Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Mandolin, The Mocha-Choca-Frappa-Whatever, and Me

Saturday was productive.

Went to the mall to use the ATM. When I saw there was a long waiting line, my response was probably the same as anyone else's would be in that situation: "I can wait on the line with a cup of coffee, or without a cup of coffee. I choose with." Turns out the nearby coffee stand was featuring something they called an Irish Mist, consisting of Irish cream, cappucino, whipped cream, and heaven only knows what else. Despite my eastern-European ancestry (and total lack of so much as a corpuscle of Irish blood), I've long been inexplicably fascinated by anything Irish, so I got one. It tasted good. Then the shock hit me: Mr. black-no-sugar-New-York-City-deli-rotgut-and-damn-proud-of-it had, if only for a brief weak moment, become one of thooooooose people. Immediately raising my collar and pulling my hat down over my eyes so as not to be recognized, I finished my banking business as quickly as I could and drank the rest of my coffee beverage in the privacy of my car. Thank goodness for dirty windows.

Stopped at K-mart too. Earlier in the day I was watching Food Network and saw Anne Burrell, my favorite culinary mad-woman, make a wonderful looking parmesan-potato side dish she called Pomme Chef Anne. (An astute comment to her recipe on the Food Network site noted that a "pomme" is an apple; a potato is a "pomme de terre," but let's be forgiving.) As it happened, the recipe required a mandolin, which I didn't have. Found a reasonably priced one at K-mart. Made the dish, and it came out great. (I also made the broccoli rabe dish she showed on the program, and it came out perfectly except for one problem: it tasted like broccoli rabe. Who knew?) If you don't already have a mandolin, here's what I learned:

  • A mandolin can easily become one of the three or four most useful kitchen items you own. It's like those inventions advertised on television in the middle of the night, the ones for the exciting new product that dices, cuts and slices in seconds, cleans quickly, stores easily, and that will make you the envy of all your neighbors. Except this one really works.
  • If you don't learn to use it right immediately, before you know what hit you it can take your arms and legs clean off like The Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. (The irony is that the safe way to use a mandolin is slowly which, of course, defeats the whole purpose of using one in the first place.)

So now the mandolin has been added to the list of items - stand mixer, immersion blender, and food mill being the others - that I would grab if I ever had to run out the door and could save only a few things from the kitchen. And as long as my journal entries don't st rt ooking ike th s, you'll know I've been careful when using it.

Great Scot

While the world tries to make up its mind whether to hate Jay Leno, David Letterman, Conan O'Brien or Jimmy Kimmel, Craig Ferguson simply continues to be funniest man in late night television. Just take my word for it.

The Memory is the Second Thing to Go

There was something else I wanted to post about and now that I'm finally sitting down writing I can't think of what it was. If anyone knows, please remind me. Thanks.

Quick Quiz

Ok, what's this:

a) George Bush putting an Italian hex on demonstrators.
b) George Bush getting ready to lean forward and put his hand behind Dick Cheney's head just as Cheney's picture gets taken.
c) George Bush ordering 4 beers after using a mandolin for the first time.


Tawnya said...

I actually have 2 mandolins, I have a professional version with all kinds of different blades that go with it and I have a rather cheap one that I use when I am in a hurry. Yes, you could lose a finger or two if not careful! I LOVE Craig Ferguson! He is so damn funny all the time. You know he had a stand up special on Comedy Central last year I think it was. Very good, want to find it on DVD uncut. I don't drink coffee or coffee beverages, but sometimes I guess you just gotta have one!

Indigo said...

In your defense the Irish frap coffee sounded good to me too.

As for the mandolin. I had a hard time reading this because I kept thinking of the instrument. Then I looked up an image of the Mandolin for the kitchen. *Blink* Maybe I'm just simple but in my day we just called that a meat slicer (winks). (Hugs)Indigo

oldhousegal said...

How nice to see you back Ben. I feared you had been consumed by a Godzilla-sized case of writer's block. Your fussy coffee story made me laugh. I won't even mention how many calories were probably in that drink. I am a non-coffee drinker myself, not by choice but by necessity. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the taste of coffee, fussy or not, but unfortunately it does a number on my digestive system and then all the Nexium is for naught. The mandolin sure does sound useful, but then that would mean I'd have to cook and I'm trying to avoid that as much as possible these days. I wish my husband would take the hint. By the way, I know what the picture of Bush is: He's channeling his inner ten-year-old. Oh wait, he didn't need the hand gesture to do that, did he?

DB said...

I don't know Ben, I used to play one of those in a band. Amazing what you can do with it.