Sunday, September 21, 2008


Why can't cookbooks understand that if you are looking for a recipe, the recipe you find should have some relationship to the one you were looking up?

I realize this may sound slightly odd, but I was looking through my big Bon Appetit cookbook and ran across a recipe that was called Macaroni and Cheese. It included red bell peppers, celery (stalks, seeds and leaves), blue cheese and penne.

Well, this may be a very interesting cheesy casserole thing (although I find that you can easily overdo blue cheese, much as I love it), but had I been looking for a recipe for macaroni and cheese, I would have been highly confused by this one. Macaroni and cheese has cheddar. It has elbow macaroni. In my house, it can have chunks of ham in it (which is an excellent way to use leftovers if you happen to have baked a ham). I assure you that it has never under any circumstances included any kind of celery, much less three separate components of celery. If you are looking for greenery with your mac and cheese, make a salad. Honestly.

For this same reason, I tend to shy away from restaurant menus that announce some favorite dish of mine (escargots, say) - and then tag it "Our Way." Um, oops...could you explain that a little more explicitly, please? Uh-huh. Blue cheese and celery, eh? No, thanks. Every now and then somebody comes up with something that is in fact a wonderful idea (I am thinking here of a favorite restaurant of ours, now defunct, which served its escargots in their proper garlic butter in little dishes with indentations for them, rather than shells, and topped each snail with a tiny puff pastry hat) but for the most part, "Our Way" lets you know that there is a rather young chef in the kitchen who is determined to be a trailblazer. This can work (I bet Mario Batalli and Fergus Henderson caused a LOT of raised eyebrows originally), but you need to be a creative genius, and there just aren't all that many of them.

And my cousin Joshua has won his damned disability case, and I can't even begin to tell you how monumentally sick I am getting of the crowing he's doing. He even got MORE money than he asked for, which I think is just awful (yes, of course I'm jealous). But really, considering the currently distressed state of my finances (distressed, hell - they've gone beyond distressed and are now completely hysterical), you can see how it's a bit difficult to sit (as I have been doing for about a week now) and listen to someone tell you endlessly about the rich life he's going to live in Thailand, and that a friend of his thinks he can invest some money so that Joshua can live in Provence when the weather is too hot for him in Thailand, and the $4500 Lamborghini leather-covered laptop he's buying...did you know Lamborghini made laptops? I certainly didn't. To quote Sherlock Holmes, now that I know it, I shall do my best to forget it. I can't think of anything on earth more disgustingly nouveau riche than a Lamborghini laptop. Yuck. It's like one of those $25,000 watches - one of those things you buy just to prove you can, which is a cast of mind I just hate. Personally, I buy a $20 Timex about every five to eight years, which is how long they last. They keep time and look fine, so who needs more than that? I comfort myself with the thought that Joshua is going to be lugging this thing in and out of airports, and if I ever heard of a thief magnet, that computer is it. Hee, hee, hee.

Today I went for a walk (it was just die and go to heaven gorgeous out) through the neighborhood and read menus and planned all kinds of really neat meals to eat out when I finally have some money again. Then I came home and broiled myself some bluefish (Caesar went fishing a few weeks back and brought back more bluefish than we could possibly eat, so I packaged what we didn't eat for the freezer) and ate more of those damn peas and carrots I bought a big bag of (and am now heartily sick of), and now here I am at the computer.

My life is a ball! (From which you will gather that none of my now three damn temp agencies has come up with a job for me for tomorrow.)

Love, Wendy

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