Friday, February 21, 2014

Clotted Cream, Crème Fraiche, Chagrinned and Andy Warhol

Clotted cream, crème fraiche
Last night a friend brought a dessert that was everything that I find delicious.  First it had lemon in it and also cream and it was all real (home made) no funny stuff.  I think the cream was what the British call clotted.  If you want to sound smart and sophisticated in any conversation just use two phrases.  Even if they make no conversational sense and you are eating a pork chop say, “clotted cream” or “crème fraiche.” Those around you will start re-computing your IQ and EQ.  You can also throw in “chagrinned.”

As for my love of lemon, once I made rice with only lemon juice and no water.  Don’t try this at home because you will get rice gum (it tastes fantastic to a lemon freak but your guests might pause or even leave).  Lemon tends to gelatinize things I found out.  Oh, and by the way, I finally learned something useful from Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa.  She said that using mustard in salad dressing helps to emulsify the lemon and oil.  I tried it and it is true.  Previously, I couldn’t get the lemon and olive oil to end their stand-off however mustard does the trick.

And Andy Warhol
A person I would be happy to live with full time would be Andy Warhol.  I was reading his diaries as I often do for inspiration and comfort.  I realized that we share the same blurty, ADD, hard to follow thinking process that makes perfect sense to the speaker but annoys and confuses those around us.  Here are a couple of examples from my favorite book The Andy Warhol Diaries.  Andy dictated the diaries every morning to his assistant to keep a record of his activities and the expenses they generated.  His assistant compiled all the entries into the Diaries.
The entry below is from May 22, 1984. 

“Jean Michel came down to the office early.  He was reading his big review in the Voice.  They called him the most promising artist on the scene.  And at least they didn’t mention me and say he shouldn’t be hanging around with me the way the New York Times did.
I opened up one of the boxes in the back that’s being moved and it had ……letters from Ray Johnson the artist and I think my bloodstained clothes from when I was shot.
I realized the reason Tony Shafrazi hasn’t gotten even one of the artists in his gallery into MOMA is because Tony’s the person who defaced Picasso’s Guernica.  But that’s not fair.  Keith Haring isn’t at MOMA.  And they have just one thing of mine, the little Marilyn.  I just hate that.  That bothers me.
Then in the afternoon I went to Doc Cox’s (cab $7) and I protested over the thermometer that they used because it just sits there in water and everybody uses it, it’s not right.  And Rosemary took my blood pressure but I have a feeling they just throw these tests out.  And they have a new heart machine so now I don’t have to run up and down the stairs in the hallway to get my heart going – it’s a big improvement.  And Freddy won’t take your blood if she doesn’t know you.
….After dinner ($120) at Hisae and drinks at Jezebel’s we went over to Stuart Pivar’s because he was having people over and I wanted to learn about art.  I brought a small bronze and Stuart said it was a piece of junk, so tomorrow I’m returning it.”

An Amazon reviewer gave the book one star and commented “Incoherent ramblings for 1,000,000 pages.

They are perfectly coherent to me.

Another one-star review called it “Boring and Self Indulgent.” 
“Warhol's prose is horrible considering the creative mind he posseses (sic). I bought it used (thank God) and was bored to tears reading about taxi rides and what so-and-so was wearing. It was like reading a dreadfully boring gay man's blog. A bio on this character would be much more enlightening and a much less waste of time.”

A wise patient person commented on the bad review and said, “This isn't a bad book, you just weren't sure what to think of it: it confused you, so you don't like it.”

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Na,na na na na na...

You know when something is so over stimulating that you can’t take it in from moment to moment?   You take some of it in but so much of it spills over that you go into emotional Aspergers meaning your system sputters.  My system was sputtering so much I could feel molecules rearranging while watching the tribute to the Beatles last Sunday night

Well heck, Yoko Ono, seated in the front row, was standing practically the whole time and I needed to stand up, too. Yoko Ono was dancing around and waving her arms so I started dancing around and waving my arms.  Yoko Ono was doing some lame/cool moves. I pretended I could do some cool moves. Even Tom Hanks was grooving (ugh is that word even anything?) and so was Rita Wilson. 

I tried to keep my eyes on Paul and Ringo to see their reactions to each group on stage.  Paul kept mouthing the lyrics like a parent with a kid in the school musical.  He clapped politely to a few songs but then Annie Lennox sang Fool On the Hill  The man with the foolish grin is keeping perfectly still.  Then that cool porkpie hat wearing Dave Stewart (with whom Annie had some serious emotional baggage and estrangement) came sauntering downstage strumming his guitar. Paul was very happy.  Paul and Ringo stood up and cheered for Annie and Dave.  Paul stood up and sent kisses to a few.  Can you imagine how that might feel?  I’m sure I would fall down.

When some of the musicians were doing guitar solos (there was a lot of that) Paul and Ringo were sort of nodding as if to say, “yeah, that’s about right, keep going.”

Although their wives sat next to Paul and Ringo, there was no interaction between husbands and wives – not even a glance.  There were no nudges, no sharing of this night. This was for them alone and their two dead colleagues. I kept wondering how Nancy Shevell (in print they still call her Nancy Shevell although legally she is Nancy McCartney.  “Paul and wife, Nancy Shevell enjoy a splash in the sea.”) likes being married to Paul.  Does he ever look at her?  Does he? Huh? Does he?  Yoko brought her son Sean who is all bearded and long-haired.  Olivia Harrison, George’s widow was there with their son Dhani who performed with one of the acts. Olivia looked excited but she stayed in her seat.

The New York Times said some of the performances were tense and studious.  I think Maroon 5 fit that category. Maroon 5 opened the show with All My Loving and Ticket to Ride. Adam Levine looked incredibly neat and contained with his hair all slick as he sang, “I think I’m gonna be sad I think it’s today, yeah.” But that was better than those that went all radical interpretation. Just sing the songs we know.

There were several misses.  Katy Perry sounded awful.  I don’t know if I can forgive her for ruining Yesterday and not because she changed the gender in the lyrics. Her rendition was strained and unmelodious.  Alicia Keys over pronounced and over emoted Let It Be (a song that needs zero embellishment) facing John Legend over dual pianos.   Stevie Wonder warned that he was going to fool around with We Can Work It Out but I liked his familiar Stevie Wonder style on “Run the risk of knowing that our love may soon be gone.”

John Mayer and Keith Urban stood out for awkwardness. The collaboration ended with a guitar jam that went on too long and made Keith contort himself in a human comma.  For some reason that I can’t define, I want Keith Urban to succeed.  Maybe it’s for Nicole and that whole crazy Tom Cruise phase with the adopted children and the Eyes Wide Shut movie of erotic gamesmanship directed by Stanley Kubrick who died a week after completing the edit. John Mayer did not help Nicole’s husband look good.  John all but ignored Keith even though Keith was playing his heart out.  The song they sang, one of my favorites, Don’t Let Me Down, was just okay.  I remember seeing a u-tube video of a father and his two-year-old belting out the same song and it was wonderful.  The baby screaming the line (with perfect diction) “don’t let me down,” after his dad and then trying to complete, “nobody ever loved me like she does.” I think it came out “bady lala she does. Yes, she does.

When it was the boys’ turn, Paul and Ringo hit it out of the park.  Ringo came out looking like a champ.  He was gracious, relaxed and in good physical and musical form. Paul and Ringo each did a few songs alone and then came together for Hey Jude.  Paul invited the audience to sing with him.   We were happy to oblige. “Na na na na na na na.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The dark side or why can't I stop eating?

I would divide the world into two kinds of people.  Those who think about food and three square meals as a bible of living.  

Those who don’t consider food thoughts as a top three daily enterprise - like sleeping or breathing or watching “My teen is pregnant and so am I.”

People who are meal traditionalists parse their day into - breakfast, lunch and dinner.  They ask food questions. “Have you had lunch yet?” “What are you going to do about dinner?”  

For a non-foodie, they might as well ask, “What are you going to do about your pancreas?” that’s how improbable it is they would have an answer.

  Do you have a plan for me?

The foodies make social interaction and eating an inseparable duo.  “Let’s have lunch,” is the default for visiting with another.
The non-foodie likes to invoke the 19th century.  People came over in the afternoon with a calling card.   They sat in the parlor and had tea or lemonade.  They snooped to see if the Mrs. had better stuff.   On the bottom of wedding announcement it said, “at home, 1217 Park Avenue” (my first married address). That was a way of saying “Come on over with your crazy calling card and check it out.” You were served tea and maybe a cookie.

Some foodies live on the dark side.  They don’t think about three meals a day because their day is one continuous snack.  They have no time frame or they are done with the idea that because of some horrid societal trick they must have an interval between meals.

Non-foodies are worn down by the relentlessness of the food hunt.  Yes, we’re still hunting only now it’s called Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s or The Food Emporium instead of the frozen tundra. 
We just need a veggie and
a complex carb and we're
good to go.

For non-foodies it is a burden, burden, burden.
Anybody know a good  chiropractor?

What do they mean by burden? You know, something heavy tied around your neck and around your brain that you can’t put down.

The non-foodies are resentful because they are considered the odd ones.  Are you in love with walking down that supermarket aisle and staring at the row of red meats some of which have bled through their wrappings? Or the frozen breaded nuggets? Or the packaged bread that promises 84 Grains but is only playing with you.  

If you ever want to cry for humanity enter any supermarket and walk down the packaged pudding aisle.

No one starts out as a foodie.  Most children dread the dinner table where they are exhorted to eat huge mounds of stuff that two crazy big people have put on their plates.
Help! Two giants are trying to kill me!

Foodies will spend an entire Saturday making a Ginger Bread House out of (yes) ginger bread.
Let's not forget that Hansel and Gretel were fattened for the kill in just such a house.

An interesting new wrinkle for foodies are the relentless stream of cooking shows that are leaching  the cooking need out of them while still maintaining the entertainment value.  I watch an episode of the Barefoot Contessa, enjoy the visuals and I’m satisfied to lunch on a peanut butter sandwich.

It's been a long winter and this is the best I could come up with for now.