To wit: I came home quite late the other night, into the double-digits, craving...sloppy joes. I was really tired, really hungry, more tired than normal, and in my very low level of operating threw together some SJs without batting an eye or marveling at my ingenuity. The next day, though, I was like...damn! gotta remember this. Especially as I had no produce in the house except lemons and nothing but the basic condiments to work with:
Throw 1 lb. of frozen lean ground beef in a saucepan just big enough for the brick of meat to lie almost flat, with a bit of olive oil on the bottom to encourage it (MFK). Turn burner to medium. Then open your refrigerator, check out the condiments in the door, and throw all over the frozen meat in judicious sloshes:
- mustard water (I didn't shake it up enough, but was a spicy kind and I didn't want to add any more)
- unPC slightly sugary tomato sauce
- Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce (biggest glug)
- Worcestershire sauce
- balsamic vinegar
- red wine vinegar
- leftover red wine that's been sitting on your counter for a month
- dried thyme
Slap the lid on and let it percolate undisturbed. Stir it up once--or I should say hack away at the meat with the side of a wooden spoon--to break it up, then go back watch TV until it's done. Serve open-faced on whole wheat toast with knife and fork. Good.
* Unfaithful is often gets cooed over these days as this masterpiece of sensuality and good, "real" movie sex...primarily "female" in its flavor/gaze/tempo/POV/whatever. "Ooooh, that movie" kinda stuff. What I want to know is: why did Fatal Attraction become a cautionary tale of infidelity, and why did Unfaithful (in which, note the husband kills his wife's lover) not? The last half of that movie didn't seem to stick. Are we still marveling at female sexuality in brand-new way that absolves it from sin? Is Olivier Martinez prettier than Glen Close and Diane Lane prettier than Michael Douglas so we don't care? Have we lost our adulterous guilt between the Reagan era & now? Granted, the husbin and wife are in it together more in UnF, but the end result is kind of the same. Perhaps the fact lies in the *French* origins of Unfaithful, vs. puritannical American underpinnings of Fatal Attraction...
* I decided to try and once and for all parse out Jacques Pepin's accent the other day. I find it very entertaining, partly because it's completely immutable--set in stone--frozen exactly between French and English in this funny fashion. Here is what he's actually saying while he's (yum) making fresh corn puree, or, as he kept calling it: "pah-LAWNT-a" (he can't seem to say the "ent" in "polenta" except in a French fashion) for what looked like a lovely dish of poached halibut on corn with red pepper coulis:
"I usk the corn . . . and with a knefe cut the kernel, about two cup--two to three cup of kernel, put them in the blander, you need the BLANDUHR, the food processohr does turn turn faest enuff and also if you have YOANG corn it will liquify easier. . . leeft it up to make sure with your feenghur taste it to see if there is any GRAN in it, it should be quite smooth. . . so put it deereckt right as a little KUSSHHUN of PAHLAWNTA underneath here."
* I got two Amazon self-gifties this weekend. 1. Howard's End and the three-film box set of 2. Doris & Rock classics (Pillow Talk, Lover Come Back and Send Me No Flowers [natch] ).
1. I don't know why I avoid horror movies, cause Howard's End is as freaking brutal as any horror flick! Just with more...shirtwaists. I spent a great deal of time admiring the tension (small, large, overarching, useful) in that plot. Made me wish I could build something that beautiful in its structure. Ismail Merchant and James Ivory disagreed with each other constantly in the little DVD extra documentary. And James Willby: I know he must--he has (Maurice) played characters who aren't self-limiting, deluded, Babbitty, hail-fellow, ignorant, middle-class, hide-bound prigs, but lord has he ever cornered the market. Starting to look kinda twitchy as a result (he was in this week's Agatha Christie too).
2. Speaking as a Doris fan, a Rock fan, and somebody impatient with hopelessly snarky Best Week Ever cultural interpretation, I still gotta say these really are three of the gayest, faggitudinous movies ever (god bless 'em). How fun. And Rock was so beautiful - there's a scene in Send Me No Flowers where he takes off his shirt that is kind of heart-stopping. Big hunk of man. Anyhow, all the movies together this weekend were a big pink and yellow blur and I love them all (Tony Randall is brill in Send Me No Flowers). The best scene in Lover Come Back is when Rock says seriously to Doris, "Can I ask you a question?" and before answering she firmly puts on that pink hat (see). Her hats are a trip in this movie, down to the Jiffy-Pop thing she wears while picking her way wearing Doris white through the wreckage of Rock's carnal party with the advertiser.
* I've been thinking about simple songs recently. As usual, this was because I was trying to sing "Sentimental Journey" along with Doris and noting anew how HARD it is to do so. Well. The fact that there are just two notes in the first 5-6 bars makes it a challenge -- not easy. (Always reminds me of that quote from E.F. Benson: the "simplicity that springs from the highest art"). But what takes a song from simple to simplistic? "Mr. Monotony" is chic and cool...."Survivor" (Destiny's Child) sounds a lot like "Mr. Plow." R. Kelly's made a career out of 3-note songs ("You Are Not Alone," "I Believe I Can Fly") that suck, but "Step in the Name of Love" kinda works. I hate admitting that, because I think he's kinda sucking up in that song to the older black community in Chicago for approval (humor me--who knows), and I love stepping and hate to see him try to leverage it...but it's good! A good stepping song. Feh. Anyhow, try singing "Sentimental Journey" sometime. I dun't know how Doris sang it thousands of times during the war.
* Lance Bass is gay. Thank God, thought my gaydar was off.