Monday, May 2, 2011

A day for Sue

I don't remember much about how I felt on 9/11. When I see photographs of young children in the arms of firefighters at the site of the Oklahoma City bombing, the pain is remote, foreign, wholly unattached to me like the blood running true from a clean paper cut. Yesterday I will remember forever. I will recall every word of the story of how my friend Susan fell down the steps of her New York City apartment, how she became brain dead, how they took her off life support. Her story, lovely by virtue of its ordinary grace, ended at the mercy of gravity. She will have no more memory to give, no more headlong glances into the future, no more breakfasts, lunches, or dinners, no more friendly nothings on her facebook wall, no dancing, bad mornings, better nights, forgiving laughter, exaggerated opinions, morbid curiosity. To say that she lives on in us is no more than vain hope, the selfish clingings-on of we cripples to mortality. She was good, and there is no more.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Camp food

In theory, I love camping: the great outdoors, the smoky fire, the challenge of cooking. In practice, camping is tough to defend: the mosquitos, the boredom, the lack of running water, the going to sleep at 9, the bastard hard-as-shit ground, the freezing your ass off no matter how warm your sleeping bag. I justify its drawbacks with the Calvin's Dad Defense: It'll be good for your character! Unfortunately, my character likes an Ambien (there were none) and an airbed (nope), a flashlight (cell phone) and a comfy chair (log), to be able to put up with that bullshit. At the end of the night, we fell asleep to the dulcet tones of a parent spanking her child and a banjo whose strummer had the enthusiasm of a Baggins drunk on adventure.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Chinese pulled pork and fresh, sweet slaw

I've been cutting down on carbs for the past month, have been avoiding sweets, and just began the Couch to 5K program with my boyfriend.

Who exactly in the fuck have I become? I'll tell you who: a meat-guzzling, vegetable-cramming nuthouse who looks at sugar like that kid who eats play-doh at recess. Not kidding, this summer I'm going to be eating so much meat I'll see blood. People blood.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Cold lime buttermilk souffles

Like anyone who's worked in a restaurant kitchen or bakery and is also the clumsiest person on Earth, I've learned how to deal with food disasters quite well. Yesterday as I was finishing the decorations on a cake I began far too late, the fondant bow I had set to dry the day before crumbled in my hands. Bakery closing, I had no choice but to embark on a new course for Good Enoughton. The same happened to me this morning while unmolding the souffle I made the night before- and again, improvisation was my saving grace. When dealing with these situations, you have two choices: scrap the lot and tell the consumer, or pull some magic out of your ass and pretend that was exactly what you meant to do all along.

I'm always amazed when things turn out well for me, considering how many dozens of times I've royally fucked up desserts, cakes, and even entire meals. Whenever anyone compliments my food, I'm reminded of an abbreviated stage I had in a Savannah restaurant during which the rolls I made failed to rise properly more than once, molten chocolate cakes for a New Year's dinner came out all different sizes and stages of doneness, strawberry sorbet wasn't strained for seeds, and, the kicker, my hip knocked into the cupboard containing the chef's awards and shattered a heavy glass number into a million sad pieces on the kitchen floor. He sent me home with a check and a renewed sense of self-loathing, and I was fired the next day.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Cream of toasted coconut soup

Soups and stews are the boss of everything. There's no pressure to do stuff too right, you can always add a bit of something you think they need without worrying about timing, and they're perfectly rounded. When I make a soup, I imagine it is a pool party where everyone is invited. At the end of it, everybody's like "That was the greatest pool party! Thanks, Dude!" and then they high-five with a piece of pizza drooping cheese in the other hand. So, soup is like Ninja Turtles.

My inspiration for making coconut soup was twofold: 1) I love the coconut curries Thai places serve, and 2) I didn't have anything goddamn else in my pantry. Necessity is the mother of invention, but the father of invention is desperation, and the druncle is sitting on your couch eating Sriracha out of a spoon- which I have done, will continue to do, and SHUT UP UNCLE MARK.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Lemon curd mousse with fresh raspberries, mango, and white chocolate sauce

The last time I visited my sister, she suggested that I post more instructional pictures on my blog. The truth is, this isn't so easy. Stovetop pastry requires vigilance and lots and lots of stirring. If you stop doing either of these things for even a minute, those fickle fuckers go to shit. Until I get a personal photographer, I shall do my best- but on that day, y'all will be more concerned with the monkeys flying out of my butthole.

The dark side of the food

I started writing this entry much earlier in the week, but I got caught up in some unnecessary turmoil at work, and I had a sleepless night of self-conscious fits worrying about what I had done to provoke hurtful words from a coworker. My life is an open book, but I've learned in the past year to hedge my shit-talking to a minimum when on the job and when speaking about coworkers to other coworkers. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that being in a kitchen full of women wouldn't afford me the same courtesy. The social strictures of women working in a kitchen are often just as precarious as those of women outside of the workplace can be- one misstep, and you are out of favor, no matter what your previous behavior has been. I hope that I am not like this, and if I am, I would think that I have the equanimity to change that. Now on the subject of honesty...

I love country music. The other day my friend said to me "you don't seem like the kind of person who would listen to country music," and I was so happy to hear this. I consider country music and mainstream rap music similar entities- overly-simplified narrative followed by a twangy, roughneck beat. Country artists sing about the things they dig- gettin' revenge, drinkin' beer, and love. Replace "beer" with "Patron" and "love" with "fuckin'" and you've got the repertoire of any number of rappers on hip-hop radio. Flip over to a pop station, and you hear this leaking into Top 40. Such everyman, equalizing, pedestrian sentiments are heartening to me- it's not brave by any means, but it is fun as hell. Pop, country, rap- they're not meant to be profound, they're meant to make you feel good. And they do this so damn well.