Monday, August 31, 2009

Why on earth are leggings so popular in England? OR My first 2 weeks at work.

As usual, the deafening silence from my blog is related to something I felt unable to discuss while the process was in motion. In this case, the process was... GETTING A JOB! I sprinkled my CSR/sustainability/non-profit applications with a few pure private sector research and consulting positions. Of course the few applications that went forward were private sector - my attempts at sustainability positions beyond my not-really-paid internship were met with deafening silence.

The weather, to quote my favorite BBC Anglia broadcasters has been rather "unsettled" as of late. We don't really have a dress code at the office, which includes people working in pure creative positions as well as people doing a lot of B2B work so on any given day there are lots of jeans and quite a few suits, depending on the department. I have opted for smart business casual as I am simply not stylish enough to compete with the creative types walking around and in my tiny little division I was hired as the most senior person besides the BIG boss so examples must be set. Many of my colleagues around the office deal with the changeable weather by wearing leggings. I have previously discussed how much I despise leggings, but with English I can see the point of integrating them into the wardrobe. Not to say I will, but I can understand the obsession. They are just EVERYWHERE though. I can't escape the leggings. And the main issue in this country as opposed to the US where leggings are totally unnecessary to wear outside the northeast, women in England choose to pair leggings with incredibly short tops and dresses. Leggings are no more flattering and barely more covering than tights and a lot of people just shouldn't wear them.
Rant ended.

I really like the work atmosphere and it is giving me a great dip into a niche consulting area. I have a great MBAish title and all of my peers (who are based in the states) are MBAs as well. I am enjoying my job, starting to receive my own accounts, and starting tomorrow will be supervising interns! London is still a fantastic city. I am starting to get used to the bustle again and I just sit back and blend into the many commuters and wackos on the tube every day. Like the guy who insisted on holding both overhead poles and scrunching up his face in pain randomly throughout the 4 stop journey. Or the woman who brought her dog on the tube during rush hour. Or the woman who saw the dog, screamed, and ran to the other side of the tubecar. Ah, London, I have missed you.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sometimes I get homesick

I am a bit bitter this week because husband is in Boston Massachusetts seeing our old friends and I am stuck in Cambridge ENGLAND working. This bitterness was fueled by remembrance of culinary delights such as Anna's Taqueria and Pomodoro. I went to the grocery store to try to get ingredients for an enchilada-like casserole. I needed some monterey jack cheese, some corn tortillas, chicken, enchilada sauce, jalapenos, salsa.
After a trip to Marks and Spencers I found:
So, that was an epic fail. I went home and had an ostrich burger and salad. I had a think about what else I could do with chicken. (Oh that was such British phrasing...) I decided to attempt a version of my favorite pre-made pasta sauce: Sauces in Love's pink pesto. I probably consumed way more of that stuff than is healthy over the years, evidenced by the little reuseable container collection I had in DC. Minor complaint here - they should be stackable! I decided this would be an equally satisfying homesick cure if I could recreate it. I had my friend in Boston (who was eating a few spoonfuls at the time) IM me the ingredients off the side of the jar and I experimented with some tomato cream bases and voila! Homesickness cured.
Maybe once I move to London the Whole Foods there will carry Sauces in Love. But if not, I've created a solution!

One (14.5 oz) can plum tomatoes with tomato sauce
1-2 tablespoons tomato paste
2-3 tb olive oil (few swirls)
small handful walnuts (or pine nuts)
1/3 cup of thinly grated/shaved pecorino (I use a microshaver)
1/4 - 1/3 cup of grated/shaved parmesan
at least 10 leaves of fresh basil, add more to taste
2 oz cream
dashes of salt
2 gloves of garlic, minced

Chop garlic or food process it, then the nuts, basil and the tomatoes.
Add the olive oil and cheeses next, then the salt to taste, then the
cream last. Then simmer over medium heat until warm. Pour over chicken, pasta, etc. Doesn't beat the original of course, but it comes close enough.