January 08, 2010


Work has been steady and daunting, but there's always the threat, or so they'd like us all to believe.

The one not-so-mild-mannered-comforting distraction, coffee at the end of the meal. I take mine black.

It might be the process. It is the process. Retrieve pot from coffee cupboard. Pull down cups and saucers. Place cups into stove grates. Place saucers next to stove top. Pull one demitasse spoon from drawer (this spoon doles out the coffee, is then wiped clean with my apron and planted onto saucer or placed onto napkin in front of Roberto).

Fill pot with cold water (checking to be sure the water is in fact cold before filling). Retrieve coffee from coffee cupboard. Inevitably grind coffee (because we're always out). Clean coffee grinder and place back into coffee cupboard. Dole out coffee into coffee pot. Screw on top of coffee pot. Place pot onto stove. Ignite the flame. Step back, lean against counter, fold arms, tap foot, listen and wait.

Open up lid of pot. Sigh. Listen and wait. Repeat.

Open up lid of pot at most inopportune time (a small bit of coffee spurts out onto just cleaned stove—this happens every night and is never cleaned until the following night).

Inhale deeply, that wonderful coffee scent. Turn off flame. Pull cups from stove grate and place onto saucers. Poor coffee. Adjourn to kitchen table. Open up sugar pot for Roberto. Blow on piping hot coffee. Sip piping hot coffee. Curse piping hot coffee (this happens every night).

Finish coffee and sweet (ex: dark chocolate, panettone, brownie). Bring cups and saucers to sink. Leaving pot on stove to cool and season.

New Years Eve, we strayed from our norm and opted to whip the sugar (if you recall I take mine black).

"Why not?"

"For old times sake."

The holidays require more sweet to help maintain that sugar coated bliss. It's the poison that powers us through, keeps us alert on new years even so that we can press on until 12:01 when we crash into blankets, pillows and forgotten dreams.

When whipping sugar, the top of the pot is left open so that the first stir, the first inkling of coffee can be extracted at just the right time.

Hurriedly, it's poured into the waiting sugar. At this point it is stirred furiously, to the brink of exhaustion with the end of a nice heavy table spoon.

Timing is everything. Proportion of coffee to sugar is everything.

But, I dare say we probably won't be whipping the sugar again any time soon. We've fallen out of that practice. Going through the exercise on New Years Eve just confirmed it.

But alas, the new year is here.

One final bit of business before I wrap things up, the right of passage for one who blogs...take photo of oneself with camera in mirror. The camera, a shy—5 year old—Canon PowerShot SD20. It's all I use, that and natural light whenever I can get it.


  1. Glad to see you back Tracy. I've missed your words.

    I can't imagine whipping sugar--seems to close to making caramel. And caramel scares me!

  2. I love this description of making coffee, to my shame though I have never heard of whipping sugar, it sounds very delicious, if not difficult especially for those with no experience like me.

  3. Happy New Year Tracy. And thanks for posting the photo. I can finally put a face to the name.

  4. I think the way you feel about coffee is the way I feel about tea. Wonderfully written and I was so tickled to see you in a photograph! So beautiful and I love the glasses! Hope your new year is off to a good start.

  5. You speak my language! My coffee love language that is!
    Happy New Year!

  6. Natural light is always my preference. I'm a minimalist in my kitchen and with my photography. The fewer gadgets the happier I am.

  7. They have whipped sugar in the bar across from us, I often have a spoonful in my espresso just because ( I am amaro usually) it looks so wonderful and creamy and sweet.
    Nice to have you back and to meet you so to speak.

  8. Beth...thank you. I've missed writing. Caramel scares me as well!

    Kath...I've whipped sugar only twice. I tend to leave it to the in-house expert. :)

    Wendi...Happy New Year!

    alexandria...Me and my glasses thank you! :) Happy New Year to you!

    LoveFeast Table...Happy New Year! Thanks for posting. :)

    Denise...I love the challenge of minimalism.

    rachel...glad to be back. :)

  9. happy new year to you too Tracy!
    I am a tea-drinker (with the horror - yes - horror of my Italian parents), but when I drink coffee (those few rare times) I like it with "crema" and biscotti :):

    Here's to a year of cooking distractions from our current work burdens!!!

  10. Yay shes back!! I have never heard of whipping sugar. I bet it tastes delicious!! Cute picture Tracy. :-) I got a replacement glass for my 3 cup french press and used a tbsp of coffee last night. But it tasted watered down. How should I go about using the french press and how much coffee do you use Tracy?

  11. Amelia PS...I'm looking forward to the next cooking distraction. It will probably involve flour, yeast and a very hot oven.

    Elizabeth...You know, we have a french press but never use it. I find no matter how much coffee we use, it always tastes watered down, not to mention no matter how hot the water, it seems to cool off far too fast. Perhaps something to perfect in the new year.

  12. Love it! :-) You just reminded me I hadn't had my coffee this morning - it's brewing now. :-) Great to see your face! :-)

  13. you have a very similar method of making coffee as that of the cubans when they make their famous colada... ;)

  14. Rambling Tart...I'm glad I could serve as a reminder. One must have their coffee. :)

    Elie...Our cuban friend and her husband always tell us about the coffee they enjoy in Miami. It is very similar. It sounds like it's much sweeter too.

  15. I can't tell you how good this sounds right now. Come over!

  16. Your coffee process sounds divine. I agree with you, sometimes it is more the process than the coffee. I really liked this post.

  17. redmenace...if you'll make the cookies. :)

    Velva...thank you. The process is so warm and comforting. I don't know what I'd do without it.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.