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Friday, June 29, 2007

Hi-Five Back At Ya!

Oh, it's Friday. What the hell.

INSTRUCTIONS: Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom slot, like so:

1. Blair’s Boys
2. Harmonia’s Cuppa Tea
3. Vaguetarian Tea Room
4. Sugar and Lard
5. Bacon Press

Next, select five people to tag:
1. Sly Stone
2. Jack T. Chick
3. Thomas Pynchon
4. J.D. Salinger
5. John Hughes

What were you doing 10 years ago?

Working in a bookstore. Drinking lots of vodka.

What were you doing 1 year ago?

Checking out of detox and staying away from authors.

Five snacks you enjoy:
1. Dried mango
2. Tamari-roasted almonds
3. A can of sardines
4. Beef jerky
5. Hard-boiled eggs

Five songs that you know all the lyrics to:
(which one doesn't belong?)
1. I Am A Poor Pilgrim Of Sorrow – Traditional
2. Moonshiner – Roscoe Holcomb
3. Love Has Brought Me To Despair – Traditional
4. That's Not My Name – The Ting Tings
5. Been A Long Time Travelling – Almeda Riddle

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:
1. Crush things. Anything.
2. Lucrative investments in Eastern European leopard-print textiles and Asian plastic wrap markets.
3. Sit back, watch non-profit fundraisers grovel for money, pit one against the other, touch cold clammy fingertips together and laugh an eeevil laugh.
4. Complain some more.
5. Buy gun, buy land, buy flea-bitten dog, buy mobile home, act crazy.

Five bad habits:
5. Procrastination.

Five things you like doing:
1. Road trips.
2. Vegging out with Bruce, watching a good Sci-Fi movie/show.
3. 9 O'Clock pie runs (in theory, as well as practice)
4. Cooking for large groups
5. This.

Five things you would never wear again:
1. Paisley (umm, hello?)
2. "Unique" body piercings
3. Pink bouffant wig with the nun costume
4. Split-toe "ninja" shoes
5. Bomber jacket (Soooo 90s!)

Five favorite toys:
1. Thumb-sucking Moncheechee doll
2. Transgender Ken Doll (with accessories)
3. Crying "My Lil' Pony" doll
4. MUNI bus Transformer (Decepticon)
5. Lawn darts.

Why I Hate The Smell of Mario's Baked Ziti

(Just a bit of fun. I'll get to the southern food this weekend.)

I can't believe they ended The Sopranos that way.

Nevertheless, I loved the ending. "T", Carm, Ajay, and...that Meadow! Guess what Meadow?? I have trouble parallel parking too!!

(I can't tell you how many times I had to back-up, pull-forward, pull-out, and back-in last night! It's maddening! It's enough to make one go all "Cleaver" and stuff.)

All of them – together, in of all things: a dive! How frickin' wonderful is that?!

But wait! It gets better. They went out with one of the coolest Journey songs ever! "Did he just say ever?" Ooohhh yes I did! Not only is Journey a local band, acceptable to consume as they fall within 100 miles of my music-shed, but they totally rock (in that power ballad, poppy, falsetto, guitar solo way). "When the lights, go dowwwn, in the Cit-tayyy...."


Anyway, there WE were, the ______ Street Glorified Crew, all neighbors, watching the last episode of The Sopranos that we'll ever watch together again (excluding re-runs). This has been our cosa nostra thing every Sunday for the last 4 years. Oh! the laughs, the tears, the joys, the federal indictments we've all shared with Christopha, Sil, Adrianna, the evil Janet, crazy Uncle June, Johnnycakes, and the Russian from the Pine Barrens; all over good food, wine, Gentleman Jack, and lately ice tea (for me).

For the final episode, I thought we'd go out like we came in – with a big ol' dish of pasta cooked the Italian-American way. Instead of just following my instincts and cooking with the knowledge I've picked up over the years, I decided to consult an Italian-American – or rather, his cookbook.

Now don't get me wrong: I like Mario Batali as a television personality. Granted, I don't know him personally but he sure seems like a nice guy (although, historically, the only fat guys who wore brightly colored rubber shoes were clowns, but such are the times we live in).

Speaking of, that baked ziti recipe in Molto Italiano smells like dirty clown feet!

The ingredients sound innocent enough: tomato sauce, béchamel sauce, penne pasta, cheese, breadcrumbs, some mild Italian sausage (disclosure: that's something I added). It looked great in my casserole dish. But on the way over to Laura's, Bruce and I were like: "Dammmnn! Is THAT the ziti?"

Truly, it smelled like Mario's unwashed Croc's – with extra toe funk thrown in. Although the ingredients were completely fresh and not out-of-date, this specific combo of ingredients gave the casserole the distinctive smell of something festering past its prime. Could it be the cheese? I only used parm and mozzarella. Couldn't be the sausage, could it? The combo of béchamel sauce and tomato sauce duking it out like Tony and Phil Leotardo over who'd run garbage collection in Newark?

I don't know.

The good news is that it tasted fine; good even. My neighbors thought it was great, although Laura was a little startled over how heavy it was as she lifted the casserole dish from the oven, where it had finished cooking.

Of all people, I realize that often things that smell (hmmm, how should I put this?) nasty often taste wonderful and complex. Mario's Baked Ziti is no exception. But perhaps next time I'll omit the béchamel sauce or try a different recipe altogether.

In the meantime, I'll have to try Mario's other

(roll credits)


Friday, June 22, 2007

Carbs and Carburetors

Right about now, I imagine most of my loyal readers – all 5 of you – are pretty damned pissed and are basically like "what the F?!" that I seemed to have dropped off the face of the planet, never to be seen nor heard from again.

As you should be.

I don't know what happened. Well, actually, yeah I do.

It's taken me a while to feel comfortable writing again and being in the headspace to do it. A lot has been on my mind lately – stuff that has nothing to do with food. Okay – and then there are things, like watching my weight that has everything to do with food – but not in the way that I feel needs to be shared with the blogosphere.

There is such a thing as Too Much Information. (I know you'd never expect to read those words from me!)

Lots of internal introspection, lots of soul searching, and oh: I bought a car. It's an old VW and it's the first car I've owned in 14 years and I've been just a leeettle obsessed with it. My last car, which I'll call "Precious Baby 1", I sold before I left Florida and took a Greyhound bus out to California. I haven't owned a car since, so it's kind of weird to use the phrase "my car" with the actual word "MY" in front of the word "car". I usually do a double-take and then ask myself if I just had a Matrix moment, a senior moment, or something similar.

Such...is life? You can see why I haven't been too concerned with writing about food. There are more important things – things like low carbs and carburetors; a 36 year old body that needs some interior work, a few parts replaced, and a tune up – and a 34 year old body that needs roughly the same, plus an injection of dark chocolate every now and then (purely for the antioxidants, y'all.)

I've got a big weekend coming up (if you're watching the parade, look for me in contingent number 86!), but afterwards I'll be back to my normal – or normal for San Francisco – self. And yes, I do plan on telling you all about my trip, starting with Charleston and the Lowcountry.

Just hang in there.

I promise I'll come through for you.