Friday, December 2, 2016

And Still...

I found this old post while cruising an analytics page. I noticed someone was archive diving and you know me--better check and make sure there isn't something awful floating around with my name attached to it.


Yes, I know the internet is forever, but I do have the ability to "unpublish" things, unlike, say, Starship. They can never take back, "We Built This City." That shit is out there, for all eternity.


The beauty of anonymous blogging cannot be overstated.


Anyway...here's a thing I wrote about a pot of beans.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Always

Last night was Fabulous Burrito Night at our house.  That's when, after having spent the day cooking insanely delish and perfectly seasoned pinto beans for the purpose of scarfing them in bean burritos, we feast like a bunch of starving animals, slurping beverages, going back for seconds, thirds and fourths.  


About mid-afternoon, those beans start to smell so good you want to cry, mostly because you know that they're not done cooking yet, so eating them would be a bit, uh...crunchy.  When they finally reach textural perfection, I lay out all the other tortilla stuffings and sauces and call the kids to start building, an announcement which is followed by the usual happy noises and sounds of feet scurrying to the kitchen.

 

My daughter's friend, who was visiting, asked, "Do you guys always eat like this?"  I told him no, that beans from scratch were usually a weekend project but he clarified: "No, I mean, are you guys always this laid back?"


It seems that at his house, what he called "family time" or, "dinner time" was so formal a thing that people barely spoke to one another while it was happening.  The idea that there would be laughter and joy and relaxation associated with it seemed novel to him.


I couldn't imagine it.


Most of us (grown-up) spend a lot of time out in the world in some kind of work situation in which we have to dress a certain way, be careful not to say certain things, arrive at a certain time, leave at a certain time, etc.  Even if your work life is fairly informal, there are still expectations associated with it--even someone who paints Velvet Elvises for a living has some kind of schedule, some kind of deadline.  If they didn't, they probably wouldn't produce enough to continue in that line of work.  A guy who plays guitar in a coffee shop still has to get to the coffee shop--you have to show up, and you have to have some kind of tangible product worth people giving you money for.


Life is like that.  I can't imagine why anyone would insist that family would have to be like that, too.  


Here are the people who know you better than anybody--They know that you like to put off doing the dishes until the last possible second, or that you run around in your bra in the morning while looking for a shirt to wear, or that spend hours on the phone loudly kvetching about crazy people, or your plants are neglected, or your cat needs a bath.  They know the very core of you.  They live with you, after all--they have a front row seat to all of your bad habits, wrinkles and warts.  Also, all of your triumphs.


Never mind the fact that I think of food as something to be celebrated.  What I want to know is, why would you apply first-date formality to any meal or time spent with the people who know you best?  Why pretend you don't know everything there is to know about each other already?  Isn't that just denying yourself the chance to delight in your family members victories, or laugh at their funny foibles, or help them through the low times?  Don't you WANT to be that resource for them?  I mean...who would be better at it than someone who knows the very core of you?


I believe very strongly that my home is my sanctuary.  It is the one place I can truly be myself, never to worry about what people think about me, what they're going to say about me, am I going to get fired for doing that, etc.  This notion doesn't strip away the necessity of treating everyone with kindness--in fact, my home is the one place where I can be as unabashedly kind as I want to be, like, spending an entire day lovingly preparing for the business of watching my kids and their friends play Guitar Hero while we all sit around eating burritos on the living room furniture (gasp!).  I will never, never, ever sacrifice that for any formality, any dreamt-up "have to" or "must".  I don't believe in "have to" or "must" except as it pertains to the importance of being good to other people.


So, to answer the question....Yes, we DO always eat like that.  We do everything like that.  I wish everybody did.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Positives

I wish I had deep thoughts about what to say when I hear my neighbor yelling at his girlfriend.


The guy is a straight up jack-ass, which you may have determined based on the fact that he feels the need to yell at his girlfriend.


It's not the yelling, though. Definitely a "tone" thing.


I can't actually hear the words he says most days, I just hear that, "I'm smarter than you, you stupid woman" thing in his voice and it makes my skin crawl.


People, I've been dealing with that guy my whole life. He thinks he is smarter because of the penis.


Yes, it's that guy. That fucking guy.


Never mind the fact that I live in a building with only 4 apartments, where there are no strangers, and this guy doesn't feel inspired to say hello if I run into him in the hall. All of the rest of us say hello. Some of us spend a half-hour catching up every time we run into each other--it's that kind of building. We're nice. Well, most of us are nice--I have my days.


I can overlook the hallway slight, but not the tone. Not the tone.


That guy and his most unfortunate girlfriend live across the hall from me, and we share a wall, which gives me unique access to two sounds: 1) Sometimes their cat runs up and down the hall meowing, which gets my cats very excited, and 2) I get to hear the jackass take that tone with his girlfriend.


What she does to "deserve" it (Hint: It's nothing) I'll never know, but about once a month, the man unleashes a lecture on that girl.


Earlier this week I was reminded of the mildly amusing (read: sad because it's true) joke that I found on the internet somewhere: "Lord, please grant me the confidence of a mediocre white man."


I love that one.


I think, if only I could be that clever and find a mildly amusing thing of my own to say, or even just think, when I hear the tone, either next door, or directed at me.


Actually, fuck it, I don't need to be that clever. Neither does my neighbor. We can be smart or dumb--neither situations warrants "The Tone". That's the simple, blunt truth of it. No part of your day to day should involve someone who claims to "love" you talking to you as if you are a moron.


The fact that I wish I was better talking about abuse just makes me the perfect mate for an abuser. Sick.


I think. I feel. I know I'm flawed and want to do better. Those things seem like positives--they are. They should be, anyway. In the wrong hands, though...they make you a target of some mediocre shithead.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Something + Something + Something + An Egg On It

Why is it that we look at other peoples food pics and think they are lame?


Maybe that's just me. I think your food pics are lame.


My food pics are lame as well, I just know a thing or two about good lighting and angles and framing. This makes my food pics infinitesimally less lame than some people. (Probably not a measurable amount).


The photos I take that don't look good? You never see. My friend Phil had someone ask him how he takes such good photos and his answer was, "By taking a lot of shitty photos." This is exactly correct.


Also? Red plates. I dunno. The damn things look good in natural light.


Today I'm having "rustic" roast beef hash with an egg on it.



This is a perfect (and perfectly easy) thing to do to look sort of impressive. Something + something + something + an egg on top = Eat That.


'Egg on it' a new/old trend we can all appreciate, isn't it?


One time I was standing at Andrew Zimmern's food truck at Loring Park while watching Dessa (just dropping names, now...) and who should be standing there but the man himself, so I asked, "What's good?"


I expected him to say, "All of it!" and of course he fucking did, it's his food truck.


Anyway, I settled on...Crispy Pork Belly With Green Papaya Salad, Chiles, Lime, and? An egg on it.


Glorious. Pork belly, amirite?


You should just put eggs on stuff. Do it.


Example: shredded brussel sprouts + onions + bacon. Fry that up in a pan and what? Put a fried egg on top. Insane.


Next example: Bell peppers + onion + mushroom + broccoli. Fry that up in a pan, drop a fried egg on top. Amazing.


Loco Moco...maybe the ultimate With An Egg On Top thing. Hells yes.


Avocado Toast. Egg on top. Die happy.


This dish: "Rustic" just means I don't like uniform chopping and I'm sure as hell not going to bother throwing all this stuff in the grinder like my mother used to do with the Sunday roast leftovers (a fond memory, though...)


Roast beef, potatoes and onion.


And an egg on it.


So drop a fried/poached egg on that...thing...you're cooking, and don't photograph it, just eat!