Tuesday, June 21, 2011


So I've been writing this massive TMI post for a really long time, it's about Goth Music and Nick Cave. I want your thoughts. Take the poll?

A dream, with Themes

Thursday June 16.

I’m watching two huge, black, spiky dragons with riders in the grey sky over the ocean by the house. When you look closely you can see the riders are Chinese. To ride, they must grip each other with their arms around the other’s waist. They are wearing gold--And is there really a third? They try to get going, but suddenly one dragon and then the other disappears into thin air, leaving the riders to fall into the water. Before they even begin to fall, you see that with a wink the black dragons are gone from sight, but bright red serpentine streaks appear in the water and lash out of sight. All before the riders hit the water.

I look out to the three swimmers coming toward me. Eerily, they are all wearing identical Chinese* masks: a white face, closed eyes signified by an elegantly curving painted line. High forehead, squared off hairline and black cap of hair. The mouth moves, though, showing pink lips and white teeth as it opens and closes. The riders are wailing softly, as a sort of distress greeting, as they swim towards us. I think they are saying, “Way-la, way-la”.*

We open our home to them as guests. They are canny and handsome when they take off their masks; they have brought gifts. A mother and father and young son, maybe 3 or 4 years old, odd because I would have said that the dragon-riders in the air were father and grown son.

Among the things they bring inside (are they indeed gifts? Or just the family’s belongings?) is a tall lamp and a lampshade. In the confusion of bringing things into the house, I put the lampshade on my head to carry it, then go to look at myself in the mirror. The lampshade is tall, and green--the resemblance is to a witch’s hat/ pilgrim’s hat. I think that I look like a Dutch Master painting in the light from the hall and my white-wrapped bodice.

The young son is hungry--and in fact, amongst the talking and ceremony and language barrier, my family--my glamorous mother--has forgotten to care for the needs of the visitors. The child is the one really suffering. So with a look towards his mother I take the kid to go look for some food in the fridge. I know he wants rice with soy sauce, but not sure that we have that. But lo and behold in our fridge, in the back, are some prepared packaged Chinese dishes. I pull out some ones that don’t look too grown-up and fancy, and give them to the little boy.

*I'm using the word "Chinese" because that was how I thought of it in the dream. My knowledge of Eastern culture is extremely limited; so I honestly wasn't surprised to find that the closest representation of what I saw in my dream (at least on Google) was in fact Japanese. Above are Noh masks.

*The minute I woke up, this made me think of T.S. Eliot.

from "The Wasteland":

The river sweats

Oil and tar

The barges drift

With the turning tide

Red sails


To leeward, swing on the heavy spar.

The barges wash

Drifting logs

Down Greenwich reach

Past the Isle of Dogs.

Weialala leia

Wallala leialala

Elizabeth and Leicester

Beating oars

The stern was formed

A gilded shell

Red and gold

The brisk swell

Rippled both shores

Southwest wind

Carried down stream

The peal of bells

White towers

Weialala leia

Wallala leialala

Saturday, June 11, 2011

food blogs took over my life, but I try to make that less depressing with hilarious and excellent links

Thing I ate:
sandwich of two pieces toast (home-made bread, of course!), one fried egg (in bacon fat, of course!), generous handful chopped fresh parsley, ricotta cheese, and "onion jam".

Onion jam is what I call it when I make caramelized onions by hovering over the stove for about a million years watching a big pile of onions become small. The only thing you shouldn't do, and I know because Alton Brown on the food channel told me so, is add salt while it cooks, I'm not entirely clear on exactly what happens, but everyone says that salt will draw the water out of whatever you are cooking. Which with onions does make it go soft quicker, BUT I think instead of that, you want the water to evaporate more slowly out of the onion pieces themselves. You get more sticky-sugary onions instead of dried-out onions.

So there's that, which is very silly ("Oh, I just made a condiment myself, mmmm"). Plus the "Put a fried egg on it", which (amongst the food blogs I stalk) is a lot like "Put a bird on it". And bacon fat, don't get me started, I don't know how bacon became a trend, but it did. Don't care, it tastes great, nothing beats a bowl of nice bacon fat on your counter with a dead moth gelled in it, which you kind of scoop the fat out around for some reason instead of scooping the moth out.

And then the parsley is like how Nigella Lawson is always throwing huge handfuls of fresh parsley on everything. Parsley is weird because it doesn't actually taste like anything specific. It just tastes vaguely like an herb. It totally rocked this sandwich though and was just right. It is like cheating at lettuce: it tastes strong and herby so you don't put as much on as you would lettuce, but you still feel virtuous because you ate something green.

The difference between my sandwich and a real food blog sandwich (besides the dead moth) was that my ricotta cheese was store-bought. People who make their own cheese are always knocking store ricotta, but I fricken love it. I love the no-taste taste and the not-sweet sweet and the graininess and the wetness. Plus I feel a little bitter because I tried to make my own ricotta and I screwed it up and it didn't work.

I've never made a loaf of bread I didn't want to devour at a preposterous rate.

Here is the food blog that I read the very very most. I love it so much that the lady wrote a cookbook and I went to the store and bought it. I don't do that with books so much, for example when I wanted to read Twilight I walked to the bookstore every day and read Twilight in the store rather than buy the books. Good decision. Anyway, it rocks:

And up above, a bonus picture of some food that I made way in the past, but which I totally made from a recipe at Orangette. It is scones, and they were fabulous.

In other news, I wrote a terrible poem today while I was walking in the woods. The first line is, "I went for a walk in the woods". I leave you with that.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mardi Gras, Louisiana, part 1

I ought to at least write something about the trip I took in March. The most time I have ever spent in the most Southerly South I have visited.

Friday saw us (five women between the ages of 20 and thirty-five) using every seat in a trusty Subaru, with 3 fiddles, one banjo, one Lord Bateman crankie, one bag of chocolate-covered coffee beans, two tents, and some tightly packed fringy costumes in the back.
For sixteen hours we drove through rain, sleep, David Sedaris cds, and several states, arriving in Lafayette, Louisiana at 4 AM.

Everyone was asleep, so we spent several cracked-out minutes just kind of standing on the porch, knocking--someone actually opened the door to us, and then in his sleep-haze just went back inside and left us standing on the porch some more. We didn't care, we had nothing better to do.
Finally our gracious host emerged and we sat on the porch (instead of going to sleep?!) and a neighbor came by to talk about a neighborhood dog...then she drove off to get doughnuts & coffee & king cake for her yard sale, inviting us all to drop by later.
Her yard sale was starting at 5 am.

Yesssssssssssssssss the South.

Fast forward past the thunderstorms, learning how to two-step to live fiddle & accordion in the front yard mud-puddles, a tiny neighborhood parade with juggling & masks and a weird rolling cart.
Past camping out right next to a lake, and eating poboys seemingly for 3 meals a day (Poboys are a sandwich y'all, the concept is: pork or deep-fried seafood, white bread, lettuce & mayo optional). Even past the early-morning hog-butchering that I stumbled upon--actually, no. Not past that yet. It steamed. A little boy wandered around holding the eyes, and he didn't put them down the whole time I watched. When I walked up to the small crowd, the first thing I saw wasn't the carcass, it was the back of the head of a seated man. He was bald, and his baldness was tattooed with a Green Man peering out of the twirly leaves.

We went to a Lafayette bar/venue/dance hall/hostel, a tiny (maybe it only seemed tiny because it was so crowded) place where we always returned. It was called the Blue Moon. And that's when the dancing really started.

And then we didn't stop dancing for four days. I danced with more random men in one week than I have in my whole life put together.

We went to one of the best parties I have EVER attended in my life. Here are the things it included, and maybe that will help me try to replicate it:
-a whole pig
-a deep-fryer
-a really, really big carport (Carports are jamming's best friend)
-Ginny Hawker
-Tracy Schwartz
-A tiny drum set with, like, a washboard attached?
-A screened-in Gazebo with benches all around the sides
-home-made pralines
-duh, music
-a visit from a bus-load of children in home-made costumes and masks and conical hats, screaming, asking for money, and performing circle-dances for us, and chasing a chicken around the yard
-what could top that? what more could you want? food made of vegetables? Bah!

Screw it, why don't we just make this part 1 and get going with it some more soon?