Monday, September 12, 2005
Monday Lite: Blue Plate Special
People tell me I'm a negative person, but I'm not. I just hate everything. Everything. Like traffic and stop lights and heat and cold and noise and silence and cats and spinach and mice and spiders and all marsupials (give birth or lay an egg for Christ's sake, pick one) and earthquakes and hurricanes and Mike Myers (who apparently has nothing to say about the plight of black people, the smug, money-raising, script-adhering-to Canadian fuck) and the Dallas Cowboys and Liechtenstein (don't think we don't fucking see you) and eggplant. Man, do I hate me some eggplant.

Mostly right now I hate cookbooks. Want to know why? Because my wife works an hour's drive away, which means I get to cook. Since my kids are now old enough to express their displeasure at the House Specialty (Nothing on White Toast) which I serve four nights per week, I have to think of new shit to slave over just in time for them to complain about and then not eat.

The problem with cookbooks is that they always assume you know shit before you even crack them open. Like they assume you already have a repertoire of several dozen basic dishes, like they don't know you made it through college on an exclusive diet of quesadillas and Hormel's Famous Canned Horsemeat Chili.

So they can't just tell you how to make Sloppy Joes, no. They assume you already know how to make regular Sloppy Joes, so all the cookbooks--every fucking one of them--gives you Sloppy Joes with a twist. There is no worse phrase in the world of daily home cooking than "with a twist". "With a twist" usually means I have to find some kind of exotic animal, kill, skin, gut and debone it and then boil it all day to make a "base stock". They assure you you can freeze your leftover stock for later, but what other recipe out there requires me to use iguana stock? None, that's which one.

Most of the directions sound OK, but there's always one thing that's either really hard to do if you have less than 8 hours to prepare or involves some kind of rare, expensive and difficult to handle ingredient that alters the recipe, rendering it "unique" and thus justifying the twenty-five goddamn dollars you paid for their stupid cookbook. I don't want to make quince-and-chick-pea-petits-fours. Really. I don't. In fact, if I ever find out definitively what a "quince" is, I may kill myself.

So you want to make Sloppy Joes but the first ingredient is "1 1/2 lbs. of ground lamb".

Grand lamb? Seriously? You know what "the twist" is when you make Sloppy Joes with ground lamb? The twist is that they're no longer Sloppy Joes. I'm pretty sure if you make it with lamb, it automatically qualifies as Greek food, which means it had better come with pitas and tzatziki.

I guess what I'm saying is if it's going to end up ground into my carpet anyway, I want to be able to tell the man with the van-mounted hot-foam machine* what it is before I pay him $80 to clean it up.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 6.0


*= Steady, people, steady...


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