“If wishes and buts were cherries and nuts, we’d all have a merry Christmas,” or so says 1/3 of Buttertooth whenever I prattle on about what I’m wishing for this holiday season. But in this case, he’s right: our wishes and buts have turned into cherries and nuts in this updated version of our holiday classic . . . and dang it if we won’t have a merry Christmas….
It’s that time of year when the world falls in love . . . with texture: the velvety smoothness of cashmere, the cashmere-y richness of velvet, the rich itch of warm wool, fuzzy and impractical throws . . . really anything I can layer upon my body to keep my fingers from snapping off with cold. I don’t care if the textures match or are technically in season (“Florals for spring? Groundbreaking.”)—I want them all, and I want them now. And not just textiles. Throw in a goose who lays a golden, soft-boiled egg, and you’ve got yourself a Veruca Salt-ed rim ramen. And what about Santa-grias or mulled wines or smoky drinks? Let’s live it up, y’all!…
I might have a problem, which is that I’m addicted to pickling. I want to pickle everything, and foods that aren’t pickled no longer hold any appeal. Carrots don’t taste the same, and sandwiches lose their thrill without that vinegary crunch. I’m like a cheap parody of Fred Armisen squealing, “I can pickle that!” because, really, I can, and I have. I’m of course not talking about those mondo pickles hipsters seem intent on throwing in my face or that memetic woman in the pickle suit feeds to her camera crew. I want artisanal pickles utilizing special ingredients like beet juice or rice vinegar. I want you to dip an entire prix fixe menu from Jean-Georges into this pickling liquid, and let me eat it my underwear. …
Dear readers, at long last I’ve decided to settle an argument that has been dividing this nation for years. I’ve held my tongue, kept my opinions close, and refrained from adding my voice to the din. I said to myself, I said, “What good could it possibly do? I don’t want to hurt my dear friends and family, nor do I want to align myself with some of the more . . . vocal proponents of this albeit correct opinion.” But, this October, I’m compelled, nay, called to reveal the truth to you, dear readers: Nightmare Before Christmas is—most assuredly—a Halloween movie….
One of my favorite platitudes is “don’t reinvent the wheel.” I mean, who has the time to reinvent anything when there are naps to take and George R.R. Martin books to abandon halfway through (sadly this is true for both reader and author)? And it’s so practical. Why reinvent something already perfect in its simplicity? Take the shirt. The shirt is a marvel of human innovation, with or without sleeves. We don’t need to cut out its shoulders. In fact, I’m not sure anyone has ever uttered the phrase, “This feels like a real shoulders-out moment to me,” except for maybe Emily from Pretty Little Liars. And to her I’ll say, “Your shoulders are cold, girl. They are cold.”…
I think it was Demi Moore who once said, “You can’t go home again.” While I don’t personally subscribe to this philosophy and have loved returning home ever since I first left it (especially with a full laundry basket and a checking account in the tens place), I understand the sentiment. Sometimes home is a memory, and those can be impossible to re-create . . . unless, of course, most of your significant memories involve food—as ours do. Then, home is a kitchen to which you can return frequently, armed with enough cheese, bread, and wine to warm the heart of even the most stoic 90s anti-hero. I see you smoking in that swing set, Demi….
This dip might not be Christ on a cracker, but it’s pretty darn close. We recently served it at a catered event for Docomomo Hawaii, a group of architecture nerds devoted to cataloguing and preserving midcentury buildings here on Oahu. When they asked us for food to fit this particular interest, we were in the kitchen lighting Twinkies on fire faster than you can say “Cold War canapes.” That’s a great band name, so don’t you steal it….
It’s summer, and around this time our few favorite shows go on hiatus and we’re left relying on Netflix and the occasionally brilliant bit of summer programming. Emphasis on occasionally. The only show we actively look forward to once the temperature dial creeps upward is MasterChef. Ok, I see the many ways in which it’s overproduced, and yes, I hear the terribly cheesy music meant to indicate suspense, but here is a show for me: the home cook. I love Top Chef and have ever since it first aired—I’m talking before they asked Katie Lee to pack her knives and go, but that is a show about chefs and ego and food that while, I may want to eat, I also don’t know if I want to make in my kitchen. But MasterChef is about cooks like us, ones who are interested in pushing their boundaries, but within the context of a home kitchen. When I watch it, I think about what an interesting mentor Gordon Ramsey makes. Here’s a guy who introduced himself to the United States on Hell’s Kitchen, screaming and cursing the whole time. He’s staked a reputation as the culinary Simon Cowell, but with, like, a crap ton more f-bombs. Yet, on Masterchef, he exhibits moments of humanity and true mentorship. And, no matter the amount of heated kitchen trash he talks, I’m certain every person he’s worked with has been influenced by him in one way or another. MasterChef is doing fine and doesn’t need my endorsement, but, whenever I watch it, I think of the past cooks who have mentored me. And, really—after my mother—there is only one….
We all follow certain unspoken rules: like holding the door open for the person directly behind you; or, the more discreet rule, wherein most folks with good sense have agreed not to validate Carrot Top and the majority of his life choices. And then there are the rules more specific to particular demographics, such as not serving white wine with waffles nor wearing closed-toed shoes after Memorial Day. For the sake of clarity, I ignore the former and follow the latter. To a toe-shaped tee. In this household, Micah’s created the inexplicable rule of not eating sandwiches for dinner. As a person who can—not only eat sandwiches at any time of day, let alone eat them literally at every sanctioned meal—I honestly don’t get it. His standards, however, have influenced all of us, and I applaud him as soon as my hands are free of all the sandwiches I’ve recently shoved into my mouth….
Cinco de Mayo is Thursday, and, since my boyfriend is Mexican-American, I look forward every year to butchering the traditions of his people while catching a light buzz….