Wednesday, June 27, 2012

your blogger-powered stock pot and messy love life

One of the reasons I started blogging here again — the major one — is that it's a welcome distraction from health issues I've been struggling with for more than a year now. The problem with this, naturally, is that struggling with health issues often doesn't leave me with enough energy to do the actual blogging part; it's far more conducive to lying around, reading detective novels, and thinking about things I'll blog about when I'm feeling up to it. There is, however, at least a bit of amusement to be found regardless of whether I'm posting as frequently as I want to be or not, and that is my relentlessly weird search stats, the words and phrases that led readers (and harrumphing, chin-stroking, that's-not-it-at-all non-readers) here to my blog. I've written about this before, a couple years ago, but there are always new and unexpected delights among the prosaic "types of cucumbers" and "watermelon close up" searches. Such as:
  • "gonads smear in clams": I'm pretty nonjudgmental about people's private adventures but this sounds like a messy and terribly anti-climactic waste of clams to me. 
  • "tartar's lips": Surely this person has mixed up the Cream of Tartar in their baking-supplies cabinet with the native peoples of west- and central-Russia, but there is nonetheless something romantic about their confusion. I like to think they were (and still are) looking for a particular Tatar's lips they once caught a glimpse of and are desperately hoping to see again, even if it requires hours and hours of fruitless image searching. Captivating lips are hard to find and encountering a pair of them can be as memorable and as ruinous as a Mongol invasion, so I wish this person the best of luck.

I don't know where the sexy, brooding Tatar lips are, sorry.

  • "sasha frere jones quinoa recipe": A quietly effective way to mess with a food blogger's head. The thought that I might be a pawn in some sort of insidious viral marketing campaign to launch this guy's new career as a protein diet guru annoys me, but what annoys me more is the thought that if SF-J does have a quinoa recipe, I might write about it here. Because in actuality I probably wouldn't be able to resist having a dig at it. The fact that I don't even really like quinoa makes me a little uncomfortable about that. Fucking hell. I fear that my overweening squeamishness about debasing myself could be contagious, too, because I had to search for this one myself to see whether there is such a thing.
  • "stock pot / soup kettle 'powered by blogger'": This really isn't a big deal because Google only makes you do it for the first month. No one bothered me about it when I returned from my big hiatus and I just assumed they don't eat a lot of soup in their famous cafeteria. I signed a non-disclosure agreement that prevents me from depicting the proprietary hardware, but check this out and you'll get the idea:

  • Blogger-powered stock pots are stirred much like this.

  • "mark e. smith eating habits": This must've popped up after I'd written that first foodmusic post. The older I get the more I appreciate not knowing too much about people, and I'm more interested in knowing what other people think MES eats vs. what he actually eats. So far readers commenting here think he probably eats a lot of fruit and seafood and I don't disagree; I suggested a cockle conspiracy myself.
  • "paintings of great banquets": I'd like to see these too, especially depictions of the moment Jeffrey Hudson was presented to King Charles and Queen Henrietta Maria inside of a venison pie in 1628. He lived with them for the next eighteen years so he must've made quite an impression. Perhaps the lack of paintings of this event reflects a sense that 17th-century banquets were a snooze compared to the great banquets of the past; historian Linda Stradley writes that a 14th-century banquet for the Duke of Burgundy, for example, featured a pie with twenty eight musicians inside, plus "a captive girl representing the 'captive' Church in the Middle East." (This raises another possible reason for a dearth of great banquet paintings, beside the food spoilage problem: no one wanted to be captured for posterity while sweaty, disheveled, and wearing bits of pastry in their hair).

Jeffrey Hudson and Queen Henrietta Maria in a duller moment
from Wikipedia; Hudson's memorial from My[confined]Space.

  • "what kind of sauce did christine callahan use on her eggs in 'lucky jim'": Food descriptions in novels tend to stick with me for years but I didn't remember this and had to look it up. By "look it up" I mean rapidly flip through the book waiting for mentions of food to jump out at me, which they always do, the same way potentially dirty bits do. Stray toast crumbs, a bit of Alpine cheese idly unwrapped on a train, or a plate of kippers pushed to the periphery of a breakfast scene will catch my eye as reliably as an aereola, or a junior member of an orchestra nervously fingering his instrument while waiting for a more important character to arrive. Anyhow, the relevant scene in Lucky Jim is this one, fairly early in the book. Christine, you may recall, becomes the Love Interest, and for this reason I believe her sauce must be HP sauce. Because only savages put ketchup on their eggs.

      • "can you eat raw enoki mushrooms cooked": It feels deeply unfair that this question should tip me towards existential crisis while the person who needed an answer appears to have been untroubled by the deeply troubling aspects of its nature.
        • "things gatsby would associate with daisy": Someone had a paper due! But someone always has a paper due, so to answer this using only things that have appeared on my blog, I will point to the sea-side clam cakes from April, 2010. In the right context they're a very real pleasure but you can't take them out of that context and expect anything other than disappointment. It may seem worth the risk, but disappointment can be more hurtful than you ever would have thought because it has a way of spreading itself around and reaching into the parts of the past you'd most like to keep it away from. You shouldn't try to analyze meals like this within their context either, because they're simply not about ingredients or technique or any sort of methodology, and you probably shouldn't even spend much time remembering them in the off-season because pleasures can get so distorted that way. This sounds very depressing and indeed it is, but if you can connect it all up for your teacher I'm sure you'll get an A. Or at least a B+.
        • "weather ganache recipe bonbons": Anyone who has ever worked with ganache knows the value of doing ganache stuff in an air-conditioned kitchen. So maybe this person was searching for a recipe for bonbons filled with weather rather than a magic formula for controlling ganache in miserably hot conditions. There aren't a lot of genuinely weird flavors left in the dessert world these days — lemon, banana and priprioca ravioli? ho hum — but I think weather has been relatively unexplored. Wet gravel after a summer storm, for example, is as distinctive a scent as any other, and a creative, hard-working chocolatier could surely find a way to capture something about it in bonbon form. And many people will admit that snow has a smell, even if most of the pleasure we take in noting it in the air is merely a pretentious attempt to sound outdoorsy. 
          • "pictures of movie stars with pizza": Of course there is a Tumblr of celebrities eating pizza, though reality show harpies seem over-represented compared to proper movie stars. I blame disgraceful pizza paparazzi.
          Sophia Loren making pizzas
          from Felix in Hollywood.
          • "jazzercise old saybrook": I have family in Connecticut very near to Old Saybrook and would not be surprised at all if there is still Jazzercise there. There are some jazzy people in Connecticut, and there are also pockets of the state seemingly untouched by modern times. Many of the restaurants there serve prime rib, for example, which has got to be at least thirty years more out-of-date than Jazzercise. I've repeatedly hit up the thrift stores in and around Old Saybrook in an effort to score the coolest elderly WASP clothes but all the elderly are still wearing them and I come home empty-handed every time.
          • "what is the meaning of pop rocks": In a Saussurean sense? If I was going to go in that direction I'd pick something other than Pop Rocks. The whole 70s-childhood-nostalgia thing has been picked apart to death.
          • "what happens when you put an irish potato in salt water for three days": It's hard to be sure but I think this searcher is a bit misguided. You've got to leave the potato in there much longer than three days if you want to keep your selkie lover from high-tailing it back to the sea. It takes more like a fortnight and there are other steps too, but this is not the place to discuss them.
          • "pubic hairstyles for mature people": This topic seldom comes up on food blogs. I've only ever almost-mentioned it myself, that time I wrote about my vintage 70s Viva magazines. I am all for mature people having active and fulfilling lives in every respect but I'm not really qualified to give advice on this matter. Probably best to stay away from anything billy goat-ish, though.
          • "why my recipe won't work anymore": As deeply interested in food as I am, if I thought the internet could answer questions this nebulous without me having to reveal any embarrassing details about my reasons for asking, I would be asking it about things other than recipes.
          • "amazing company turns lowly sandwich into rich banquet": The technology behind this sort of thing seldom interests me but I'm having a hard time understanding the basic idea here and could use a little help from the rich banquet engineers. I'm picturing a long sandwich that has cocktail shrimp filling at one end, pies-and-cakes filling at the other, and all the other usual stuff in the middle. Not all that amazing really. You could do it yourself with a very lengthy baguette.
          • "tiny bits banquet": Now this is far more appealing to me, a banquet comprised of idiosyncratic little whatnots, like thumb-bits. It's hard to know where to begin because the best way to compose these is to stand in front of an open refrigerator. It would be really fun to prepare a whole banquet this way, starting with a well-stocked commercial fridge.
          • "emeril layered leftover stuffing, turkey, mashed potatoes or yams, cranberry sauce and i think put a corn meal topping on all": I'm intrigued by the notion of internet-as-conversational-memory-repository (and actually it is that), but why bother tracking down a memory that's already so complete? Not to mention the casserole sounds slovenly. If I were to search for half-forgotten teevee meals this way I'd want to know more about what people were eating on public access cable in the 80s and 90s. I had a boyfriend once who had a NYC cable access show and when we'd get to the studio, we'd always have to wait a few minutes for the previous show to clear out. It was a mother and daughter chat show, both topless. I've long since forgotten their names but it would be fun to know what dinnertime at their place was like. They were both blonde but neither was the same as the topless blonde woman who would stand in a field and talk about Jesus. She was on very late at night, I'm sure of it.
          • "dessert suitable for anaemia": This is interesting because I seldom think about food this way. My own health issues haven't really affected my eating habits at all. Cooking in cast iron pans does add iron to your food, and the same source reports that vitamin C enhances the amount of iron you can absorb, so for anaemics I prescribe classic crêpes with lemon and sugar. I think it will probably take a lot of dessert to really help, though, so maybe it's best to also bake a fruit crumble or pie in another cast iron skillet and serve that along with the crêpes.
          • "for gastronomy crystal bells": I'm a big fan of lo-fi hippie-dippie stuff in small doses but this is too much for me. If you want to hang some crystal bells outside your pop-up yurt restaurant in the vacant lot where all its ingredients are foraged, fine, expect me around 8, but let's not pretend there is a gastronomic reason for them to be there. Maybe I'm just too jaded about hippie stuff and this person was looking for a cloche instead, to prepare pheasant under glass. There's a gastronomic reason; keeping the scent in is Doing Something. But what's the matter with ordinary glass unless you're trying to tune the vibrational frequency of the crystal to the chakras of the diner? Clearly the proper use of these obscure gastronomic devices is not going to be settled without an affable, grubby hippie vs. rich, high-strung hippie Yurt Rumble of Death. The drum circle doesn't stop until a winner has emerged.
          • "15 minute desserts apples chocolate powder": So specific. This person must have drawn the cooking straw in a poorly-stocked arctic research lab. It sounds stressful enough without the time constraint. Listen, no one is expecting culinary fireworks from you and things will be alright.  Just make some cocoa and serve the apples on the side and people will enjoy that
          • "tiny kabobs on toothpicks meat": I don't care what sort of meat you use, these sound really annoying to eat. One chunk at the end of a toothpick I could deal with, but any more than that and I'd feel like a hors d'œuvre victim. 

          1 comment:

          1. A Yellow Leaf1:38 PM

            Haha, perfect imprint :D Lucky me!