miscellany/etymology

Said I, “Do You Think we can Make a Supper for us Both on One Clam?”

i learned exactly nothing about cooking in the 5 years i worked in kitchens.

alright, not altogether true, but i did learn surprisingly little about how to cook things, and how to make delicious the things one was cooking, with the noteworthy exceptions of now knowing in some shadowy and cobwebbed corner of my brain how to make yoghurt and baklava, and that putting lettuce in a towel and whipping it around over your head is both more fun and more effective than using a salad spinner.

i also ate a lot of chowder. and i think about it sometimes, not because it was particularly delicious (although it was pretty delicious), but because for a short period of time back in the summer of 199? my life played host to a strange convergence of things maritime.

oh quel surprise, one might say, since i did live in on an island, in The Maritimes, but ask pretty much anyone and they’ll vouch for my being the Worst Maritimer In The World. my lack of accent, poor internal compass and inability to swim all worked against me in terms of ever being taken seriously as a native Islander, and fuck, i don’t know if i’ve ever even eaten a lobster. i don’t remember doing so, anyway, and i’m a big fan of tearing things apart with my hands, so you’d think i would. but i used to absolutely hate seafood as a young urchin.
with the exception of this miscellaneous seafood chowder, which i can distinctly remember eating, bowl balanced on my knees, reading (i kid you not) Chapter 15 of Moby Dick on the back steps of the kitchen, where mingle, as all current or ex-food-workers are familiar, the peculiar aromas of the kitchen with reeking garbage, old fryer fat and the unforgettable permeating stink of the dishpit. the foulness of the back lot aside, it was  sunny and calm and conducive to things like fond remembrances of warm, reassuring concrete, old and haggard and spotted with round smooth stones.

still further, i was at the time infatuated with and listening fanatically to Employer, Employee, a texan metalcore band who, improbably enough, had a 7″ entirely about seafaring, entitled “Mother Spain and The Wayfaring Myth.”

that’s all. it just came to me. thought you should know.

apologies for the dearth of updates, i’ve been busy sorting through old posts and editing them into something a little less bloggy for a print version of stillcrapulent (well, highlights) for hawking at Expozine this weekend. come get it so you’ll have something to read after the collapse of civilization (which is certainly taking its sweet time. whatever happened to peak oil, anyway?).

“you know it’s time to sail home / when all your conquests leave you starving and stranded / all courses plotted / encapsulated less than what was demanded / when tricks of scurvy begin bending bones/ and wanderlust no longer beleaguers the throne: give up the ghost…relax, conquistador / noble in your servitude / your crippling thirst hears not a stream / it’s just the sound of your stomach digesting itself.”

-“Cibola”

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2 thoughts on “Said I, “Do You Think we can Make a Supper for us Both on One Clam?”

  1. Pamela says:

    Hello, old friend. I liked this post! I do have memories of things like picking various berries/fruits/ferns to eat in the woods, of childhood summer days collecting mollusks upon which to feast, of sitting down to a newspaper and garbage bag-covered tables to gorge on lobster purchased from the same guy who plucked it from the ocean, and of buying shellfish/fish/fruits/vegetables from the back of a pick-up truck on the side of the road. But I always felt like those things were unusual compared to most of the sub/urban kids I generally fraternized with. It was only really among my weird relatives in Pictou that such “Maritime-y” food practices were considered common, in my experience.

    Anyway.

    I was at House of Spice this afternoon and a huge shipment of Mado’s had just come in! I picked up an extra bottle which I’ll keep safe for you until you visit next.

    It seems to have undergone a makeover of sorts. See? New fancy packaging. No more mason jars with pasted on paper labels. And as these things generally go, the post-makeover bottles are both smaller and more expensive than before. The good news, however, is that the ingredient list remains (as far as I can tell) unchanged, which is of course what Really Matters.

  2. stillcrapulent says:

    i know! oh, i can’t believe i didn’t write to inform you about Mado’s return! i received two bottles of it in the mail for my birthday!

    having tasted it, but in absence of the old bottle for comparison, i do think it tastes slightly different – or at least the first bottle i tried did. maybe a little bit saltier but less tart? who knows, though, this may just be a degree of between-bottle variability that has always existed, and have nothing to do with new packaging or a change in the recipe.

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