture of chipotle powder, chili powder, and a Penzey's spice blend called Arizona dreaming); black bean dip (black beans mashed with lime juice, onion, salt, and pepper); guacamole; sauteed peppers and onions; salsa; and, for Gregg, sour cream. We folded everything into warm flour tortillas.
But the pièce de résistance was the strawberry margarita, made with lime juice, triple sec, tequila, and last night's strawberry sorbet. The drinks were thick, frosty, tangy, and absolutely refreshing. And dairy free! (duh! who sneaks dairy into a margarita?!?)
I told Gregg that I might discontinue the experiment on Wednesday morning, since the cafe au lait cravings were so strong.
I mused about obsession, addiction, and pleasure. My morning (and often afternoon) cafe au laits are more than the drink itself--though the frothy, warm, robustness hits the right notes as a day begins and an afternoon slumps. More so, there's a ritual to this drink, in the preparation: using my special pan from mom to heat the milk; grinding a handful of beans; pouring cool water into the coffeemaker; wetting the coffee filter; listening to the happy perk of the machine; smelling freshly brewed coffee; frothing the milk with a small whisk; pouring the right proportion of coffee to milk.
There's beauty in the simplicity of this ritual.
And while the steps are all the same with soy milk, the taste is different, and the drink and ritual become less about bliss and more about sacrifice.
Does this make sense, or am I, as I'm wont to do, overthinking?
*yes, I realize that honey is not vegan if one is strict about veganism. I've decided to give honey a pass in the few prepared foods I have on hand. I am not, however, adding honey to anything.*