Monthly Archives: June 2010

Are you there Karl? It’s me, Foodie.

I left the Beast alone in the city during the G20 weekend while I hitched a ride with my brother and sister-in-law to my mom’s place in London, Ontario. We had two days and nights of shopping, eating, air-conditioning and watching True Blood. By the time I got home Sunday afternoon, I felt a little funny.  Mind you, I had eaten half of a bag of cheese Crunchits, a Coffee Crisp chocolate bar and had drunk a can of expired coconut water on the drive home.  I felt remorse for this. And I felt remorse for the money I’d spent in London.  Because I don’t have a car and I don’t live close to those suburban shopping meccas filled with box after box of stores like Walmart, HomeSense, The Shoe Company, and Winners, I tend to get carried away in their glorious and poorly-lit aisles.  At home, as I started unpacking my purchases, it occurred to me that I didn’t need two new pairs of sandals, a fancy frying pan, two glass lunch containers (with pink accents), a salad spinner, a Victorian shawl with holes in it (it was only $12!), a thing to grill whole fish in, and, here’s the real winner, a fake leather, cropped biker jacket.  

I don’t know what I was thinking, especially with the jacket: I’d like to blame my sister-in-law, who bought the same jacket.  She, and my mom, encouraged me to try it on.  I told them it would never zip up in the front because of my big-you-know-whats. But it did zip up.  And I looked fucking fierce.  It was only $49 and if I bought it, it meant that my sister-in-law and I each got to share a 25 per cent discount.  So I did. And here it was staring me in the face.  

The unusual combination of eating all that junk food, the shopping guilt, and the simple, old-fashioned missing-my-brother, who lives in Toronto but who I  don’t see as much as I should, all contributed to my sour mood. Especially the brother part.  I haven’t spent 48 hours with him for a long time and it was so lovely.  It made me a little nostalgic for those summer days when all we did was play outside and build forts and spaceships until sun set when anxiety would wash over us as we waited for the voice of our mom or our dad calling us indoors.

I felt weak and terribly grumpy.  But I still managed to pick up some Boston leaf lettuce, asparagus and pork chops for dinner.  I got home and the Beast called me from work.

Beast:  How was your time?

Foodie:  Fine.

Beast:  Did you miss me?

Foodie:  Yes.

Beast:  Do you want to know how my time alone was?

Foodie:  Maybe later.

Beast:  Okay.  I think it’s going to storm tonight so we should have spaghetti with meat sauce.

Foodie:  YEAH SURE!  LIKE I HAVE SIX HOURS TO MAKE MEAT SAUCE. PLUS I ALREADY BOUGHT FUCKING PORK CHOPS!!!!

Beast:  I love pork chops.  May I ask you something?

Foodie:  Yes.

Beast:  Are you okay?  

Foodie:  Yes.  I’m fine.  I think I may need to have a nap before you come home.

Beast:  I think you should too.  Go lie down.  I even made the bed.  And I also photocopied you an archived article from the New Yorker:  it’s a profile on Karl Lagerfeld from 2007.  It’s on your night table.

So I went upstairs at 5:30pm, curled up on the bed, and read the article the Beast so kindly left for me.  And then it started to rain and all was suddenly calmed in my little world.  I fell asleep and awoke at 8:00pm with drool running down my left cheek. I  had dreamt of the meatballs that I knew were in the freezer and how I would make spaghetti and meatballs for the Beast instead of pork chops because it wasn’t a good night to barbecue. I got out of bed and wiped the drool from my face.  I was restored. 

First, you start out with a little bit of oil.  Then you fry up some garlic. Then you throw in some tomatoes, tomato paste, you fry it–you make sure it doesn’t stick. You get it to a boil and then you shove in all your sausage and your meatballs.

… And then a little bit of wine. And a little bit of sugar, and that’s my trick. 

I didn’t really make it like that.  That’s how Fat Clemenza makes his gravy in the Godfather.  I didn’t add sausage or tomato paste but otherwise, I followed Clemenza’s instructions.  I think I tried to make Godfather gravy because of the missing-my-brother thing.  As siblings, we haven’t been the best of communicators.  But movies have always been a common touchstone.  We can converse for hours by just reciting lines from countless films.  I bet it’s very annoying to be around us when we’re in the thick of it (think of Quint, Robert Shaw’s character in Jaws, talking to the dragon voiced by Sean Connery in DragonHeart who responds as Daniel Day Lewis in The Last of the Mohicans.  Throw in a little Sonny Corleone from the Godfather, Gertie form E.T., Captain Blythe from the Bounty, and Arnold Schwarzenegger from Commando and you can imagine just how annoying we can be.)  But it’s how we say, “I love you.”

While I let the sauce get all oozy and good, I grabbed the weekend papers, poured myself a little wine, and sat in the sun room while the rain beat down hard outside.

And I got to thinking about the part in the Lagerfeld profile where Cat Power (Mom, she’s a musician who is very hip) gets “discovered” in NYC by Karl himself.  He found her smoking and sitting on her luggage outside a cool hotel and he liked the look of her and her attitude.  Since then, she’s flown to all the Chanel shows and to all of Karl’s parties.  This could be the answer:  if Karl Lagerfeld could discover the Beast, neither of us would ever have to work again.   I could clean him up–but not too much because I suspect Karl likes young men who look a little unkept–put him in a nice outfit, and set him on a street corner near Karl’s apartment in Paris with a flute or a trumpet or something that he could blow into.  The Beast would just have to smoke some cigarettes, maybe do a pirouette or two, and wait for Karl.  Just then, I heard the Beast come home.

Beast:  It smells incredible in here!  What’s that? That’s not meat sauce, is it?

Foodie:  Almost.  It’s spaghetti and meat balls.

Beast: You’re the best.  Are you feeling any better?

Foodie:  Yes, much better.  And I would like to apologize for my poor behaviour earlier.

Beast:  You don’t have to apologize.  

Foodie:  I’m also sorry that I abandoned you during the G20.

Beast:  I was fine, just fine.

Foodie:  What did you eat?

Beast:  Well, the first night I made a frozen pizza and then the second night, I made a frozen pizza.  I used the cutting board that I sliced the pizza on as my plate thereby saving a dish to wash.  And did you notice that I did all the dishes?  

Foodie:  I will never abandon you like that again.

I poured the Beast a glass of red wine and we stood in the kitchen and had a good old chat.  I told him about my reasonable plan to retire by 40 via him being discovered by Karl Lagerfeld and he told me all about going to see Herbie Hancock Saturday night at Nathan Phillips Square and how the riot police were very friendly to him when he asked their advice about the best walking route to take there.  Once the spaghetti was ready, I fixed us up a couple plates of pasta which we quickly devoured while watching the G20 coverage on TV.

Beast:  That was amazing, just amazing.  Now, I would love nothing more than to lie in bed and finish the first volume of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.  I’m right at the part where the capital is moved from Rome to Contantinople.  And did you know how amazing Diocletian was as an emperor?

Foodie:  He was pretty amazing, wasn’t he.  Remember how we went into that church in Rome that Michelangelo designed and how he designed it around the plan and the ruins of Diocletian’s baths?

Beast: I do remember that.  Do you know anything about this tetrarchy?

Foodie:  When there were two senior emperors and two junior emperors?  A little bit.  Wasn’t it Maximian, Constantius, Diocletian, and–

Beast:  And Galerius.  Wow.  I can’t believe you.  I don’t think I’ve ever been more impressed with you than I am right now.

Foodie:  Go on.

Beast:  No, really.  I’m blown away.

Foodie:  Why are you being so nice to me?

Beast:  What’s that? 

Foodie:  What’s what?

Beast:  THAT.

Foodie:  Oh, that’s a fake leather jacket I bought.  Do you want me to try it on?

Beast:  Immediately.

Foodie: Well, what do you think?

Beast:  (Silence).

Foodie:  (Looking down at my pathetic self.)  It’s so absurd I can’t believe it.  I think I’m losing it.  Do you think I’m having a mid-life crisis?

Beast:  I don’t know what to say because I think I will get in trouble if I open my mouth.  

Jessie:  Karl would be disgusted with me right now.  

Beast:  (Nodding his head in agreement.)

We had a good laugh at least.  And a good dinner.  And I’m not returning the jacket. 

Foodie:  **

Beast:  **1/2

 

 

Tortellini in a Jiffy

Foodie:  I’m home!

Beast:  Don’t come up here.

Foodie:  What did you buy that you don’t want me to see?

Beast:  Nothing.  It’s just that the raccoon is back.  And she had babies.

We’ve had a big fat raccoon living under our deck since the beginning of spring.  And this fat bitch decided to make herself a latrine directly in front of the glass door that open up to the patio.  We’d imagine her crouching with her back right up against the door, shitting, and then turning her head to look inside and saying “fuck you!”  We got rid of her for a short spell by sprinkling about a pound of ground cayenne pepper all over the patio and beneath the deck.   But she came back–along with two little baby raccoons–after about three weeks.  And the shitting came back too.  Here’s the real kicker:  the Beast, although he’s very helpful with other icky household chores, like scrubbing the toilet or tub and taking out the garbage, has a very low tolerance for picking up shit.  He gags.  He whines.  He almost cries actually.  I don’t love picking up shit, but it doesn’t make me want to cry.  So I’m the designated shit picker-upper.  

Beast (yelling from the top of the stairs):  I’ve got a plastic bag up here we can put the shit in.

Foodie:  Okay, let me just get a pot of water boiling for dinner.

I joined the Beast upstairs.  He was waiting to go outside.

Beast: Oh god how are we going to get out there?  The shit’s right in front!  Oh god you go first!  

Foodie:  Just step over it.  

Beast:  Oh god I don’t think I can watch.  I think I’m going to faint.

Foodie:  Give me the plastic bag.

Beast:  Is that all you’re using?

Foodie:  No, I’ve got these too (two clear plastic produce bags over my hand for double protection).  You might want to turn away now.

Beast:  Oh god.

Foodie:  Eewwwww!  

Beast:  Oh god what’s wrong?!

Foodie:  It wasn’t dry yet!  

Beast:  I’m dying I’m dying I’m dying.

Foodie (going over to hug and comfort the Beast)

Beast: Oh god don’t touch me!  

Foodie:  I had three plastic bags on my hand!  Relax man!  I think we better get you inside.   

Beast:  What’s for dinner?

Foodie:  I’m going to make a spring-themed tortellini, and maybe a salad.  I thought about picking up take-out food on my home but then I realized we have groceries here so why spend the money?  We have to start doing that more you know–just making due with what we have and being creative with it.  

Beast:  Great.

I had picked up this little bag of tried tortellini from No Frills a while back.  I’ve used them before.  They’re not spectacular, but they’re not bad–especially if you sauce them up a bit.

I had some lovely Ontario green onions and zucchini.  

So I sautéed them in a little olive oil.  And just before the tortellini was cooked, I added a generous handful of frozen peas to the pot of boiling water.  Then I tossed all that in with the zucchini and green onion along with some freshly grated parmigiano and a couple pats of butter.  That’s when I realized that my creation was screaming for some fresh mint.

Foodie (calling to the Beast):  Can you please grab me some fresh mint from the patio?

Beast:  Are you kidding?  I can’t go back out there!

Foodie:  Stop joking around please.

Beast:  I’m not joking!  

(Silence.)

Beast:  I don’t even know what mint looks like.

(Silence.)

After a few minutes the Beast came down to the kitchen with fresh mint in hand.  I ripped it up and added it to our dinner.

Foodie:  I think this is a pretty good dinner if I don’t say so myself.

Beast:  Yes, it is good.

(Silence and eating.)

Beast:  What meat do you think would be good in this pasta?

Foodie:  I don’t think I would want to add a meat to it.  The flavours are so light and delicate–meat would just drag everything down.

Beast:  (Silence)

For dessert we had a supply of frozen fruit bars from which to draw.

We buy them from the organic green grocer on the corner.  I love the coconut, as you can see.  I grabbed a couple of them to eat while we watched the evening news.

Foodie:  Okay, maybe I’d add some proscuitto.  But it would have to be chopped up in matchsticks and it would have to be crisped up a bit.

Beast:  Dinner was delicious.  I don’t want to sound ungrateful or anything.  Also, thank you for always picking up the shit.

Foodie:  Thank you for offering to do the dishes.

Beast:  But I got the mint!

(Silence.)

Foodie:  **1/2

Beast:  **

 

 

 

And Those Jacket Potatoes…

(On the patio, in the evening sun, baking our potatoes on the barbecue, and in an emotionally dark place.)

Beast:  Can you stop calling them jacket potatoes?

Foodie:  Why?  That’s what they are.

Beast:  They’re baked potatoes.

Foodie:  They’re jacket po-ta-toes–from the UK.  Everybody knows that.

Beast:  I’ve never heard of it until tonight.

Foodie:  Well most worldly people know what they are.

Beast:  That’s a low blow, especially considering how depressed I am right now.

Foodie:  You’re depressed?  We can’t both be depressed at the same time.  There’s only room for one emotionally fragile individual in this relationship.

Beast:  Should I flip the potatoes yet?

Foodie:  No, just leave the barbecue lid down and forget about it for a bit.  Have you thought about what you want to have for dinner with Nick Edwards tomorrow night?

Beast:  Oh great.  You invite him over and look like a hero and I’ll come across looking like a failure becuase I can’t make decisions about dinner.   I’m a fucking failure.

Foodie:  Don’t you dare say that!

Beast:  It’s true.  No wait: I’m not a failure because you have to at least try at something in order to fail.  How does it feel to be dating such a loser?

Foodie:  You are not a loser!  Where are you going?

Beast:  I have to start making posters.

Foodie: For what?

Beast:  “Cocktail Pianist for Hire.”

Foodie:  Where are you really going?

Beast:  I’m going to do my push-ups.

Foodie:  Pardon me?

Beast:  MY PUSH-UPS!

Foodie: Can I watch?

Beast:  Yes.

But before the Beast could do his “work-out” he had to pick out some music to play. He chose a little number by Glen Campbell.  Then, he proceeded to do a total of four and a half push-ups before collapsing in exhaustion.  It was the funniest thing I’ve seen in a long time.  Then he started to do a series of joke push-ups, like a one-armed push-up while he rested on his knees and push-ups from a jack-knife position where he didn’t push up his arms at all:  instead, he just jerked his knees in and out really quickly. Did you see the Harmony Korine movie, Gummo?  When that kid is tap-dancing in the basement?  The Beast’s joker push-ups reminded me of that.  

Beast:  Okay, I’m done my work-out.

Foodie:  I’ll get the toppings reading for the jacket potatoes.

Beast:  Do we have cheese?

Foodie:  Yes.

Beast:  Do we have bacon bits?

Foodie (pause):  Yes.

Beast:  I’ll help get the toppings ready.

We had left-over coleslaw and baked beans, plus the Beast’s cheese and bacon bits, and also some green onion for garnish. We each prepared our jacket potatoes in a way that reflected our emotional states.

I towered mine real tall, which made it slightly fragile, almost like it was crying on the inside.  I started with butter, then sea salt, then the beans and finally the coleslaw and the green onion: it was sophisticated, logical, and a little bit sassy on the outside.  

The Beast topped his with every imaginable ingredient that filled his attention-deficit-disordered head.  His resulting dinner looked like it was assembled by a four year old, one-armed kid, whose parents left him alone at the 1988 Ponderosa baked potato bar.

Foodie:  How’s your potato?

Beast:  It’s okay.

Foodie:  Just okay?  Mine’s delicious!

Beast:  I just wish there was some, oh, I don’t know.

Foodie:  Some meat?

Beast:  Yes, some meat.  We should have bought some sausage and taken the meat out of the casing and fried it up.

Foodie:  We don’t have to have meat with every meal.  The beans will give you all the protein you need.

Beast:  I notice you didn’t put pancetta in the baked beans.

Foodie (silence).

Beast:  We need to get out of this funk.  Let’s go rent a black and white romantic comedy after dinner.

Foodie:  How about Iron Man?

Beast:  I was thinking more along the lines of Adam’s Rib, starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn.

Foodie:  Oh.  How about you do more push-ups after dinner?  I bet that would be funnier than Adam’s Rib.

Beast:  Stop belittling me.  

Foodie:  Want my second potato?

Beast:  You bet your ass I do.

And just like that, we both felt a little better.

Foodie:  ***

Beast: **

 

 

Baked Beans in June.

I bought a $13 juice yesterday.

I’m as shocked and ashamed as you are right now.  Let me try to explain how it happened.

It all started when I was a healthy-looking kid.

I’ve always been healthy-looking.  Healthy-looking is a polite way of saying “chubby”.  What’s kind of funny though is that I always forget that I’m a bit fat.  Now, that’s not to say that there haven’t been blatant signs throughout the years to remind me.  In grade three for example, when we’d play T-Ball at recess the boys would chant, “heavy hitter!” as I approached home plate.  I thought it was because they knew I was gonna hit the shit out of that plastic ball.  There was also the time in grade five when I scored the part of Tiny Tim in our town’s production of A Christmas Carol and the theatre reviewer from the big city just north of us commented that Tiny Tim was, “rather healthy-looking.”  Oh yeah? Well I acted the shit out of that play, so who’s laughing now asshole?

There was also the time in grade eleven, when I was as athletically fit and firm as I’ll ever be, when I overheard aunt Sandy and my mom talking in the kitchen about another healthy-looking person, and Sandy said, “Oh so-and-so is not fat: She’s just, you know, built like a work horse, not a race horse, like ________ (insert my real name in that blank.)

The only time I looked more like “normal” rather than “healthy-normal” was the year I met the Beast.  Coincidentally, this was the only time in my life when I lost my appetite. I had just come back from Italy, was recovering from a break-up, and desperately craved a vice, so I made myself become addicted to smoking.  Also, I worked at a restaurant and lived in the basement of a former professor of mine who’s home was actually a church.  My church basement didn’t have a fridge.  So I had a Starbucks coffee and pastry every morning for breakfast, my staff meal at the restaurant for lunch, and instead of dinner, I smoked, drank obscene amounts of beer and bourbon, and hung out with kids about eight years my junior.  The weight dripped off.  And everybody kept telling me how great I looked and kept asking me what the secret was. When I answered, I was either extremely hung over, or drunk, and probably said something like, “The secret?  I’ll tell you the secret:  Get depressed, start smoking, drink like a mother f–ker, and forget to eat. I’ve never been more unhealthy in my entire life. Did you want the bill?”

Those were glorious almost-skinny days.  Unfortunately, my appetite came back when I met the Beast, and after our six-month stint in Newfoundland, I was back to “healthy-normal”.  I’ve been healthy-normal/built like a work-horse/am a bit rotund ever since.

Okay, bare with me here:  I’m getting to the $13 juice.  I just need to explain to you about how I forget that I’m the above-mentioned things.  In my world, I’m a normal size, not a healthy-normal size.  It’s only when I see a photo of myself or when I occasionally go clothes shopping that I face reality.  (Oh, and there was one time at a Christmas party when an extremely buxom woman who was overflowing from every direction asked me where I got my dress because she wanted to know where “girls like us could buy cool clothes like that.”  I almost shat myself.  Could I be that delusional?)   Quite frankly, I think it’s a good sign that I forget I’m a little bit fat: it proves that I’m not affected by what some people might call the media’s ploy to convince women that they’re not perfect because they don’t look like models.  I never think about that shit. Most days I feel great about how I look!  I’m not fat or skinny.  I’m just me.

So on Sunday, my day got unintentionally rearranged.  I won’t bore you with those details.  I found myself near the Bay where I ran into Stephen from work (not to be confused with Other Stephen.  What’s confusing is that both Stephens read and comment on this blog.)  Stephen was returning a shirt to the Bay. After a lovely chat, I decided that I was going to buy a piece of clothing.  I tried on a dress at a vintage shop.  It was a very tiny change room and I had my eyeglasses on. (Usually when I get dressed, I am not wearing spectacles and I am far away from my mirror and I unconsciously twist and turn to hide any bulging bits thereby forgetting that I have bits to begin with.)  What I saw in that change room mirror was astonishing.  You know when you see microscopic close-ups of human skin and it has bugs crawling all over it? It was worse than that.  I had to shut my eyes.  And I believe I gasped so loud that the clerk asked me if everything was okay.

Upon leaving the store, I realized I was not only over-weight, but STARVING.  So instead of eating real people food, I bought a juice for my lunch from Fresh. They used to have a delicious juice made of apple, beets and raspberries called the Susur, after chef Susur Lee.  It’s not on the menu any longer but the nice girl said she could still make it for me.  I asked her to put in a shot of something that would make me feel good, healthy and pure.  She suggested something called…I can’t remember what it was called but it sounded like it would make me skinny, or at least make me forget that I’m fat, so I said yes to it even though she said it cost extra.  And then she said my juice was $13 and I felt like punching her in her stupid skinny face but I just gave her my debit card and drank the fucking delicious juice anyway.

I walked my bike along Queen Street with my fat head hung low.  And then, like a port in a storm, I saw one of the most beautiful, luminescent and creative people I know: Erinn.  Erinn manages the restaurant OddFellows and writes this blog.  (She also does many other things–too many things to list.  Suffice it to say that she’s inspiring.) I told her about my $13 juice, but not why I bought it.  And I told her that the Beast had asked me to make baked beans for him and serve them up with barbecued French Country sausages from Rowe Farms but I didn’t want to make them because it didn’t seem to fit the weather.  Plus, I planned on fasting for three weeks and I wasn’t sure how I was going to resist baked beans and sausages. Erinn said that baked beans were perfectly suitable for this time of year and she also suggested that we use up the left-overs as a topping on a jacket potato, like they have in England.  “First,” she advised, “slather your potato with a big piece of butter, then add your baked beans and maybe some coleslaw on top.  And you know what I like to do sometimes?  Open up a can of corn and throw that on a heavily salted jacket potato with lots of butter and melted cheese.  It’s delicious.”

Erinn not only single-handedly planned two dinners in a row for me, but she also made me forget that I’m slightly fat by distracting me with her talk of jacket potatoes.  For this, I shall be eternally grateful.

Now since this blog isn’t called patheticandforgetfulfatperson.blogspot.com, let’s get down to brass food tacks:

I’ve made these easy, Italian-style baked beans, courtesy of Giada de Laurentiis, only once before.  But the Beast flipped out over them.  That’s beer I’m pouring into that pot.  (I’d like to start including more action shots.) The recipe called for dark beer but I only had Creemore on had.  The recipe also called for pancetta which I didn’t have.  I gambled that the Beast wouldn’t notice.

The baked beans turned out perfectly.

And because I was still very fragile (fat), I did something I’ve never done before:  I bought pre-packaged coleslaw mix instead of making my usual cabbage salad with my mandolin.  Do you know that pre-packaged coleslaw only costs $1.29?

I will probably not do this again.  It didn’t taste the same.  But our dinner didn’t suffer too much because of my laziness and fragility.

Please take note that I only had one sausage plus a bit instead of an entire two.  That’s what I call taking positive action.

And I can’t get enough of Ontario strawberries so I made sure we had some on hand for dessert.

You’re thinking that I should have just had a bowl of fresh berries for dessert, aren’t you.  Only trouble is, I’d purchased some very good quality ice cream before I’d remembered that I was fat.  I wasn’t about to refuse the ice cream that I offered myself because that would be rude and I strongly believe that being rude is a greater sin than being fat.  So I ate a modest serving.  Didn’t Kate Moss say something about how nothing tastes as good as skinny does?  I think Ontario strawberries with good ice cream have got to come close to tasting as good as skinny, but I can’t be certain because I’ve never tasted skinny.  Besides, my mom doesn’t trust skinny people so skinny isn’t really an option for me (blood is much thicker than non-fat milk product.)

Foodie:  **

Beast:  ***1/2

Footnote:  If you decide to comment, please refrain from saying stuff like, “you’re not fat!” because by the time I read your comments I will have forgotten that I’m fat and your words will only serve to remind me that I am.  Also, don’t give me tips on losing weight because a) I’m not fat.  b) Did you just call me fat? And c) losing weight isn’t rocket science:  you just EAT LESS or cut out all white foods.  I’m not about to do either because I like food, all food, whether it’s black, white, brown or yellow.  I don’t see colour.  Only food.

Whole Red Snapper

Foodie:  Look!  It’s got little teeth!

Beast:  Of course it’s got teeth.  Why do you think they call it a Red Snapper?

Foodie:  I guess I never thought about it.

One of my favourite things to eat is whole grilled fish.  I didn’t grow up eating it though.  I must have been in my mid-twenties the first time I had a whole fish placed in front of me.  I was with an ex-boyfriend in Sicily and neither of us knew what to do. He certainly didn’t rise to the occasion, so I did for the both of us: I cut off the head, then the tail, split it down the middle and took out the spine along with most of the bones.  I did it all on instinct, maybe primal instinct, and I loved it.  ( I can only imagine the thrill of catching a fish, gutting it, grilling it and then eating it.)

Since then, I’ve eaten whole fish just a handful of times (see old Prune post, or Piemonte post) but I’ve never prepared one myself.  So when the Beast and I found ourselves in Whole Foods on Saturday night, (Mom, that’s a super-fancy grocery store chain that’s only recently come to Canada from the States.  You can buy fancy salts, over-priced organic produce, olive oils from around the world, prepared salads and hot things, and meat and fish here), I suggested we take advantage of the opportunity to buy a whole fish from such a reputable seller.   

On Sunday evening,  just before the Beast got home from work, I consulted some cookbooks and figured out how to grill a fish.  How hard could it be?

Beast: Want me to get the barbecue heated up?

Foodie:  Yes please. I’ll follow you up with the food and I’ll start grilling.

Beast (while walking up the stairs and yelling over his shoulder):  Oh no you won’t.  I’ll do the grilling.  You just poor me a glass of gin please.

Wowsa!  The Beast was saucy and bossy tonight!  I brought him up a cold gin and I prepared myself a cocktail made with homemade limoncello, ginger-ale and fresh mint. It was disgustingly sweet but I drank it to be polite.  

Beast:  Get out your iPhone.  I want to use the timer.

Foodie:  Yes sir!  Now most instructions say to oil the grill but we don’t have anything to do that with so I just oiled the fish really well.  

Beast:  Okay. And for how long?

Foodie:  I’d say about six minutes a side.  

Beast:  How did you arrive at that calculation?

Foodie:  Supposedly for every inch of fish, you cook for ten minutes.  This fish looks to be a little thicker than an inch so I tacked on another minute per side.

Beast:  Great.  I’d rather eat fish that was slightly overcooked than undercooked.

The Beast got the potatoes cooking in their foil bag, and devised a system to cook the asparagus better than he normally does (usually they get charred before they cook):  he put them in a foil bag to steam up top and then at the end, gave them some direct heat.

Foodie:  I’ll go get plates so we can eat outside.

Beast:  Are you crazy?  It’s too cold out here.

Foodie: Ah, okay (no it wasn’t).  We’ll eat inside.  You left a mess on the dining room table so we’ll have to eat in front of the television which means we might as well watch a movie. Which one do you want to see?

Beast:  What are our options again?

Foodie:  That documentary on Yves Saint Laurant.

Beast:  I think it’s in French and I don’t want to read subtitles while I’m trying to eat.

Foodie:  There’s that one on the Scopes monkey trial with Spencer Tracey and Gene Kelly.

Beast:  Inherit the Wind.  Yes!  It’ll be perfect to watch a movie about evolution as we eat a distant ancestor.  Okay, time to flip this thing….Oh shit.  

Foodie:  What have you done?

Beast:  Call Giovanna!

Foodie:  What’s Giovanna supposed to do?

Beast:  I don’t know.  

Foodie:  It’ll be fine.  It’s just a little skin that tore off.

Beast:  But that’s the best part!

After another six minutes, we brought everything inside.  It was up to me to make the fish presentable on our plates.

Beast:  Oh God that’s horrible!  Call Giovanna.

Foodie:  What do you mean call Giovanna?

Beast:  I want to know what part of the head I can eat.

Foodie: Giovanna runs a restaurant, works like a maniac, and is pregnant.  I’m not calling Giovanna.

Beast:  Eeew!

Foodie: I’m not doing a very good job at this.  Not all the bones came out when I took out the spine. Does that mean it’s undercooked?

Beast: Call Giovanna!

Foodie:  Put that down!

Foodie:  Just grab the vegetables and let’s eat.

Beast:  You’re telling me that after all my hard work, that’s all the fish I get?  

Foodie:  It is pretty small, isn’t it.  I guess we should have bought two fish.  Also, I think I did something wrong because I don’t remember having to so aggressively split the fish in two before.  Isn’t it supposed to come split?  

Beasts:  Ask Giovanna.

The fish was so incredibly tasty that the Beast was moaning out loud.  It’s too bad there wasn’t more of it though.  Thank goodness I bought some Ontario strawberries to enjoy with some vanilla ice cream.

The movie was really good, especially Spencer Tracey’s performance.  Although it was a bit disheartening when we realized that the way people talked about evolution, the Bible, and Charles Darwin in 1925 isn’t all that different from some of the testimonials you read about or hear on TV today.  

Wait.  I can’t end on that note.  Give me a second here.  Giovanna?

Foodie:  **1/2

Beast:***1/2

 

Pork Chops Outside and the C-Word

The first dinner of the season that you eat outside is always memorable.  This one on Sunday night was especially so.  The Beast got a ride home from work with his parents because he had too much to carry on the subway.  He phoned before they left and he wouldn’t tell me what it was that he was bringing home.  I just assumed it was going to be a tuba.

Was I wrong. Turns out Dr. Oetker’s frozen pizzas were on sale three for ten dollars at the Value-Mart around the corner from where the Beast works (and where his folks live.)  He bought a dozen of them.

Beast:  Well it looks like my dinner duties are taken care of for the next little while.

Foodie:  What does that mean?  

Beast:  It means on those nights when you tell me that I’m in charge of making dinner, I’ll have dinner ready in exactly twelve minutes.

Foodie:  Can we starting grilling now?  I’m starving.

While the Beast started barbecuing the asparagus, potatoes and pork chops I’d prepared, I set up our little table.  

Foodie:  You know, I think I’m the only one I know who actually liked the new Sex in the City movie.  Didn’t you like it?

Beast:  Well, it felt like a movie made by aliens who had read a western newspaper for a week and decided to make a film about “issues”.

Foodie:  I thought it was hilarious!  Remember how embarrassed  you were whenever I laughed loudly?

Beast:  I wasn’t embarrassed.

Foodie:  You looked embarrassed, or bewildered, or shocked at least.

Beast:  I think I was more shocked that the entire audience felt it was appropriate to talk, comment and sing at any given moment during that movie.

(For the record, the Beast may have been the only straight man at our screening.  The rest of the audience was filled with women wearing high heels (most of whom weren’t used to wearing high heels but I bet they felt it was necessary to to so) and gay men. And a few of these gay men were shouting, whooping it up, and actually talking to the characters on the screen for the entire duration of the film:  Oh shit, you go Samantha!  Damn!  I love this song!  

Foodie:  But what did you think of the actual movie?

Beast:  I was entertained I guess.

Foodie:  That’s my point!  I only cringed a few times during really terrible parts but I was in stitches for the rest.  What were people expecting?  Lawrence of Arabia?

Beast:  The first two seasons of the TV show where they used the talking heads were actually really good though.

Foodie:  But the critics are complaining about absurd things, like the girls’ over-indulging in the middle of a recession, however not only do the characters acknowledge and even provide the audience with an explanation for particular extravagances, but also it’s JUST A MOVIE! And I mean every episode of the entire series has Carrie saying expository bullshit like, “I couldn’t help but wonder,” or “As I thought to myself.”  So to point out the countless examples of this in the film, like when Carrie’s voiceover actually says, “Later that day, Big and I arrived home,” while Carrie and Big walk in the door of their home, just seems pointless.  Of course it’s a bad film!  Of course the dialogue is embarrassing!  Of course it’s not realisitic!  That’s why I went to go see it!

Beast:  Those women are f–king c–ts.

Foodie:  Excuse me?  What did you just say?

Beast:  All of them, except for maybe Charlotte.   They’re horrible, horrible people.

Foodie:  I disagree.  Actually, Carrie was horrific in this movie.  And really, really orange.   

Beast:  I think these pork chops are done.

As we sat down to eat our dinner, I couldn’t help but wonder how the Beast managed to cook those chops to perfection.  All the components to this meal came together perfectly. We hummed with satisfaction after each and every bite.  

Later that night, after we’d cleaned up and moved ourselves inside, I thought to myself, I am going to get that cake that the Beast brought home for our Sunday night dinner from Rahier bakery.  The Beast’s dad carried it in for us because the Beast’s arms were filled with frozen pizzas.  The Beast’s dad accidently dropped the box but, overwhelmed by the plethora of pizzas, we forgot to check the state of the cake.

I had one delicious bite and then went to bed.  The Beast ate the remains of the cake for breakfast.

Foodie:  ***

Beast:  ***