Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Escargot and Pernod as NASCAR snacks

First up, I really hope everyone in Southern California is doing okay! What an awful situation. I've seen wildfires in Florida, but I can't imagine anything that big and unstoppable, with that little hope for rain. The Deep South's just starting to get a millifraction of the rain it needs, after months of drought. But the Midwest got walloped with tornadoes! We've gotten floods up here in NYC these past few months! I really wish I could spread the rain around more evenly. Since I can't, I'm praying to the Rain Gods for much more activity and the Wind Gods for much less activity, every hour on the hour practically. Damn and double damn.

These are only two of the many San Diego residents I worry about: Bai Yun and her as-yet-unnamed teddy bear of a baby. I worry about quite a few people in San Diego as well. That's the thing about forming relationships online. The more you know, the more opportunity you have to worry. I'm glad to know people out there anyway.

I said in that last post that L'Ailee and I have learned so much more about each other since I moved in with her. That process still continues. I learned that my wife really, really, really loves escargot. I did see her eat it once, years ago, and she insisted that I eat one, which I could barely get down, but I didn't know she loved it that much. Here I am thinking I'm a pretty good cook, judging by her reactions, and it turns out I only have to impress somebody who'll cheerfully eat giant snails!

I found out because there was a recipe for "Snail Butter" in the Washington Post last week. It looked so good that I could sort of understand how one can be convinced to eat snails with it. It involves real butter, lots of garlic, and Pernod. Asking me to buy a bottle of Pernod is a real good place for a recipe to start, I think. Now, I had absolutely no intention of using it for its original purpose. I am always happy to rip elements out of context and re-mix them, so I figured that it would be good for sauteed mushrooms and help me salvage some bland and mushy "artisan white" bread. L'Ailee watched me write my list of ingredients Saturday morning.

"Escargot!" she exclaimed, seeing the recipe's name. "You're making escargot!" She clapped her hands, as she tends to when she's extremely happy. Then she narrowed her eyes suspiciously. Pause: my wife's a touch paranoid, and she'll be the first to admit that (her dominant personality style, according to the Personality Self-Portrait, is "vigilant"), but I actually give her reason to be suspicious. I won't cook meat for her unless she really needs to be cheered up, she's really earned it, or I've really screwed up. So if things are just ordinary and I'm cooking snails, she figured, I must have done something colossally wrong.

"Are you having an affair?" she demanded before I could explain that I was only making snail butter, not snails.
"Of course not!"
"Are you *planning* to have an affair?"
"Do *what*? Hell no, it's only you! Nobody else is even on the radar!"
"So why are you cooking escargot for me?"
"Oh, babycita." I sighed. "I'm not making escargot, only the butter for it."
She looked crestfallen. "Okay."
"You look awfully disappointed that I'm not having an affair," I joked.
She smiled wanly. "I love escargot, very much. It's been a long time since I ate some. But I am sure that what you are making will be good."

Now how could I get out of that without committing to making a serving or two of snails just for her? I couldn't, just couldn't. But I gave her some ideas as to how she could earn it. I decided to make it on race day, Sunday. We would be alone, and we like to eat during the race. I would have garlic butter mushrooms instead of snails, and we'd both have decent bread and a nice salad.

When I bought the stuff, I pestered a clerk who seemed to want to be the next Emeril about preparation. He explained a few things (I didn't have to do too much! Yay!), then winked and said, "Trying to impress somebody, huh?"
"Trying to make my wife happy," I said.
"Wife? You don't look like a lez."
"You don't look like a troglodyte, either. I hope at least you don't cook like one." He was a bit steamed, but I was the same. I still can't believe I got that nonsense, and in NYC, yet!

I double-checked the asshat clerk's instructions against instructions online, and it worked out. Canned escargot are really a snap to fix. My erstwhile instructor's creepiness distracted me from the odd and disgusting aroma of the cooking snails, and vice versa, as I cooked early Sunday afternoon. I took a well-deserved e-mail break, fixed my mushrooms, poured myself some Pernod, and then focused on L'Ailee and the race. I wasn't going to taste a single one of those icky snails. I sort of did anyway, as L'Ailee was so thrilled that she immediately tongue-kissed me after eating the first one. I could deal with that.

This is why, even though there were many couples watching the Martinsville race and its record number of cautions, we were undoubtedly the only female couple watching it with escargot and Pernod as accompaniments. And that is why, even though there was a brief flare-up between me and L'Ailee, a homophobic asshat, and a win by Jimmie Johnson in it, I think I had a pretty decent weekend.


Kung Fu Panda! With Jack Black! I totally must see this next summer! I wondered when the panda movies were coming!

I tell y'all Rudy Giuliani is scum! Not even the "piss off the Religious Right" benefits will be in effect, apparently.

Columnist Steven Chapman and I are both liking Obama more and more. One big reason--which may ultimately hurt him--is his tone that's everything but angry.

An aspirin a day might help men more than women.

The Brotherhood of the Disappearing Pants is out! It's hilarious. The website's just a taste. Written by the guys behind Sweet Jesus, I Hate Bill O'Reilly

The IRS isn't liking those religious right voting guides.

Lastly, Patti Wiginton, About.com's Wicca/Paganism guide, offers an intriguing Samhain rite for honoring animals.


alan said...

I love the troglodyte comment!

Absolutely adore it!


Carie said...

the fires here are bad...my dad lives by santa barbra and has been evacuated...alot of my friends are out there somewhere and I worry...the air is horrible to breath...these fires just seem to be getting bigger as the days progress...and no rain in the forecast :(

lol on the escargot, I could never eat a snail...but I think the story behind yours is so cute and sweet :) but the snail butter is almost exactly wheat we use for mushrooms and shrimps over egg noodles lol..

just saw a story of the beijing panda that bit the guy who jumped in the exercise cage, why would anyone do that? The poor panda was so scared, the boy got bit but he deserved it...I worry about the Pandas there, last year the same Panda got bit by a man who jumped the gate to hug it...they need to do more to protect the poor pandas there...

and I have to add that while we were at the fair my little girl took all her money and donated it to saving the giant pandas :) of course we gave her more money, but I was so proud of her :)

ConnieJane said...

Great race once again... I dare say you had to be the only fans eating escargot while watching!

Peterson Toscano said...

Ah, that photo gives me the warm fuzzies.

cats said...

i love snails!!! there was a chinese buffet bear where we lived in nj and they would have them occasionally! what a treat when i would discover them there.

i know people in ca and in the south. mother nature hasn't been very happy, has she? hoping and praying things get better soon.

DaisyDeadhead said...

What a sweet, beautiful baby panda!!! (((cuteness attack)))

BostonPobble said...

Re: the fires ~ guess where Lithus has been? *sigh*

Re: the troglodyte ~ you are BRILLIANT

Re: the animal ritual ~ Lionel and Daisy are SO getting that this year! Thanks from all three of us.

Jaded said...

Sorry, but snails look like snot to me. Ick.

And I just saw a very nice article in my local paper about a Samhain celebration. I thought it was nice that it was presented in a positive manner, in a local paper, no less. Here's the link. Sorry, you'll have to copy/paste.


Dr. Deb said...

I was so worried about the SD Zoo!!