Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Next Food Network Star

Hi everyone, I’m Chef Daustin and tonight I’m going to share with you a style of cooking that often gets overlooked, but with the right recipes and the right tools, is guaranteed to make some knockout meals! A lot of people think that to be a great chef they have to be able to perfectly chiffonade fresh herbs, brunoise leeks, simmer a mirepoix, create a silky béchamel and somehow combine these techniques to produce a meal that sounds more French than any of its parts. But no, ce n’est pas necessaire. Sure, if you’re running the kitchen of a Michelin-starred restaurant, you’re going to need to know how to parler la langue de la cuisine. And if you’re having a dinner party and cooking for 10 other people, you might want to at least see what Julia Child videos YouTube has to offer. But for most of us, these fancy-shmancy recipes are just plain out of touch. Let’s be realistic – you’re not cooking for 10 people very often. Maybe you cook for 5 people once every couple of months. Maybe. But you – and don’t take this the wrong way, I’m in the same boat – cook and eat most if not all of your meals alone. Sometimes with the refrigerator door still open.

Cooking for one gets almost no attention from today’s cookbook publishers and celebrity chefs. People assume that real cooking entails elaborate preparations for multiple diners whereas cooking alone entails eating halfway thawed hot dogs over the sink; but in reality, cooking for one can be just as elegant, refined and delicious as any multi-serving meals – and I’ve got the recipes to prove it! Read more for a few of my favorites. Bon appétit!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Ode to Francis the Bus Lady

Oh Francis, sweet Francis
Why have you left me?

How can I take one more step onto that gum-stained floor without hearing your angelic song:
“Good morning, King David!”
Huzzah! Music to my ears!

And your smile? Where hath it went? Your nourishing smirk which gave life to my sleepy morning disposition is now replaced by a rigid half-toothed grin of an ogre!

Somehow the sweaty passengers are just not as repulsive
The cord not as fulfilling to pull and listen for that ding
The baby not as cute for me to give a cheery wave

But alas, sweet Francis!
You have moved on.
On to the great unknown of the 41.
All I wish, all I want in this world
Is for you to remember your King David
For I will never forget my Francis the Bus Lady

Monday, June 13, 2011

Dark Clouds, Fading Lights

 I was drunk.

Drunk on romance, drunk on manifesto, drunk on that vainglorious philosophy, which, if scrutinized by the lucid, would sooner be tossed than a graduate's copy of Meditations.  Mostly I was drunk on that bottom of the barrel brew, bistro's soft-pedal as 'house wine'. It's that filthy red shit that conforms your cogitations to its own murky character.  It's a conduit for ersatz genius and desultory conviction.  In most probability, it had a hand in the deluge of many once-great empires.  And then there was the ouzo and single malt.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Writing About Writing

In the interest of keeping my brain functioning for more than a few weeks past graduation, recently I've been looking back at some of my writing from the past four years.  As most of you know, I was an English major, and in my senior year decided to express my desire to write by declaring a Creative Writing Concentration.  What does that mean exactly?  Not much.  I'd already taken more writing classes than are needed (4) for this classification, and it was as simple as filling in about 3 lines on a form in the Registrar's office.  In trying to further this effort, though, I took a class called Advanced Prose in the spring of my senior year.  This was a small workshop style class--only nine members and one meeting each week.  Our projects could be whatever we desired.  Most people wrote fiction (short stories and two attempts at a novel), there were a couple of deeply personal memoirs, and one collection of travel writing stories.  Those were mine if you couldn't guess.  

Thursday, June 9, 2011

"The Screening Period" - Infinite Rest

Previous Entry: Infinite Rest
For something that seems so obscure, so unlikely, so remote it was remarkably easy to find the closest sleep studies to me. A quick google of “sleep study portland maine” didn’t turn up anything promising, so I tried “sleep study boston” and the first hit was to the Research Study Subject Recruitment page for the Harvard Division of Sleep Medicine. For some reason the success of a simple Google search is still able to instill some sense of pride, of self-sufficient (search-sufficient?) DIY know-how. There was a list of about 20 active studies, each with its own tagline and then a short summary of what the study would entail. The taglines offered some paltry information about the studies they were representing, but I think their main function was not to inform, but to lure in potential subjects. One study’s tagline was “Need some light in your life?” Only in the context of sleep studies can such a seemingly innocuous question feel so sinister. And of course there was no indication in that study’s summary that light would play a role in the study, leaving one no choice but to conclude that they would be locked in a room with the lights on for God knows how long.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Reentering the Earth's Blogosphere: or How a Cartoon Has Kept Me From Writing

I'm heating up, flying down through the blogosphere, cruising past space dust and satellites broadcasting the Bruins game and sharing my personal information with anyone who wants it.  Damn cloud computing.  Much has happened in the time since last posting, and covering all of it would be exhausting and an exercise in banality.  So, in brief, since late April I have: written several papers, crammed for an Art History exam, passed my classes, graduated, moved down to the coast, watched a couple games of Ultimate Frisbee, climbed some damp rock, gotten approximately 12,594 blackfly bites, spread some mulch, planted a garden, walked on the beach, gone swimming in the frigid waves, eaten mussels, hosed out moldy trash cans, walked Lucy, and read most of a book called Anthill (it's not good).  I did some other stuff too, but that's the gist of it.  It's been an interesting month and a half.  In the all the hubbub, though, there's been an activity that has grounded me and reminded me fondly of my youth.  Most days I indulge in it, and it is the focus of the rest of this post.  So read on if you like cartoons...

Friday, June 3, 2011

Watching the Corn Grow

If you drive into the city of Fresno from any direction, you will see the same repetition of scenery in slightly different forms. Highway 99 from the northwest takes you through vistas resembling Napa Valley, with curtains of grape vines stretching for miles-cultivated for any of the fruit's 3 forms of consumption: wine, grape or raisin. Coming in from the West follows a straight, flat highway 180 bisecting the most abundantly fertile land in our country, home to blinding amounts of cotton, tomatoes, lettuce, onions and cantaloupe. Highway 41 stretching into town from the South acts as almost a mirror image of its northern counterpart, Highway 99. Grapes are truly King in Fresno County; so much so, in fact, that there's a little town south of the city aptly named Raisin City. And to the East, slowly crawling up into the Sierra Nevada foothills along Highway 180, are the county's true poster-child: the stone fruits. Now, I have not tried any yet, for 'tis not the season, but I have heard that Fresno county's apricots, plums and peaches are the greatest in the world. "Like taking a bite into a juicy sphere of pure sugar," they say. After having already tasted the strawberries grown here, I trust every word any Fresnan tells me about the quality of fruits. They know their produce.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Infinite Rest

Blogger's note: As most of you probably know, I participated in a sleep study at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston from November 12th to 25th, 2010. Over the next few months I'll periodically be posting the journal entries I wrote while in the hospital. Except for minor spelling and grammatical revisions, I've refrained from editing the journal entries and will be posting them exactly as they were originally, sloppily penned. However, I might end up omitting some of the boring stuff, for your sake and mine. I might even end up scrapping the entries altogether and just start making stuff up. But for now, integrity. And a few posts, such as the following prologue, have been written ex-hospital, to serve as contextual bookends. Hope you enjoy, or at least that you don't fall asleep.


Sometime in the late summer or early fall of 2010 I found myself en route to Rumney, New Hampshire for a week, or maybe it was an extended weekend, of rock climbing. I was making the two and a half hour drive from Maine with Tucker, a friend who'd graduated from college a couple years before me and had been drifting between temporary jobs ever since. He wasn't the type to settle into an office job right after school, and as far as I know, he's still floating around somewhere, I think up in the Pacific Northwest now. A couple years earlier I'd driven cross-country with Tucker and a couple other friends. For us it had been an excuse to camp and climb across America and even earn a little college credit for it; for Tucker, it was a rather impromptu relocation, as he ended up staying in Crested Butte, Colorado to try his hand as a ski bum while the rest of us continued the road trip for another week or so before returning home to finish school.