Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Turning Over a New (Basil) Leaf

I can't cook.
I don't cook.
Because I can't cook. 

This was brought to my attention after two specific occurrences:

1. Right after someone purchased a chicken for me so that it could be cooked, the broth could be drank, and then a lovely, uh, chicken? dish could be made from it. 
This didn't go so well considering that the chicken was cooked, the broth was drank, but no chicken dish manifested itself and the writer of this post received a severe tongue-lashing along the lines of, "Liesl, you REALLY need to learn how to cook!" from the chicken-purchaser. 

You may remember, seeing that I mentioned the incident with the purchased chicken once before in a blog, that my response was to promptly cook the damn chicken and then throw it out - on a matter of principle. 

2. The second occurrence was during my most recent week of fasting. I found myself daydreaming of food and planning what I would eat next. This was all dashed to the rocks when I realized that, in all reality, I would probably be consuming rice, fruit, the here-and-there spaghetti dish, sandwiches, and rinse and repeat.
Because the truth is dear reader, my storehouse of recipes consists of Top Ramen, macaroni and cheese, pizza, and just about anything out of a box.

But I really want to know how to cook.
I reeeaaaaaaally do.

So. In no necessary order:
- I made Tiramisu not too long ago and it may not have been the prettiest concoction on the face of the planet but what CAN one expect after dousing raw eggs with espresso? It was damn tasty and I have to admit I was almost thrilled when my boss made the same dish just a few weeks ago and her boyfriend flat-out told her that it sucked. BWAHA!

- We now make homemade granola around here and eat it like it's going out of style.  The sheer fact that the smell of roasting nuts and coconut coming from our little oven every week is a product of something that I did is enough to bring tears to my very eyes. 

- I had to call my mother once to ask about making fried chicken but that's really beside the Point. The Point is: I made homemade, southern-style, this-will-clog-your-arteries-in-one-sitting-and-simultaneously-make-your-grandmother-very-very-proud fried chicken.

- I once made up a pasta dish with chicken, spices and what-have-you items that we had in the kitchen. My boss absolutely loved it and ate a crap-ton of it but I know that I will never be able to recreate what I did that day. I shall not try.

- And then my boss suggested homemade curry. She decided that she wanted to eat homemade curry and that there was no better for the task than the writer of this post. 

But I did it! Everything was from scratch and also, might I add, took a good deal of time to find around here because, the oriental restaurants might have a plethora of coconut milk, bamboo sprouts, and white eggplant, but the grocery stores - do not. 

My boss decreed that pictures needed to be taken of this occasion because she was sure that my mother would never believe it to hear it. 

Coincidentally, and only by coincidence, was my boss correct in saying that my mother probably would NOT believe it without seeing it so here are the pictures to prove it. 
I cooked, mom. 
(This is the only time you will ever see me post pictures like this on the WWW because let's face it, I'm just not one to post pictures of household activities:  vacuuming, ironing,  mowing the lawn, sleeping, taking a shower, etc.)

Feast your eyes. 
Ha. 'Feast.' Get it?
groan. ANYway.

Proof of the food that was there.

Proof that the writer of this post was there. 

oh and the curry was great. BAM.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Resumé Photo

I had heard of this back when I had to write my Curriculum Vitae/resumé in French class and our professor informed us that the blank space in the top, right-hand, corner of the resumé was to be for an attached photo.
This was, of course, met with unanimous disapproval.
Americans don't do the photo with the resumé. 
It's discrimination. 
It's not p.c.
It's unheard of. 
It's rude.  

The idea that the employer would want to see a photo of the applicant and would pit that against his/her credentials? 
Preposterous, we say!

Well folks - Americans may not do it but when in Rome?
Go get your §$%@§&$ photo taken with the rest of the Romans.

My impression of the Classic Applicant's Photo (from what I had seen till now) was an easy reminder of the worst nightmare I had ever had in which I dreamed that my arms were sawed off with a plastic spoon and I was then promptly beaten with my own elbows.

The Classic Applicant's Photo is really the polite version of what one would look like after having a long, metallic object lodged, for an ungodly amount of time, into a part of the body that is never and has never and will never be a friendly environment for the object in question.

The C.A.P. is best taken when the aforementioned applicant has had a long night of drinking beforehand, when the circles under the eyes are at peak performance, and when the "photographer" doesn't mention taking the photo but, instead, does the deed and catches the applicant's best impression of the trash-can player from Slipknot artistically strained across his/her face.

Take Number One's 'success' is 100% guaranteed to horrify the photographer and result in an intensifying of the already sweatin'-to-the-oldies-richard-simmons-style lighting situation or your money back. 
They call this specific type of lighting "modern" and it just brings to mind that fine line we walk between Art and Torture By Cruel and Inhumane Means.

Well, any poor, misguided soul understands that:
football stadium lighting + a winning hangover = ability to bite straight through one's shoes...

...so one should not be surprised when seeing the C.A.P. and the fact that the first words that come to mind might be "extreme trauma" and "death of a soul" as this is - achieved only through severe pupil dilation - the actual, desired effect for the most successful outcome.
Translation: employers eat this up.

The C.A.P. is then promptly shipped to every prospective employer within three different time zones and 18 different official languages so - let's get this straight - these people really. know. who. you. are.

at least who you really are before. consumption. of. morning. coffee. 
but seriously kids, this is not some prom queen nomination. 
this is employment. 
get with the program.

--I had to finally cave and have the C.A.P. done of myself this past week. 
The experience was, thanks to my week of fasting, cleansing, and (ahem) flushing out of my system, somewhat tame compared to being beaten with my own elbows.
I had nothing to "lose" you see. 

I was gently informed that my smile seems a bit "off" but, all things considered, I look at this as somewhat of an accomplishment considering the other specimens of the C.A.P. that I have seen and the fact that I have found myself comparing them to the 'after' photos of lobotomy patients. 


Thursday, February 5, 2009

For Penitence Sake

I've been fasting this week with my boss/friend/roommate.
(Those terms are not in any necessary order. We like to throw all three around like hot cakes around here)

This time of fasting has included a reduction of nutritional intake, followed by the imbibing of one salt, water, and lemon juice mixture, frequent trips to the little girls' room, and more vegetable broth than one could shake a stick at. 
And ohhhh it sucks. 
It sucks so bad.

I blame my boss. She apparently does this every year as part of a detoxing ritual and, considering the amount of fermented potato juice that I have had in the last few months, I decided that maybe I could stand a little bit of that too.

But I don't know if I CAN stand it.

As a result of this sabbatical from all nutritional substance, I have begun to concoct and/or fantasize about some of the most amazing dishes that I will cook for myself when all this is over. 
I have also caught myself thinking, "Will I ever get to eat again?"
This might be seen as a doomsday-ist way of looking at things and I may not be living in a prison camp but when you're watching a two-year-old scarf down bread, meat, cheese, and joghurt like it's going out of style, you really can begin to wonder if food ever really really existed for you or if it was just for them, the others, the ones that must hate you.
Or you contemplate stealing the child's food from him and shoving it in your mouth before anyone can call the child abuse hotline.

Our elderly neighbours  - the very same ones that have scolded me for not dressing warmly enough this winter season (for those of you who keep up with this blog) - have now switched their attentions from my current fashion sense, or. lack. there. of? and have moved on to what really lies beneath. 

So my boss was scolded for including me in on her heathen rites, and I -
well, I was encouraged to eat more sauerkraut. 

You think I'm kidding. 
I'm really not. 
It's the German's answer to anything. Sauerkraut.
Not feeling well? Sauerkraut.
Overweight? Sauerkraut.
No sex drive? Sauerkraut.
Bad at math? Sauerkraut.

But, on the flip side of this whole equation, I'm not too displeased with myself. 
Fasting has never been one of my strong points simply for the sheer fact that I get irritable if I don't eat and then look for the next small child to run over or small business to set to flames. 
But this time, I might actually pull through.
I think it helps that I hear my boss' stomache churning every two minutes or so and see her quickly disappear to the bathroom 18 times a day. 
I know I'm not alone.

That combined with the fact that I do, actually,  eat a lot of sauerkraut and I know I still, to this day, couldn't manage any better than the B that I got in Business Calculus at university.