Full and happy

Los Angeleno by birth, Northwesterner by choice, Second-hander by nature. Librarian, housebound chef, father, and lowly subject ruled over by the needs and whims of a very old house.
Partial to Mexican, Italian and Vietnamese cookery but will eat damn near anything. Collector of many strange things..the result is chaos and anarchy and a very pleasant place to live.
There is pleasure in accumulation, not just "collecting": music, books and film, in all their multi-formated glory. Outsider artists and those kinds of prints you would recognize if you took liberal studies classes in college. Cooking implements and gadgets for recipes still untried or those ventured. Glasses for most types of libations. Flowers in the garden, herbs in the pot.
It's a life of the senses and a good home life reflects that. Walking helps take in all the rest. Requires no special equipment, opens up the pores, brightens the taste buds, clears the decks for further adventures, puts on the miles, widens the eyes and helps fuel the imagination.

Live boldly, play graciously and love with all your heart knowing that true love comes only once or twice in this lifetime. Speaking of which..donde estas, Empress of my Heart?


"Lack imagination and miss the better story" Yann Martel

"Life is a great adventure and I want to say to you, accept it in such spirit. I want to see you face it ready to do the best that lies in you to win out. To go down without complaining and abiding by the result....the worst of all fears is the fear of living." Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.

"Not I - not anyone else, can travel that road for you
You must travel it for yourself" Walt Whitman

And above all, friends should possess the rare gift of sitting. They should be able, no, eager, to sit for hours-three, four, six-over a meal of soup and wine and cheese, as well as one of twenty fabulous courses.

Then, with good friends of such attributes, and good food on the board, and good wine in the pitcher, we may well ask,

When shall we live if not now?

-From Serve it Forth,
M.F.K. Fisher

Saturday, August 3, 2013

What two hundred and sixty dollars gets you

$260. Chicken feed, I know, but seems like a lot when you don't have it. And when you do, it pretty much just flies right out of your pocket. But I had a bit left over from taxes, a bit left over from my mom's little gift to me, and there were a few things that I wanted to get. So I did what any red blooded American would do on a nice day like today: I went out and shopped! All so patriotic of me, yes indeed!

So, what did 260 bucks get me? Not a whole heck of a lot, but I spread it around some and picked up a few things, like a new discontinued Kodak digital camera at Walmart. A small hamburger supper at Wendy's. I upped my membership at Hollywood Video, had a nice filling lunch at Kim's Teriyaki and picked up couple of propane cylinders for creme brulee and bbqing. Grabbed a one way bus ride to Freddies and bought a nice couple bags worth of groceries, including some long range pantry ingredients, like mushroom flavored soy sauce, cardomon powder, Mirin, a bottle of Marsala and a small bag of turmeric. Picked up a half way decent bottle of cabernet, Meridian, at Rite Aid and bought a couple of Hershey bars with almonds to take to work. And, the really big deal of the day, I bought a bag full of lamb shanks at Farmer Georges to use in a very tasty recipe I found in Nigella Bites. Just can't wait for that.

It was money well spent. The walks that went along with all that spending were pretty wonderful, too. The walk last night came with a grand sunset attached to it, and today's walk was beyond stellar, the day being about as gorgeous as a day could possibly be. It was so fine I wouldn't be surprised to see a bill in the mail charging me for it. Those walks always come with small adventures, or take me to places where I see folks that I know. Today I ran into one of the moms I know from the branch. Then I hit up an estate sale and came across a cockatiel for sale and found out that that bird had the same name as me. Damn near made a sale just on that small point alone, but I knew that I would be bummed out to come home and find my namesake in Guapo's mouth, so I passed on the offer.

The biggest thrill of the day though was finally hitting up the much heard about butcher shop on Bethel, Farmer Georges. I had to to tell those counter folks that I've lived in this town for almost twelve years and had never stopped to shop there. I have to think that says alot about where I'm going with my cooking. It's one thing to want to stretch out a dollar, but it's another thing entirely to want to eat well. I think today was the little food revelation that I needed, cholesterol count be damned. The meat in that place was all too awesome. Just the beef shanks alone will get me back there next weekend. I see a major pot of pasta sauce coming out of my kitchen soon, with those beef shanks playing a starring role.

So, what to do to top a day like I've had today? It sure has been grand, no doubt about that. I woke up late, watched Standard Operating Procedure by Morris, his latest documentary on the excesses of war in Iraq. After I dropped that off I picked up Mamet's Red Belt and a copy of the Dark Knight. Need to see what all the fuss is about with Heath Ledger's (poor son of a bitch) roll as the Joker. I know that my lawn is beginning to resemble a movie backlot jungle (the neighbor's cheese eating chihuahua gets lost wandering around in it) so that means that I must drag out my push mower and get to work. But you know, I would rather just read a couple magazines, or wile away the hours here at the computer, or even take a nap. Maybe I'll bake a cheesecake, or cook up a pot of beans. I think that it's waay too early to consider having cocktails on the veranda, but I know that a nice chilled glass of chardonnay or three will be fine later on.

It's great to have a day off when the rest of the world is working. Made all that walking and errand running and spending a bit more pleasurable. Yeah, all two hundred and sixty dollars worth of spending! Mighty grand time, yes indeed!



Thaydra said...

I always forget about that butcher shop! I need to stop in there. I bought one of his boxes of meat cuts one year, and that thing lasted me pretty damn near the entire year! Wonderful stuff, and he has such an area of exotic meats as well!

I miss being able to just walk downtown. One of these mornings, when I know it's going to be a swell day, I'm going to just have to drive down there after dropping the kids at school, park, and then run my errands pretending I don't have a car.

slee said...

What a lovely day you had! That's what days off should be - time to be timeless, to go wherever you're drawn even as you accomplish the necessaries. We dip into Farmer George's stash every other week or so. It's the best place for lamb shanks (to cook with black-eyed peas, onions, thyme...hot diggety.)

Turmeric and cardamom - two of my favorites, thanks to a Norwegian grandmother who liked to cook outside the recipes.