Friday, June 03, 2005

guest post 2

More From Kep:

Culinary pickings

Not too long ago Nina asked me what I thought of Polish cooking. She explained how it’s come a long way since some abysmal levels of gastronomic hell (her words). I listened patiently and then responded with a somewhat more tentative assessment.

And then I watched that furrowed brow of hers grow deeper – you know how she gets, so that you become convinced that you have committed some gross violence against humanity by implying that an aspect of Polish culture is less than perfect.

I explained that my assessment was merely based on color. I am a color guy. I like to see reds, greens, pale yellows on my plate. I think a cuisine that parades all those shades of brown, virtually in every plate of food, cannot aspire to anything but secondary status.

Of course, Nina got all defensive, claiming that if I wanted something more piercing than burgundy – another common hue on the Polish plate – I was a little too demanding.

To which I responded that her defense is fundamentally flawed, since burgundy beets and burgundy cabbage cannot, under any circumstance, elevate the cuisine of the land to great prominence. Cabbage and beets. Think about it. Are you excited? Likely not.

I stuck my ground. Work on the color and then come back and ask my opinion. (a little aside: anonymous writing on a blog rules!)

On the other hand, I have to say that the photo of the pan with wild forest mushrooms, sautéed with onions and doused with cream had me clicking endlessly on Ocean just so that I could lick the screen and pretend the stuff was real. And yeah, I understand that mushrooms look their best if allowed to remain in their brown incarnation. Brown is desirable. In mushrooms land. Whatever you do, great chefs of Poland, do not get rid of that dish of sautéed ceps and chanterelles. That’s just paradise.

guest post

From Kep:

Okay, Nina is indisposed so here I go:

I am so damn happy that it is June. Because if today had still been a May day, along with the message asking me to post something, I would have heard an “I told you so” from the Ocean author herself.

Nina wrote me this message early in the week (edited a little by me):
Did you know that there is a curse hanging over me? That the last week of May has always delivered the most violent assaults against my body and soul?

I don’t much subscribe to the supernatural and so I countered with:
Oh yeah, ms. smarty-pants, what violence against your body and soul was committed in the year…1969?
I was “taken advantage of” in matters of the heart.

In 1971?
I had major surgery. Don't even ask about '78: ditto.

In 1980?
My closest friend in Madison died of cancer.

Now I’m grasping for a really off year…1995?
My brain exploded.

Okay okay, she’s making this up. I don’t believe you! 1999?
It was freaky wild! (I remember now, she’s right, but I can’t post it. It is not for public reading.)

Ditto last year, ditto this year – man, she is so right! She is cursed.

So I did some research. A skill I have. I dug up on google a “how to” guide which had an entry on lifting curses. Unfortunately it also had the following: “how to become irresistible.” Please, do not tell me you would be so noble as to lift friends’ curses when you can, instead, make yourself out to be the most desirable human being on earth.

Because I got distracted, the Nina curse lives on. If you know anything about knocking down curses, write her, or me. I will do all I can, I swear.