Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dealing with Despair

  Recently, my friend died. While this was surely an occasion of more moment to himself than to myself, I would be fooling myself to say that I wasn't really bothered by the outcome. I'm pretty honestly broken up about it. I keep expecting him to pop back up from around a corner and announce that the news of his death was all a bit of hookum, and hahahaha, I can't believe you said that in the obit, but it has been a few days and that hasn't happened and I'm crying in the shower and it sucks.
  I decided this morning that I was going to need to make a serious attempt at dealing with my feelings about my friend's passing. For me, this means food. Hunger is like a pain that we cure with porcelain and buttered scones. But scones weren't going to be sufficient in this instance. I needed a helper that I hadn't seen or heard tell of in 20 years, since dad used to make it up on the fly when something more than a hug was required. It was time to make the peanut butter apple and honey sandwich. No commas, because in a good version, all the flavors harmonize.
  I share with you the recipe, in case it might be of some help to you as well.

Ingredient List:
2 Granny Smith Apples
Sometimes you will hear it said that you can use any type of apple for this recipe, and that a Red Delicious or McIntosh would do just as well as a fresh Granny. Beware this heresy, spoken by charlatans and soothsayers with no comprehension of the good or the just. You will need the crisp bite of the Granny Smith to cut through the rich butter coating that your tongue will surely have. I might as soon use a Red Delicious in this recipe as I would draw up paces for a duel at dawn while forgetting my pistol.
Of course you could use only 1 apple for the strict requirements of this exercise, but what if it should be brown inside and you didn't realize this until it was too late to make a substitution? Best to have 2 apples at hand.

Organic Crunchy Peanut Butter
Do not use the smooth, you imbecile!! Smooth peanut butter is for the half witted dopes who like "smooth" jazz and other like atrocities. You, you are a man (or woman) of action and discernment. You want to show your rustic sophistication to the world. Yes? I am right? You could chop your own firewood with an axe if you wanted to, just you don't want to right now because you have more taxing activities to tend to today. You want the crunchy. Cool people get the crunchy. You are here because you are cool. Crunchy.
In my household, the kind of peanut butter you want is known as "sunken under the finest silken oil of the Indes, a textural treasury under guard of a translucent gauze to wonder the eye, a portent and potent mixture that each must mix with firm hand and gentle abide," but you might also find this specific style of peanut butter labelled in grocery stores simply as "organic," which is a bit of a bummer. Wither is the language of our days. Anyway, you want the kind of peanut butter where all the oil is on the top until you mix it in. Do be careful about the fridge: refrigeration tends to make this kind of PB hard and terse, inhibiting ease of spread.

Acacia Honey:
I prefer the acacia for being more subtle, lending a hint of sweetness, rather than a whallop. It is said these days that Chinese honey is often contaminated. Well, have you ever heard of a Chinese Acacia? No? Then everything should be fine then, yes? Thought so.

Whole Wheat Bread:
Fresh as can be is best. I prefer room temperature, however. Perhaps for the same reasons that Murray's won't toast bagels. If you use white bread in this recipe you are a spoofy idolator, and I will have nothing to do with you. I will cross the street against oncoming traffic ten times rather than walk within 10 feet of a white bread using hayseed for brains.

Here is where we are going with this. Clearly I only had one apple to use. Rules are made to be broken.

Cut the apples into slices of medium thickness.
Mix peanut butter well, then spread on bread.
Top peanut butter with acacia honey before applying apple slices.
Layer on the apple slices.
Serve with white paper towel napkin for full effect.
White paper towel napkins are like rocking chairs: they imply ease and a lack of formality.

Perhaps it is true that there are "comfort" foods. Certainly I feel better. But I do wish my friend had been there with me to share this meal. I think he would have liked it. Mostly, I made it for him.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Joe Dressner

   "I used to have three college roommates. This kid Harvey used to throw shitty parties with his brother. Not much to him, skinny kid with a jew-fro and bell bottoms. Used to listen to the Hair soundtrack everyday. Everyday. The Hair soundtrack. All the time. One night I came home high on LSD and Harvey was there playing the fucking soundtrack from Hair. I picked the record off the turntop and threw it against the wall. I thought it would shatter into a million pieces if I threw it hard enough, like I saw in a movie once, but it didn't. It's fiberglass or whatever. It doesn't shatter. So I picked Hair up off the ground and I kept whacking it against the wall, hoping I could get it to shatter. I never did.
   Now I see his name in the papers sometimes, Harvey Weinstein this, Harvey Weinstein that..."

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


"Out of many, one"

It has been ten years since 9/11, and one hundred and ten since this coin was minted.
Sometimes it is worth remembering the history before the history.
With respect for the many people who form our one union, those departed and those still here.