so when i’m too dimwitted and lethargic to feel like i can do proper justice to a real review or even a gastro-historically trivial flounceabout (direct English translation of flaneur, for you peons), i’ve decided i’ll just talk about what i’m currently eating, or once made or ate. partly this will serve to justify (to strong a word) the obsession i fell into last year of photographing pretty much every meal i made, but more so it will demonstrate my limitless egotism by providing sketches of delicious things i’ve made, with no pretense of really helping you to make them yourself.
i am house- and cat- sitting currently, and thus at the mercy of someone else’s pantry, which would be more exciting a prospect were it not my brother, who i’ve been able to discern lives mostly off coffee and peaches and frozen pizza. the presence of tahineh and canned chick peas suggests that he makes hummous occasionally, which suggests further that i should likely add chips or some species of flatbread to the above menu.
anyway, forseeing such limitations, i thought far enough ahead to bring from my own freezer a jar of mysterious unlabelled soup, which turned out (in thrilling testament to the occasional accuracy of my memory) to be some manner of – as i further recalled as not very successful – cream (well, soyish) of onion, along with whatever was beginning to wilt in the fridge. first taste: tolerable, thankfully the separation of the soy milk (hideous) subsided back into creaminess after a few minutes of simmering, but certainly lacking in either flare or the surefooted heartiness that would render flare unnecessary.
“clearly,” i say to myself, “what better to root this fucker than a robust serving of stinky old turnip?” so IN WITH THE TURNIP (after boiling and mashing with a few cloves of garlic)! and IN WITH A DOLLOP OF CREAM CHEESE (for tartness), IN WITH A SQUEEZE OF LEMON JUICE and, uh……what…oh right, the (still soft, but impressively dense and chewy) ass end of a loaf of black olive + rosemary bread i absconded with from a friend’s birthday dinner, which i broke into chunks and toasted up with a drizzle of olive oil before topping off the bowl of soup with ’em. see, this shit is good, and yes, technically croutons, but i still have this weird insoluble association of the word “crouton” with those hateful uniform cubes of utterly dry, chemical-parmesan-tasting toast (the rape of toast, dare i say it) that average restauranteurs/ses subject us to all too shamelessly.
and i know from shameless. i prefer to think of them as confused dumplings than excellent croutons.
but still my soup drooped on my tongue. it was so much closer, and loosely satisfactory, but as the phrase “loosely satisfactory” implies (or you know, means), there was room for improvement – a blank spot on the palette mewling however feebly to be filled in, with flare, no less.
so, as is often the case when faced with doubt, my mind turned to alcohol, specifically, after a quick survey of my brother’s stores, vodka!
now i can feel all your fingers’ involuntary shudders along your mousewheels, and believe me, i would have sooner chosen red wine had it been an option, but the vodka was really good, and all it required to balance out the flavours sufficiently to spur me to write this longwinded, turgid and self-indulgent piece of nonsense was a final dollop of onion/concord grape jam. in summation, smooth, rich, earthy, with just that bit of pungency lent by the turnips and vodka (which on the tongue encircled without ever fully assimilating into one or the other, like two mystical dragons lazily and playfully feinting at each other as they glide through an amber sky) but with a mild sweetness providing the after-notes to the initially intense volley of the onion jam topping. oh man, and the dumpling? boo yah.
1. onion jam or jelly, not necessarily cut with fruit, homemade or storebought (preferably from a store which is an old woman hawking her wares from a shack made out of old tires and industrial wreckage, or like, a farm or whatever) is an invaluable condiment to have around. both for your own quotidian enjoyment, and because it makes you seem like a high roller.
2. when in doubt, add or imbibe booze.
3. and for god’s sake, believe in yourself.