All posts filed under: Food

Food should only startle in a good way.

The pretentious saudade sandwich.

“How much bread do we have?” I pawed through the rumpled empty-ish but not quite bags of bread on the bottom shelf of the fridge. That’s the anti-mold area. “Four slices.” And that’s how it started. Simple enough. Four slices of stale but not yet sticky or fuzzy New York rye with seeds. (Tip: rye bread takes FOR-EVER to get moldy in the fridge. It hardens first. Always edible with some mandibular exercise.) I’m pretty sure the staleness would have been called for if this had been a hipster recipe and not happenstance. Let’s call this the first whiff of pretension. Staled New York Rye. The WideEyedSpouse grabbed his refrigerator pickles off the shelf-that-is-not-broken on the fridge door. He made them from scratch with local-grown pickling cucumbers purchased from the youngest son at a family farm stand at the local farmers market. Another pretension aromatic wafting through the kitchen. He plopped a few tablespoons of Trader Joe’s something-sickeningly folksy all-natural mayo into a bowl with an assortment of smoked peppery things from the spice cabinet. …

Independence Day.

Thanks to the bold minds and brave signers of the Declaration of Independence, and their willingness to see it through we are here now:  equal, free of abuses, repeated injuries,  and usurpations from Government, free of a Government which refuses to pass laws, free from the obstruction of justice, free of taxation without representation…er. Ok. Well. Thanks to the bold minds and etc. etc. were here now: basking in a glorious summer day of picnics and simply joys. The people of the WideEyedHousehold came of age in one of the New Jersey shore towns, working to serve the holidays of one hundred thousand city-folk. Now, we wallow in the quietude and privacy of a day of independence, without obligation. Sweet Tibbit the Useless-Little-Black dog waits patiently for more raspberries to ripen on the thicket in back yard. She already harvested all within reach using her front nibble teeth, stretching her neck, balancing her dainty toes on the edges of the raised beds to reach more. Hamish watches, pretty sure this is Not Allowed but not sure …

Rain Delay

We lost the Mini to car fever yesterday. The WideEyedSpouse struggled heroically for months. Yesterday he succumbed. Yesterday, a bright sunny day perfect for painting a century home, we spent in the air-conditioned comfort of a car dealer’s showroom. The Mini stayed there. We left to rearrange the snow shovels in the garage to fit the new WideEyedMobile. “Tomorrow we’ll work on the house all day,” the Spouse said, staring dreamily in at his new ride. But. Rain. Guilt-less, feck-less, fancy-free we fled the Homestead with our Niagara Wine Trail Passports (thanks WideEyedMLB!) in hand and turned left and right for an hour or more, heading east and north into rural western New York. We crossed and crisscrossed the Erie Canal. We skirted Lake Ontario. We saw old houses tumbling down, fixing up, and hovering undecided in a state of quasi-repair. Trucks and Chevys from oldy-time hid half under tarps – rusty butt ends sticking out. Kids played in puddles, trailers huddled in clusters on abandoned farm fields. We breathed deeply of non-city air and …

Pulled pork eight ways since Sunday

The WideEyedSpouse smoked a ten pound pork shoulder over the weekend. I mean that exactly. Over the weekend. It was a 16 hour process, not including the preparation of the rub, the annual smoker cleanse, the pre-smoke meat rest, the post-smoke meat rest, and the actual pulling of the pork. The smoking aromas were intoxicating. Enticing. I told the Spouse that it was like I had traveled to some city with a BBQ reputation and I was in line for some of the good stuff. All day. As it turns out, ten pounds of raw pork shoulder equals about seven pounds of smoked pulled pork. For two people. We are now two days out from the initial meal of pulled pork sandwiches, Memphis style. I have eaten: Pulled pork on a plate, Pulled pork out of Tupperware, Pulled pork sandwiches, again, Pulled pork snackies for evening peckishness. There are half pound pulled pork packets in the freezer for future delights such as pulled pork chili, pulled pork omelets, pulled pork fried rice, pulled pork tacos, pulled pork …

The meatballs are in the crockpot.

The outside world was a rude -6°F this morning. The dogs wasted no time out there during morning walkies. They failed utterly to enjoy the hard, crystal blue sky and sparkling snow. Fair enough. I am appreciating it from my office window. Death dealing icicles are dangling from every house for blocks. One neighbor has glaciers forming in the deep vee swales of his roofline, the forward ends are ten-foot long broadswords aiming for earth. Or his car. Because he parks under them. The snow squeaks under feet and tires. The ground isn’t the ground anymore. We’ve all given up trying to clear sidewalks and driveways entirely – we’ve taken to forming a smooth surface of the trampled up, super frozen mass. My boots thunk on these elevated walkways. Miss Tibbit-The-Useless-Little-Black-Dog pees on them and it all disappears. She can’t be the only one. Melting day is going to be awesomely gross. Bleach down the neighborhood gross. In desperation I applied Swarovski Crystal tattoos this morning. They are tiny, wee crystals on adhesive. Now my cheek …

What happens when one of your top five take-out places gets a liquor license and installs a bar?

Nothing good and everything wonderful. Last weekend I was starving, STARVING after cleaning the house, doing the laundry, walking dogs, and visiting the car show. Sliding gracefully in and out of dreamy luxury sedans (I recommend the Audi A7 for sheer comfort and interior silence) and climbing into wee-electric cars (the Chevy Spark doesn’t feel real) works up an appetite. We stopped at a newer restaurant that’s supposed to be good  – a two hour wait and hairblowingly loud music in the bar. The WideEyedSpouse looked down his nose. “No. Much No.” We tried a BBQ joint. One hour and 15 minutes. Good food but not that good. Drove past our number one sandwich take-out joint. Closed. Friends, we were now out of our milieu. We were in downtown Buffalo after dark. Unusual. We were looking for food without a plan. Rare. We weren’t calling for pizza. Shocking. In fact, we had given up on the very notion of take-out. The universe shook and I was cast adrift, hungry, helpless, sad. The Mini motored us up …

The dogs will not have the last peanut butter cup.

The vastiness of the cosmos has been replaced by wonderment at the intricacies of mammalian interiors around here lately. The WideEyedLaundry is full of gored up shirts and khakis. My mind, in moments of distraction, traces ropey muscles, rubbery tendons, and white bones rather than the sparkle of faraway stars and dark matter. I imagine muscles flexing, tendons pulling, and mighty bison hooves stomping on dusty ground. A buffalo died at the zoo a week or two ago. The strange nature of my job calls on me to transform this creature from fur and flesh to clean, white skeleton. The process involves waterproof shoes, a U-Haul van rental, several students, many scalpels, and protective gloves. Defleshing a bison used to be normal. Well, not yesterday normal, not for me. But most of our human past required the ability to make dinner from something that used to be walking around. Personally make dinner, not abstract-grocery-plastic-wrapped-into-a-frying-pan-dinner. Now, it’s a little strange for most people. I just can’t help but notice the way things go together in there, …