28 January 2011

Trottin' Pea Soup

So I was doing a bit of grocery shopping with the last of my stamps from Alaska, and I pass the canned-and-otherwise preserved meat aisle.  {Four, I think it was.}  Lo and behold, my eye caught the top-shelved jars of pickled pigs feet.  Never in all my days have I given them a go; no clue even what they might taste like.  So I buy one all the same, for experience sake.
Three weeks later, the thing is still in my fridge and I have no idea what to do with them.  And suddenly it hits me:  pea soup!  I mean, basically it's ham.  As for the rest of the story…

Preparation Time:  between one or two hours; honestly, it depends on the peas you buy.  Manischewitz pea soup mix takes about 45 minutes to an hour; Hurst’s should take between one to one and a half.
Serves:  plenty; I’d say ten or so servings sounds about right.

1# bag of split peas
1 jar of pickled pigs feet; drained, rinsed, and so forth {they emerge like Austin Powers from cryro-}
1 medium-sized onion, chopped into petals
3 cloves garlic
1 sweet potato, simply chopped
3 bay leaves, a douse of pepper and a brace of salt, with just a pinch of Old Bay
6 baby bella mushrooms, sliced

Add 12 cups of water to a fairly large pot and add a dash of salt.  Throw in your peas, feet, onion, garlic, potato and spices; everything but the mushrooms.  Turn on to HIGH and bring to a boil; let boil for half an hour, stirring occasionally.  [Helpful Pairing:  In the meantime, make up a dose of cornbread; I don’t have any recipes in particular, sorry to say.]  After the first half hour has passed, add your mushrooms, and crank the heat down to a ‘2’ or MED-LOW setting.  Depending on the peas you purchased, it should simmer anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour and a half.  Basically, once the peas are broken down into a stewy mush.  Between that and your cornbread, your kitchen should be smelling quite fine!  {Makes great leftovers.}

26 January 2011

Super Happy Sunbird General Tsao

The most important thing to remember is you need the Sunbird-brand yellow packette of General Tsao mix.  I don't know why, but these 89 cent packs of flavourant are better than any sauce or mix I've ever had.  Beyond that, you will need:

1 pot for 2 cups rice {with 2 1/2 cups of water}, with a splash of oil and a clove of minced garlic thrown in.

1 small fry pan for frying your chicken {I prefer boneless thigh meat, cut into bit-sized cubes, dipped in raw egg, then rolled in flour}; no more than a pound or pound and a half is necessary.

1 large pan or wok for frying your veg and combining it all in the end.  Veg can include yellow or white onions {gotta have the onions!}, more garlic, green onion, green and/or orange pepper, baby bella mushroom, corn, chick peas, tomato, and sweet potato.  Really, most anything'll work.


Begin boiling your rice on high and heat up the two fry pans, what with their oil and all.  Once the rice comes to a boil, set a timer for twenty minutes and put it down on LOW or '2' or whatever.  This is now your time clock.  Fry up your chicken bits on a HIGH setting, and if you have sweet potatoes begin frying them up in the wok.  The reason I fry the chicken up separate is because the flour residue kind of gums up the tsao if it's all made together.  During the course of the cooking, add your veg in waves depending on their 'toughness.'  I would usually add onions and garlic next, then when those begin browning I turn down the heat and add the peppers {if you've got them}, then the mushroom and tomato and any other ingredients.  These should be simmering on '4' or '5', MED like, with six or seven minutes on the clock.
By now you should also have your tsao mix ready to roll, as per the packette directions.  Like, 3/4 cups of water, mixed in with a good deal of soy sauce {just say when} and 1/4 cup of sugar and the pack.  Add your chicken pieces {which will prolly have been done a few minutes earlier} to the wok, mix, then add the liquid flavor.  Bring to a boil by turning it up to HIGH, mixing everything around in the meantime.  Once it starts boiling, bring it back down to a medium setting.  By now there should be two or maybe three minutes on the clock.  The sauce should thicken, and you should check out that rice; should be soft, but not too bloated... you know how rice looks.  But notice that garlic flavor?  Awesome, right?
And dinner is served!  Queue up and dig in.

18 January 2011

"The Exam"

I’m sitting on this metal, paper-covered waiting table, the steel positively freezing my ass.  Stupid coverlet gown besides, like.  Wondering when the doctor’ll show up, if when and ever.  Twenty minutes, staring disinterestedly at the walls, picking through and reading similarly disinteresting pamphlets; about abortion, about the HIV, about cancer and smoking and rickets and anything else that may strike me as funny. 
But mostly wondering when the doctor will show up.
The pain in my balls is a dull, reverberating type’a thud, nails across the chalkboard kind of thing.  Not pain-ful, to be precise, but a nonplussing dissimilarity to normalcy as to give me grief on an all-encompassing scale.  HERNIA, I say to myself.  Got-to has-to must-be.  No other way.  Shifting rocks on the trails, two weeks back.  That’s the only answer.  Two weeks since, bowels grinding away antagonistically in an offhand fashion.  Altering everything.  I wonder when the doctor will show up, with a rising irritation.  I’m running out of things to peruse, and find myself re-skimming the pamphlet on Ebola.  I wonder if I’ll even be seen by a doctor; the town has maybe four hundred, five-hundred-folk-tops.  Small Alaskan villar on the brink of nowhere.  Probably moonlights as a vet, this doc-tor.  Have me sent up the knack, with a bit of ginger even; the way I’m feeling.  And just as my internal rant builds-
he's there, open door white jacket smiles and all.  Doddering old fellow, if anything.  More wrinkles and bits of skin than man, for sure.  I wonder; but I wondered enough already, as it is.  He comes in all smiles and jacket and perspicacity, asking this that and the other, perforce with his duties off-the-cuff like.  All I can do is think and answer, be a patient.  My testes began hurting two weeks before, I explain.  We’d been building a trail, I say.  Never had such trouble before, I extrapolate.  Perhaps a hernia, I fish, hoping for some sort of answer to the nay or contrary.
“Only one way to find out,” he says, disapproving-like.  The rest bit is sort of a blur; gropey-gropey-coughy-negative, with a vague depiction afterwards of shredded valves and possible infections.  “Do you wear jockeys?” he asks, and it takes me a bit to mull it out; I’m a boxer man, I guess.  “Got to wear jockeys,” he says tut-tuttily.  “Need the support, in your condition.”  He writs me off a note for plenty of ibuprofen and supportive briefs and ushers me out towards the lobby.  “I’ll put it down as a possible hernia, for your workman’s comp,” he adds as I’m out the door, with a wink on the sly like.
I stand in the lob, done and finished but unsure where to go for the now.  Middle of the workday, clearing the local airstrip of weeds and debris; besides that, my mate’s coat is still on the hook, meaning he’s probably still in for his check-up.  White – his name, that is – is in for a blood exam or two, what with the last weekend and all.  Asking me about my know-how of the HIV and its symptoms and such.  White as a sheet over the whole thing, pardon the expression.  Who knew that girl was a pro?  In the Yukon, of all places!  Well, work is work, but you’ve got to look out for your friends; so I take a seat in the lob and grab myself a Food and Wine, for lack of much else to dick over.  And it strikes me {looking over some Fourth-of-July steak special recipes} that the old doc never donned a pair of gloves, mulling me over as he did.
“Dirty world,” is all I can say to that; and I feel an awful urge to go and wash in the lav.

15 January 2011

Scroungy Pasta Surprise

So I was rooting around in the fridge in search of a proper lunch, but I'll be damned if there was much of anything.  What we did have turned out to be the makings of a fine sauce...

Preparation time:  about ten minutes
Serves:  two human beings or one hungry bachelor
Pairing:  white wine or light beer

What you require:
{imagination, foremost}
half of an onion
three baby bella mushrooms {or tinned equivalent}
two cloves garlic
an old roma tomato
a handful of spaghetti {mottling with yellow age in the cupboard, no doubt}
a semi-used container of alfredo sauce {the variety of which is unimportant}
a spice cabinet and olive oil

Directions:  start boiling a mid-sized pot half-filled with water {with a glob of oil and dash of salt in the mix} and begin chopping your veg.  I try to get four or five fair-sized slices out of each baby bella; chop the onion and tomato as you prefer.  Mash one clove of the garlic with your kitchen knife.  Heat a small skillet with some oil {I start on HIGH} and drop in your onion and mashed garlic as the pot meanwhile nears boiling temperature.  I like to add fennel seed at this point, if you've got it.  There should be one or two minutes of HIGH-frying before you need to add your pasta to the pot, at which point turn the skillet down to a MED setting.  Add mushrooms {to the pan} and let fry on one side, then the other; cook until they are tender and slightly browned, and add your tomato and a dash of Italian herb {every kitchen has it}.  Check your pasta to make sure it is not clumped together at the bottom of the pot.  If it tends to clump {i.e. fuse together in an inedible collection} you may need to either add more oil or stir on occasion in future.  When the noodles are limp, but not quite done {gritty to taste} add your sauce to the skillet and any necessary pepper or seasonings you may further require, and turn down to MED-LOW.  Once your pasta is done-and-drained, crush and add your remaining garlic clove with a little oil, salt, herb, and black pepper, {all to taste as before} and mix well.  Serve up on plates or perhaps bowls {depending on how much sauce you've made}, adding said sauce last.  It being an alfredo, no parmesan should be necessary.  And revel in your culinary salvage!

14 January 2011

"Der Schmutzen"

"Mind the minors, plea-uzz!"
Bear in mind that Gordon is an unseemly clean individual.  One might go so far as to say he is ‘O.C.D.’ about things, but a more pejorative {and thereby more accurate} description would be ‘anally retentive.’  Nomenclature aside, he wears gloves to do the dishes, irons his jeans, owns a feather duster, and carries hand sanitizer with him in his jacket pocket.  He is a model tenant at the Walton Arms apartment complex, and had he any friends they would likely agree his apartment is kept in a perfect, probably fashionable order.  Well-groomed and orderly as Gordon may be, and as clean-cut a mid-level manager as the Fred Meyer has ever had, for all intents and purposes the man leads a thoroughly miserable personal life.  No sex, you see.  Whether this is the cause or an effect of Gordon’s aforementioned cleanliness is anyone’s guess.  What is certain is that, thirty-four and unbedded, unhappy Gordon’s life takes a drastic turn the day he misses his morning shower. 
The day is a Tuesday, mid-February.  Naked down to his immaculate ¾ inch sideburns, a routine turn of the spigot produces an unexpected absence of water.  There is a slight befuddled pause, then an absent minded and equally unfruitful twist of the second spigot.  Confusion transforms to concern; the time is now 7.21.  In thirty-seven minutes Gordon should be at the corner bus stop, or else be late for work.  He rushes about the tidy, conservatively sized apartment checking the taps {which are likewise dry} and {braving the winter snow in his bathrobe} the hose outside.  No water.  He phones the water company {#8 on his speed dial}, but the lines are busy.  7.39.  Time is running short.  He smells himself, but finds only a faint odor of skin.  He is unshaven, but not noticeably so.  It will have to do, he sighs to himself as he brushes his teeth using a bottle of water from the fridge.  He doffs his neatly pressed business casuals and jets out the door in a state of mild discomfort and mental disorder. 
The dull blue bus with the large dirty windows pulls in on time, unusually filled with morning people.  Our hero winces as he grabs hold of a hand-rail, squished against these unsanitary strangers.  He notes with distaste a vagranty-looking old man sitting in Gordon’s usual seat at the front, doubtlessly farting it up good.  The bus lurches forward and Gordon jostles backward, bumping into the girl behind him.  He has seen her many times on this bus, and has never found a reason to talk to her.  Plain of face and bosomy, possibly married.  “Pardon me,” he tells her off-handedly with the merest turn of his head.  From the corner of his eye he thinks she may have smiled at him.  They graze limbs and bump bodies several more times, he apologizing and she at last assuring him that “It’s no problem.”  He leaves the bus in a curiously giddy mood, temporarily forgetting his unwashed state.  The spacious Fred Meyer lot is full of cars and trucks and the various vehicular dinosaurs that rule the earth, with streams of unkempt folk rushing in or lumbering out with cases of water.  Inside he hears the dreadful news:  a blown water main may not be fixable for a week or more, leaving the entire town high and dry.
Only able to buy one case of spring water amid the chaos, Gordon faces the unhappy fact that showers are hereafter impossible for the time being.  He sleeps uneasily the night, the feeling of crawling uncleanliness covering him.  Nightmares and vague visions of filth and decay rollick his evening, and by morning he is too tired to really care about his scent, much less brush his teeth.  He catches the once-again typically half-filled bus and, remembering the incontinent old man from the day before, looks for a new seat.  There are few to choose from however, but the bosom-woman sits alone on the side-bench.  He drops beside her and his heartbeat quickens at the prickening sensation of two fleshes in near proximity.  She smiles at him again and he possibly says good morning, mumbling nervously.  The bus pulls ahead and now she brushes into him.  “We can’t stop bumping into each other,” she says to him pleasantly.  “I don’t mind,” he replies in all honesty and immediately feels stupid; unclean and self-conscious.  Gordon can hear her sniffing, and remembers that he hasn’t showered in two days.  He must reek to high heaven!  Sniffing up his odor and probably judging his lame remarks; he wishes he hadn’t sat here, but the crusty old man and his bean gas… “My name is Sue,” Sue tells him, in what manner?  More than pleasantly in the ordinary run of things, he knows.  But in what way, he cannot quite figure out.  He tells her his name, and they get to talking about things he will not remember when he disembarks.  When Gordon steps into the Fred Meyer his only thought is that they have a coffee date later that afternoon. 
That night, for the first time in his life Gordon has sex with another person, a bosomy plain-faced woman named Sue.  He does not quite remember how it all ‘went down’ {as his employees at the Meyer would often say when recounting their own exploits} but when he wakes up with her next to him in bed, he feels dirty.  A good, pleasant kind of dirty, like one might feel after a hard day’s toil in the garden.  For the first time in his life, Gordon feels like a manly man, or something thereabouts.  They have sex again when she awakes, then board the bus together.  The hefty driver raises his eyebrows and grins afterwards with all three chins as they sit down.  Yes, Gordie {she had called him Gordie in the night} feels like a man.  “I fucked her rotten,” his smile announces to the world.  And the raunchy smile widens as the sex escalates thereafter throughout the week.  Dirty, sweaty stuff; things Gordie used to ponder over as a younger man {or older boy, as he recollects it}.  Tit-fucking.  Ass-ramming.  Italian chandeliering.  Sixty-nining {a term he still cannot figure out}.  At work he quietly asks some of his cashiers for ‘moves,’ which they are more than happy to divulge with a nasty relish.  And Gordie notices the women eyeing him, in the good sort of way.  “They know it, too,” he tells himself.  And he begins to eye them back as well.
And then the water returns.  Having not washed in six days, Gordie feels slightly out of place in the shower.  For one thing, Sue is in it with him, letting him play with her rubbery wet tits as she lathers his hair.  But the hot water feels grand and the sweet smells of soap and shampoo are refreshing.  And as the two lovers towel each other off a funny thing happens.  Sue has to go rather abruptly, and catches the 2.28 bus home.  Gordie thinks nothing of it {after all, she had been there most of the past week!}, but the next day Sue has ‘things to do,’ with an unpleasant, abstracted look on her face.  The women stop eyeing him as well, and once again Gordon’s life takes an unhappy turn.  Worse yet than before, he has what he can only call the Hunger.  His bed has never felt so empty, the apartment never so lifeless and small.  He goes over it in his mind, again and again to no avail.  Life reverts to emptiness in a way he recognizes as his own, but had never before noticed.  Shower.  Bus.  Work.  Bus.  Eat.  Sleep. Shower.  Days drag by, and his heightened interest in women only serves to make their passing the more painful. 
It is during one of his introspective morning showers that the idea hits him:  the showers!  The fastidious cleanliness is the only factor that differentiated Gordon’s lifetime from the halcyon week of the Gordie.  It makes no sense, but in his spiritual desperation it is the only explanation he can think of.  In a fantastical sort of way he seems faced with a crisis of existence; either he gives up washing or he lives out his life with the sexless Hunger, unfulfilled and clean.  The decision is made in the stale fluorescent lighting of his tiny bathroom, sealed in the basement with a wrench as Gordon permanently shuts off the water flow to his apartment.  A vow is made, to never wash again and to live the life of pleasure that it might afford.  Just as before, the transition is almost exponential.  The Hunger becomes filled, simply vanishes.  If there were any doubts before, Gordie finds an inverse relationship between his hygiene and his inexplicable appeal to the opposite sex.  More than just a full-time gig, sex and filth become a sort of spiritual pairing that propels him onward with an unforeseen self-confidence.  The sheer quantity of women in need of this newfound spiritual fellowship demands Gordie’s complete preoccupation.  There are plenty of them about; ones with prettier faces, bigger {or adversely, smaller} tits, nicer asses, and heartier appetites than he had known with Sue.  Life becomes a celebration of the physical and the raunchy, a glorification of all the schmutz he'd been warned against.
The metamorphosis is complete and all-encompassing.  Not for want of presentability, but for sheer lack of presence the Fred Meyer stops calling for him, with the eventuality that his rent goes unpaid.  The inevitable loss of his apartment does not bother Gordie.  It was a miserable, overkempt pit of sadness, as far as he can recall.  “Possessions are empty comforts,” he might have proclaimed had he the time or presence of mind to ruminate such things.  In any case the matter is moot; he finds himself shacking up for a day or two here and there, living and shagging where he may by want of necessity.  Everywhere; in the backs of cars, motel rooms, park shrubbery, stairwells, playgrounds, laundry rooms, sidewalks, and public lavatories.  Rampant and non-stop, like some sort of living, breathing, fucking Axe commercial.  He has come beyond the edge of the commonplace, an irresistible insatiable fucking machine; a sexual demi-god of urban mythology.   And for once and forever, he is happy.


“Begin the procedure.”  The Doctor is now in charge and the prison orderlies act promptly.  The Warden, the Chaplain, and several staff stand to one side and watch silently.  The Chaplain clutches his bible close to his chest uncomfortably; it always feels heavy at an execution.  Prisoner 213478 has been brought in from death row on a gurney, strapped down and buckled tightly, though his head remains free.  At first he looks around in a panic as the orderlies rush here and there, tubes and jars and equipment in their hands.  But slowly his eyes settle on the stuffy Chaplain.  Then the Warden, standing there with so much silent pomp and superiority and that perpetually-curled lip.  Neither return his stares, with a pronounced disdain.  At last his eyes settle on the Doctor, who cannot help but look back.  The interest transcends professional or medical necessity; it feels more like a personal matter to him.  Every death is for the good of society, and the Doctor feels a grim satisfaction in the part he plays.
213478 was once a strong man, certainly before imprisonment.  Yes, the Doctor can see just by looking at him why he ended up incarcerated; in his heyday he must have been quite the threat. Even now he seems a menace, strong jawed and sharp-nosed, with those aggressive brows and icy blue eyes.  His cheeks have since hollowed out and his uniform seems oversized and ill-fit.  His skin is pale and dry-looking; sickly, in fact.  But that’s how they all look after a while, the Doctor shrugs as he prepares the first injection.  It is a small dose of anesthetic phencyclidine, to numb without altogether removing 213478 from consciousness.  An IV is inserted into his hand and taped down; the Doctor administers the drug and watches as 213478 reacts, first with a start, then with a shift as his body sinks into a malaise.  Devoid of his muscle-mass and drugged up, 213478 seems rat-like and sinister.  Not even sinister; simply untrustworthy and unlikable.
The IV is flushed with saline solution, the orderlies monitor his heart rate and vitals, and the Doctor prepares the next stage of injections.  The bottle of tubocurarine chloride looks like the others in the cabinet, benign and rather dull.  A regular dose of this has been found to slow down the body’s breathing; larger doses shut it down entirely.  The doctor prepares something that should act just short of this and injects it.  213478 stares vacantly at the ceiling, scarcely there at all anymore.  Just a body taking up valuable gurney space.  What an age, the Doctor marvels, where a human being can be reduced to nothing with a few small injections.  Would that all life’s problems be solved by science!
“Could we hurry this up?” the Warden asks through a yawn.  A staffer plays with the buttons on his jacket while the Chaplain shifts from foot to foot, looking rather uncomfortable.  The Doctor just dismisses them with a wave of his hand; one cannot rush science.  He prepares the final injection, from a bottle whose label he has rather unprofessionally penciled a cartoonish death’s head on.  The potassium chloride has a uriney quality, yellow and thin-looking.  The Doctor prepares a lethal dose of it as 213478 continues looking off in an unconcerned stupor.  He is miles away, to be sent indefinitely farther.  A sort of permanent exile, for the betterment of society.  He will not be missed.  None of them will.
“Goodbye, you monster.”  The Doctor injects the lethal piss into 213478, who anticlimactically seems dead already.  He sputters once, then dies.  The orderlies swoop in unceremoniously to remove the IV and prepare the body for removal.  “He’s dead,” the Doctor tells the Warden.  With a curt nod and a peremptory “Heil Hitler” he and his staff and the Chaplain exit the room.  The Doctor watches as the orderly wheels 213478 out through a different door, toward the crematorium.  He puts his bottles back into the cabinet and locks it, wondering if anything useful might be gained from the vitals.  At the very least, they’ve developed a procedure superior to the crude hangman’s rope.  Scientific, and far more civilized.

Early Morning Epiphany

So I sit here with my cuppa, a sizeable thought on my lips.  “America’s problem is…”
First off, one has to suppose there is a problem.  I mean, merely flip on the news or turn on the radio {talk- or Top 40, if you get me} and percolate for twenty minutes; one quickly gets the impression there is a problem.  So this in mind, {and realizing that this is going to be a generalization on a rather grand scale} in general terms one can infer it’s a problem of dissatisfaction.  For simplicity’s sake, lump America into two halves, say {and I do; really, the American middle classers tend to lump themselves in either one of two directions, being upper- or lower-} a ‘high’ and ‘low’ classation[i].  The lower end of the spectrum possesses all the wonderful amenities and entertainment devices our civilisation has to offer.  Despite this, there persists this gnawing sensation of unhappiness that pervades the cultural scene.  Without realizing it, perhaps, these people are unsatisfied with the kit and I daresay want the caboodle; the status, the sense of accomplishment, the money.  Always that one extra thing…
Little might they realize that, up on the high side of things, the folk with both caboodle and kit are likewise unsatisfied[ii].  Money they may have, but only in a perceived state of precarity.  Many worries cloud the financial stability they’ve built:  investments, mortgages, Taxes, potential court action, credit repayment, monthly-rate services; a seemingly endless list.  Money they may have, but it never seems to be enough and as easily as it comes it seems to disappear as easily {or moreso} as it came.  And really there’s not much to show for it, at the end of the day.  All the sweat and cramps and worry and people stepped on, and for what?  Virtually the same kit as even the most modest income-generator.  The brands may be nicer, the functions more diverse, the car more exotic, but as evening falls they still have the same 250 channels to watch.  Simply put, ‘success’ and ‘hard work’ apparently afford few extra comforts, and little peace of mind.  To wit, a recent study indicates that the average household ‘happiness’ does not increase beyond a salary of $75,000[iii].
It’s an easily overlooked piece of information, but we are the most fortunate nation IN THE WORLD TO DATE, IN THE HISTORY OF EVER, at least in terms of palpable wealth and ease of living.  And yet the world is never enough.  No, a circular and somewhat paradoxical unhappiness persists, fed in large part by a system of commerce and media that simply[iv] feeds off of the ideas it sows.  Insecurity.  Entitlement.  Comfort.  Status.  Et cetera.  All illusory and preying on people’s ego and their collective bewilderment {misplaced, I say} that this is indeed it.  It begets a phantom frustration, an anger which few know where to vent for lack of a clear source.  They do so through the only mediums they have available; viz. the political scheme that {not to sound cynical and/or paranoid} essentially fronts the aforementioned system of commerce/media.  Not to say these things are necessarily bad; grains of salt, bad-and-good-and-all like.  It’s just that there are far too few voices out there suggesting that we’re doing alright.  That it’s a matter of perspective, and requires a due amount of patience and understanding and such to mend what problems we do have.  Perhaps there are plenty of said voices; perhaps they are merely drowned out by the cries for blood and of fire and falling skies and communist takeovers.  Just remember that there’s more to life than lower taxes {i.e. a quick ‘fix’} and bigger TV’s.  In light of recent events it becomes important to remember that all the shouting and muckraking is merely political manipulation for the short game.  In all it’s nothing to get bent out of shape about, regardless of what tantalizing promises and exaggerated threats are made. 


[i] I know, I know… new word.
[ii] If political rhetoric is any indication.  Mind, these are all only impressions of the general climate.
[iv] Actually, it’s quite complex.

06 January 2011

Phenomenal Leek Soup

There's more to life than short stories and depravity; in addition to drinking coffee, I enjoy a bit of cooking now and then.  I don't know about the rest of you, but before doing a bit of bitterly cold pub-crawling I enjoy a spot of good soup and bread.  Here's a recipe I've tried from off of the http://www.aftouch-cuisine.com site[i], with only a few minor alterations.

Preparation time:  about 45 minutes
Serves:  fourish

Y'all {the royal You} will need:
3/4# leeks [about 4]
3/4# potatoes [I use Yukon Gold]
3 oz butter [lightly salted]
1 1/4 cup of heavy cream
2 litres water
some thyme and two bay leaves
salt and black pepper to taste
Optional Ingredients:
1 cup chopped fresh mushroom
1/2 chopped sweet vidalia onion
1 clove garlic
croutons & cheese to garnish

Directions:  finely chop up your leeks {keeping the white and whitish bits} and potatoes {I keep the skins on mine}.  In your pot, melt the butter and add yon leeks.  Cover and let simmer for 5 or 6 minutes.  Add the potatoes, water, et al and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 30-35 minutes.  If you planned to have garlic bread etc. on the side {recommended!} you may take this time to prepare it.  Fish out your bay leaves and {this is important} stir in the cream until fully incorporated.  VoilĂ !  Garnish with ample whathaveyou, and enjoy.

[i] A fantastic collection of recipes, by the way.  If you like French cuisine, give’r a go.

05 January 2011

“The Debate”

"Mind the minors, plea-uzz!"
So the five of us {being myself, B-dawg, Short, JK, and Blitz} sat around B-dawg’s room at the Cappas, smoking the shisha.  I’d been with them for most of the afternoon, sipping back on cold lagers and taking a brief leave of absence every forty minutes or so.  I’d just returned from one such constitutional as their discussion {i.e. the superior children’s cereal mascot in a ‘battle royale’ setting} was reaching its conclusion.  Short was discoursing to Blitz on the inescapable versatility of Lucky the Leprechaun’s magical powers, to which the latter did retort “Naw, but Tony’s a fucking tiger!”  Hear-hears were proffered round the room and B-dawg made a motion for an end to that particular conversation.  The motion was carried by all and lagers liberally spread.  The hookah was passed to me, I recall, as JK struck up the next topic.  He posed to the group two questions, viz:  is it homosexual practice for a man to handle his own genitals?  Resounding nays flowed from the group, to which his second question was given:  whether it was similarly manly, non-homosexual practice for a man to fellate himself.  I love those moments when a body of intellectuals pause thoughtfully to ponder a thing; it is as though one can hear the thinking process through the common silence.  “Depends on what you’re thinking about,” Short at length quipped.  I believe I wondered aloud whether it would be possible to imagine a woman on the one hand, while not likewise visualizing the penis in one’s mouth.  Various ideas were shared, and differing opinions voiced with no real conclusion to our little paradox being made.  Finally it was B-dawg who took our discussion on a different tack.  “Can anyone here do it?”  Another thoughtful pause, myself wondering why I’d never tried the thing before, hoping I hadn’t unwittingly missed out on a whole new level of masturbatory exercise.  I was mentally running through the possible mechanics {while likewise still mulling over our earlier paradox} when Blitz finished off his lager and stated “I can.”  The claim seemed dubious enough to be disbelieved by all.  Ever the inquisitive one, it was B-dawg who suggested he “Prove it.”  And ever rising to the challenge, Blitz punctured a new can of lager and quaffed it down {called ‘shot-gunning’ in such circles} and proceeded to remove his pants.  What followed was the proof in Blitz’s pudding, an academic triumph for the evening.  However the performance raised an additional question as to whether, gay practice or no to perform such a thing, is it a particularly homosexual thing to watch.  “No more so than if he were masturbating,” JK stoutly argued.  We were all in hearty agreement, and in that spirit ventured out to go {as B-dawg so enthusiastically put it} “bash some real queers.”  We grabbed our cudgels from the door pledge and sang our way into the darkness of the campus, little realizing that these halcyon days of college would someday come to an end.