notes from
the MUCK . . .

How does your garden grow? With muck, muck and more muck! I spent much of today finishing the final muck box and then shifting muck from one box to the next. The first box, which the Big Lad is enthusiastically pointing out, has been rotting down for two years now and once we’d removed the top quarter of unrotted material, we found we’d hit the pay dirt.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Culinary Breakdown

On the way home from B----, my stomach made some rumblings about pizza and starvation, though not in that order. Pizza sounded nice to my ears, and even better to my taste buds. Then it occurred to me that I've been taking the easy road these past couple of days. Take out burritos and microwavable Boca kind of easy. I decided that it was time to cook. An hour and a half later, my stomach taken its cold revenge. I feel sick. There is a half full glass of wine (who said I was a pessimist?) that has just been sitting there. Untouched. This, obviously, is absurd. Every time I reach for it, however, I feel a striking, disciplinary pain in my gut. My punishment, I'm gathering, is to sit on the couch and think about what I've done.

After vetoing the pizza bill, I set about finding an inexpensive alternative both delicious and on the healthier side of bread and cheese. I've also been on a cooking kick lately and wanted something I could prepare, even if it meant only a couple of simple steps. Then I remembered Niki's famous vegetable noodles in peanut sauce dish, which is simple and very tasty. Plus, I had most of the ingredients already; I just needed to buy the vegetables. And a bottle of Dos Lomos Malbec.

Then something happened. After I got home and started mixing the peanut sauce, I had an overwhelming urge to try my hand at making a cheese dip. At the time, I thought this vision of quesotic majesty appeared out of nowhere. It is only now that I realize something far more sinister was at play. And so it was that my irritable abdomen tricked me into throwing every ounce of cheese I owned into a sauce pan and mixing it with milk and chipotle chili powder. Here's a tip: mozzarella doesn't melt well. The result was a lumpy, turd-brown solution punctuated by white cocoons of mozzarella resembling the ends of eggs.

I had to try it. That much is understandable. What I didn't have to do was take more than one bite, which was sufficient to let me know that I had failed. Yet I could not stop myself. One chip after the other found its way into the Double Dare slime fest that was my creation, and from the dip to my trembling mouth. It was disgusting. I ate over half of it.

Suddenly I snapped out of it. Some force had taken hold of me and I had broken free, but for how long? The situation demanded swift, decisive action. I did the only sensible thing I could think to do. I ran outside and dumped the foul mess over the fence and into my neighbor's yard. Once when I was a child, I buried an ill-gotten Playboy magazine to hide my shame. I suppose I haven't changed much in twenty years.

My stomach was killing me already. I felt nauseated, cramped. A sensible chef would have cut his losses and put the main course aside for another meal. So I did the opposite of that and whipped up the noodle dish in a panicked fury of pain and confusion. My rash decision led to an inadequate product. There was too much soy sauce, not enough honey, and I'm pretty sure the peanut butter was rancid. I have no idea if peanut butter can go rancid, but if it could this peanut butter would have done so long ago.

I sat down with the meal and a glass of the Malbec. I took five bites before I put the bowl down. Everything about it was wrong. It was savory where it should have been sweet, sweet where it should have been savory, and don't let anyone ever tell you that spinach noodles can be used for just anything.

Something that sounded like a train in the distance distracted me from my self-pity. It was coming from underneath my shirt. I laid down as an avalanche of digestive destruction crumbled every quaint abode in the village of my appetence. It was over. I had faced Appolo Creed of my desires and I had lost. "Adrian," I called out, "you'd better order a pizza." She would have, too, if she were real. But that would have been a terrible idea. It's far too late to make amends. Visiting hours are now over.

I had the audacity to hope for a different sort of meal tonight, but voting for change necessarily earns you the wrath of those who fear it like the plague. Like a spoiled child, my perturbed paunch will keep me up all night, crying and carrying on. And me, I'm left here suffering like the poor fat bastard I am, curled into a fetal position on the couch, staring at a glass of red wine and unable to see in it anything but tomato sauce.

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