Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Perfect Soup

Trey likes to tell people how that when we met, I couldn’t boil water and that now I’ve turned into a mighty fine cook. I can’t disagree with this except for the “couldn’t boil water” part, but I was super fearful in the kitchen and aside from a delicious salmon-under-the-broiler, pasta and shit grilled on the Single Girl’s Mini George Foreman Grill I was content to let Trey (who is an excellent cook!) do the cooking in our house. But then when we went vegan, that changed for me. I started reading cookbooks and noticing how things were put together.

My palate has changed a great deal since I’ve been married, and from the insane Laverne and Shirley days of living with Hope in our railroad girl flat, making codeine-cough syrup infused sangria with Yellowtail Shiraz and fruit cocktail: or ordering PBR, Marlboro Lights and tater tots from Anytime. That was an incredibly happy period of my life, and also sort of a springboard to the more grounded happiness I have now. One of the nicest things about being with Trey is that I feel I have become so much more creative all the time – not necessarily in the sense of writing mind-blowing music all day long, but in the sense of having more ideas and immediately wanting to manifest them right away, whether it is a silly song, or a blog, or an outfit, or a crafty project, and now it’s about what we will have for dinner. The freedom to be myself has become the freedom to let my body-mind make the zillion little connections it is wired to do all day long. When I figured out that I actually had a pretty sharp palate and that no one was stopping me from saying every five minutes “OMG it’s like ___________!!!” and realizing that just as being in a band has improved my ear by a factor of zillions, so that I realize there’s so many little gifts in every song – like, I’d never really heard basslines before, or hearing a bit of shared DNA between songs (like that one guitar hit in No Cars Go that is a direct lift from the Police’s Walking On The Moon!) – my ability to taste things and think of nice ways to combine them has improved, too.

A few months ago I was trying to figure out how to put peppercorns in the grinder and absent-mindedly ate one. Ouch --- MMMM! Suddenly I flashed on dinner before prom in 10th grade at this fancy place in the Gannett Building with a view of the Potomac: I had ordered the chicken breast with black cherries and cracked pepper, feeling SUPER sophisticated I could appreciate such an exotic combination. Wait, I thought -- I wonder if I could recreate that with tofu? And then I did! I modified my favorite baked tofu recipe to swap out the white wine in the marinade for rosé, and dredged the tofu pieces in a ½ and ½ mixture of cornstarch and black pepper, and then paved the baking dish with a layer of halved and pitted black cherries, and served it over couscous. I think with an arugula salad, to balance out the sweetness of the cherries. It was awesome!

Anyway, yesterday at work I felt myself totally on the verge of a urinary tract infection and feeling generally cranky and sick. Since cooking calms me down, I decided on my way home to make something that would make me feel better, with a lot of garlic. I thought I would make a garlic potato soup and eat kimchee with it, as that combo has staved of sickness for me a bunch of times: but then I got inspired in the kitchen and came up with this, which Trey declared “the best soup ever!” I would have taken a picture but we ate it all!! The best part was, the parsley totally gives you a high – you can feel yourself getting less sick when you eat this, as it’s full of vitamins and the parsley’s vitamin C helps your body absorb the iron from everything else.

Here is the recipe:

1 large onion, diced-ish (whatever kind of onion you like best)
1 tbsp olive oil
6 cloves garlic
2 medium russet or Idaho potatoes (if you can, get organic so you can leave the skins on)
1 bunch flat leaf parsley
2 cups veggie broth (I used a bullion cube and it was amazing)
1 can pink beans (or whatever beans), mostly drained
¼ tsp paprika
Salt and pepper

In saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. When warm, add onion and cook until softening, about 5 minutes.

Cut potatoes into roughly 1 inch chunks. (if you can, leave the skins on for extra vitamins.) Add broth, paprika, garlic cloves and potatoes: stir a few times, then cover and allow to come to a boil. Once soup has reached a bubbly boil, reduce heat slightly and allow to cook covered for about 20 minutes, until potatoes are soft.

When potatoes are soft, take a potato masher and mash and stir the soup, mostly pulverizing the potato pieces and garlic cloves so that what you have in the pot is fairly consistent in texture. Add the beans and cover: let cook for about 10 minutes.

When then 10 minutes are almost done, cut off the stems of the parsley and chop up the entire bunch into small pieces. The yield should be 1 ½ - 2 cups. Add to soup, stir a few times, and remove from heat. Serve (extra good with ground pepper and a little nutritional yeast on top!)

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Headache. Oh, what a headache I have. I am bored and sleepy and miss Trey and want a glass of wine. I have the kind of headache located right where the Botox would go [I wonder if Nicole Kidman is free from headache now?] a poisoned and throbbing almond where a third eye should be.

Two funny things about me: 1) I am studying to take the Notary Public licensing exam.

2) Also, as a favor to a dear and aunt-like friend, I have been cast in a play about JESUS that is being put on in a CHURCH.

Not just a play -- A MUSICAL! I went to the first rehearsal this week and it was absurd and relaxing: since I have no egoic investment in this project and am doing it as a hired gun out of love, I enjoyed learning choreography and singing songs. But how sad and silly – looking at all the expensive stained glass, the marble baptismal font – all this time and energy and strain about a fiction. About nothing, nothing at all. I sent Trey a text message during a break:

I am in “Waiting for Guffman with Jesus”

The girl is trying to suss out my connection with the director; I explain. “Oh. So, you’re Catholic?” I tell her that I was raised Episcopalian and leave it at that. Keep a low profile.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Abraham and Isaac?

Image from my new I-can't-stop-reading-it-blog, Suicide Food:
What is Suicide Food? Suicide Food is any depiction of animals that act as though they wish to be consumed. Suicide Food actively participates in or celebrates its own demise. Suicide Food identifies with the oppressor. Suicide Food is a bellwether of our decadent society. Suicide Food says, “Hey! Come on! Eating meat is without any ethical ramifications! See, Mr. Greenjeans? The animals aren’t complaining! So what's your problem?”
Proof, perhaps, that many crave confirmation that the bloodthirsty freakshow known as Yahweh of the Pentateuch did indeed make man in his own image?

Friday, August 17, 2007

Bring the T-Pain (Or, Why My Brother-In-Law Is Awesome)

lillet: maybe you want to check out these lyrics

bro-in-law: When I Whisper In Ya Ear
Ya Legs Hit The Chandleer

Classy. It's funny. in the comments, everyone says how ugly the guy is. He must think so too, since his whole come-on is "I have money. I have a Cadillac. Sleep with me."

He's like MC Low Self-Esteem

lillet: Well he's MC Low Ceilings, anyway

if his date's legs are hitting the "Chandleer"

bro-in-law: maybe he's MC Inept Do-It-Your-Selfer, and he just installed the

chandaleer without adjusting the chain length

so it hangs three feet above the bed.

lillet: Maybe he needs to cut a record with MC Home Depot

get some shizit done around the hizzouse

bro-in-law: I thought Ace was the place with the helpful hardware MC

lillet: Ace of Basement

bro-in-law: Got my glue gun strapped and I'm ready to pop a cap in some drywall

lillet: Then gonna take me a nap and then maybe play me some foosball

I'm the Ace of Basement

I'll fix yo' casement

Seems yo' drywall is needing REPLACEMENT

bro-in-law: how bout some cabinet REFACIN'?

lillet: a new BASIN

for that sink by the mirror that you see yo' FACE IN?

bro-in-law: and a chrome WASTE BIN for that room where you be TASTIN'

bro-in-law: Get me the protractor, and we'll do some TRACIN'

lillet: Oh shit! Yo' foundation be needing some BRACIN'

bro-in-law: But first check yo Timberlands. They need LACIN'

lillet: Ace of Basement, he got no time to be HATIN

Cause he sees yo' attic needs some INSULATIN

bro-in-law: You want new shingles? We could put some SLATE IN

lillet: Yo, step aside, as I'm backing my RIDE IN

My Escalade's holding some 'LUMINUM SIDIN'

bro-in-law: That's a crib to take some PRIDE IN

lillet: One R. Kelly would live wit' an underage BRIDE IN

bro-in-law: A place where a ho could be PLIED in (with alcohol)

bro-in-law: A place where yo ass can get WIDE IN

lillet: Where your chronic can HIDE IN

bro-in-law: A place you won't be TRIED IN

lillet: A place where you all your peeps are INVITIN

bro-in-law: where only the dogs are FIGHTIN' (Michael Vick's place)

bro-in-law: where the chandeleer needs HIGHTIN"

(and we're full circle)

only took 54 minutes!

Thong Song

This morning, it being the end of my period, I grabbed a pair of panties that fall into the I Don’t Really Give A Shit About You category from the underwear drawer: cornflower-blue boyshorts with a wacked-out hieroglyph parade of tiny leopards, 80s-bubble hearts and yes, a ZIPPER in the front, plucked from a 5-for-a-dollar pile in downtown Los Angeles this spring. I slipped them on under my little grey shift dress and shoved my rump towards the mirror to see the pantyline situation. Given that I sit on my ass all day it was fine. And then I had a vivid recollection of my very first pair of thong underwear.

My first thong was purchased at The Urban Outfitters in Harvard Square as part of a 3 pair of panties for $x (15, maybe?) in what I believe to be 1995 or 1996. I know around this time I visited Ashbloem while she was working there folding shirts, and I was shyly awed by her ability to fold stuff with that little clipboard folder, not to mention shyly awed by her, period. I DO know I was working full time at the Harvard Business School then, and I remember my favorite pair of black BCBG pants that I wore all the time but when I wore them with this thong and my black turtleneck I was a force of fashion in my mind, and I remember also in those days that I worked out 5 days a week at the Bally’s in Porter Square because after I lost 12 pounds after a near-breakup I was determined to stay in shape and then was so nervous about looking good enough to go to my boyfriend-at-the-time’s best friend’s wedding in NEW YORK CITY that I worked out even more, ate grapes for dinner and went down to 104 pounds (my current 35 year old non-exercising vegan wine-swilling weight being between 112 and 116.)

I can still see the tag in my little black thong: HELENE it said, in all Chanel-style caps. When I got home and tried on this RACY article of clothing, it shocked the hell out of me to find that it was the most comfortable pair of panties I owned, because when a thong fits exactly right, it’s like wearing no undies at all. I adored this damn thong as it made me feel super-sophisticated and would sometimes launder it by hand in order to get a second wearing in a week. When packing my bag to go anywhere I made sure it was in the panty pile. I became one of those women who talked about how comfortable thongs were in the same tone that actresses use to describe how they eat whatever they want in interviews. When HELENE finally bit the dust I was so sad. I know HELENE moved to New York with me in 1997, and was a lucky pair of underwear for a long long time.

I’ve always imbued inanimate objects with auras and personalities, and feel about my underwear drawer a bit like I did about my stuffed animals when I was a child – and still do. There are clear favorites and outsiders, and then the kind of guilt one feels at having favorites, that leads to things like packing 7 pairs of panties for a 2 day trip so no one feels insulted, the same preposterous agony one feels choosing your MySpace Top 8.

And each pair of underwear has a story. My first Cosabella thong, long gone now, bright red, given me by my ex-so-called best friend, in 1999 when the Cosabella thong was the Prada messenger bag of panties.

When I lived with my good friend Hope in our railroad apartment, we would repeatedly buy each other cute underwear from Conway. I still have a pair she bought me that I haven’t yet worn: super sheer black bikini panties with marabou trim.

I remember wearing only men’s tightie-whities as I blew dry my hair in the Harvard Business School gym and thinking I was some kind of bad-ass, invoking the scene in Desperately Seeking Susan when Madonna dries her armpits in the Port Authority bathroom.

I lost the bra long ago but have a now non-matching black silk thong with lace flowers manufactured in the the pre-low-rise ear of thongery that I paid too much money for at Pink Slip in Grand Central Station: once a crown jewel of my underwear drawer, now relegated to the back of the rotation, due to its high waist and far-gone elastic.

And I have all the panties of Trey’s and my courtship heyday: lots of wispy things with tie-side ribbons that went best with thigh-highs under a skirt that I can’t be bothered to put on these days when I am groggy and late for work in the morning, opting instead for the beloved H&M black boyshorts. But how I remember getting wet under the fluorescent lights of Conway or Daffy’s, thinking of Trey and picking out pair after ridiculous pair. A few months later Trey took me to Agent Provocateur for the very first time and bought me the Peonie set: I remember strolling arm in arm down Mercer in our trenchcoats, feeling rich, loved, naughty and spoiled. And as I type this, I am wearing the dress I wore the day he asked me to marry me.

I remember, from a summer home from college, a favorite pair of sage green panties with lace trim and black polka dots from Filene’s that I retrieved from the floor one morning only to find that our dog had eaten the crotch in one bite while leaving the waistband intact, the way a little kid scrapes out the white of an Oreo.