Friday, May 02, 2008

Not-so-slow-cook Nday

The inestimable Mrs. G., Doyenne Meilleur of Derfwad Manor, does this delightful thing she calls Slow Cook Thursday where she hosts someone whose personality is revealed by Mrs. G's version of the Proust Questionnnaire, a la James Lipton (Inside the Actors Studio), a la Bernard Pivot, a la, a la, outs in free.

Being a great admirer of classical literature, I know that even the very best writers have been known to steal an idea, file off the serial numbers, repaint it, and offer it up as their own creation. Who am I to argue with genius? Therefore, I am hereby flat-out stealing this thing from Mrs. G. and "repainting" it for my own amusement here. Imagine a base of green/purple chameleon paint with some swoopy, badass graphics in hot orange.

I hope that Mrs. G., if she ever even notices the theft, will consider it in the context of imitation as the sincerest form of flattery rather than theft of intellectual property as an actionable, litigial offense.

Let us begin.

Where are you from?
New Orleans. I am a child of Jim Crow, Civil Rights, the (Viet Nam) antiwar movement, New Orleans blues, French laissez-faire Catholicism with a soupcon of Voodoo, and drive-through daiquiri stands. Before I was 18, I was playing music in seedy French Quarter bars while attending an exclusive military prep school run by the Jesuits and the U.S. Marines. It was a fascinating place and time to grow up. At this point in my life, I've actually spent more years in the Seattle area but New Orleans defined my formative years.

Who is your favorite musical artist?
I protest. Not a realistic question! To resist, I'm tempted to give an uncooperative answer: ME! However, I'll give ya this. The living musician I would most like to be like is Art Neville. It was Professor Longhair, before he died. I love James Brown. And then there's John Lee Hooker and most of the Delta Blues gang, especially the graduates of the Angola School of Music and most especially the ones who did postgraduate work at Angola's exclusive Red Hat House. Yeah, you know what I'm talkin' about. Also, like the song says: I don't like Reggae. Oh no! I LOVE it! Bob Marley's Exodus is an anthem for all time. I could go on… and on…

What is your idea of a perfect Sunday morning?
Morning? Well, adjusted for my personal timeframe… Wake at eleven-ish. Snuggle and make love with Ronnie for an hour or so. Have a nice shower together. Go downstairs to find that the girls have prepared a wonderful brunch which we all enjoy together: Champagne and/or kir royale, limitless quantities of bacon, quiche, crab cakes, and Bananas Foster, with pleasant family conversation and discussion about what we might like to do for the afternoon and evening. That takes us into the early afternoon and our postprandial nap!

Too bad this is the "idea of a perfect Sunday morning" which means it's pure fantasy! Although, come to think of it, the girls know how prepare every item in that brunch menu. Hmmmmnnnnnnn...

Baths or showers?
Both simultaneously. I like my water VERY HOT. Our tub has two showerheads (at opposite ends) and I start with a drenching shower to get clean, then let the tub fill while the shower continues to beat down as I recline in languor. Sometimes when the tub is full, I'll stop the shower and jacuzzi for a while. Whether I jacuzzi or not, after a while I'll drain the tub (still under, or returning to, the flowing shower) and let it refill. Ultimately, I'll drain the tub and finish with a vigorous shower rinse. When our present water heater dies, I'm gonna replace it with an even bigger one. This is my one, great, consistent, personal indulgence.

What is the last book you read?
I read a lot so the answer to this question could be anything from sublime to sub-slime on any given day. My specific response today is: Fiction, Darkly Dreaming Dexter – Lindsay. Nonfiction, The God Delusion – Dawkins.

What is the last movie you saw?
As with books, I watch a lot of movies. My specific answer today is Shichinin no Samurai (Seven Samurai), one of my favorites which I revisit at least once a year.

If no one is around, do you swear?
Fuck yeah! I swear alone, with family, in public, on this blog, every fucking place.

Who is your secret [boy/girl]friend?
I guess it hasta be Salma Hayek. She's physically alluring, intelligent, articulate, talented… Hell! She's almost as desirable as my princess, Ronnie! Now if I could only get Ronnie to replicate Salma's snake-laden striptease from the movie From Dusk Til Dawn… Yow!

Waitaminit! Brain fart update on 5/9. Howzabout Emmanuelle Beart? Check her out in Date with an Angel. It's much more entertaining than that pathetic Mission Impossible crap with Mr. Psycho Scientology. Or, of course, in any of her French-language movies. I completely forgot about her and her famous cover shot for Elle.

What is your favorite laundry detergent?
REI's campsuds because it's biodegradable and it makes me think about being in the Carribbean, sitting on the sugarscoop (swim platform) hand-washing my clothes and my self in the warm, tropical ocean before a final rinse of fresh water from the cockpit shower. Ahhhhh!

If hell exists, what would you like to hear Satan say when you arrive at the fiery gates? And those ain't the thermopylae of classical Greece, I can assure you!
I don't believe in supernatural hokum of any kind. Alive is alive and dead is dead. Period. However, to play along, I'll present Lucifer, Former Prince of All the Angels [Princeps Angelorum Olim *Futurusque*?], this way.

Lucifer appears as a man of middle height, approximately thirty years of age, mesomorphic, and the color of malt-flavored Ovaltine. His hair is brownish-black, wavy, and worn in a long ponytail. His eyes are the green of the mutagen pouring from Circe's glass bowl onto the unsuspecting Scylla in Waterhouse's Circe Invidiosa bracketing a nose with an insouciant knob from an unrepaired past break and his full lips are curved in an inviting smile contained within a full-but-closely-trimmed beard. He wears low-quarter, white, indoor court shoes with volleyball kneepads resting on the tongues, bright yellow shorts, and a long-sleeved Fox Racing jersey in white, blue, and yellow.

He stands beneath an imposing arch of lustrous obsidian, designed in a Japanese-flavored Roman style, whose keystone bears the engraving: TYRANNI NON CEDE. (Do not kneel to a tyrant.) And below that: PARILIS PARILEM INVOCAT. (Like calls to like.) I see myself reflected refulgently in the obdurate obsidian and am intrigued. Instead of the old, grey, balding fat man I normally see in the mirror, I, too, appear thirtyish and in my competitive-gymnast shape. Pleasure floods through me in a warm wave, like a healthy bolus of diazepam introduced directly into a vein. Like my host, I'm wearing white tennies with kneepads resting at my ankles. My shorts are an incarnadine shade which can only be my favorite cadmium red, and my long-sleeved jersey mirrors that color with the addition of a festive chromium yellow and a purple so Tyrian as to make a Caesar jealous.

Lucifer steps forward and enfolds me in an exuberant embrace, kissing both cheeks, then steps back with a wide smile, revealing good teeth which have neither been tortured by the modern American fervor for unnaturally pluperfect orthodonture nor do they resemble a picket fence hit by a runaway car like typical British dentition. When he speaks, his voice is pleasantly modulated and his English is American standard with a dash of Creole seasoning. He exclaims:

Bienvenue, mon vieux, where ya at? We've been waiting for you! We have a great volleyball match starting soon, so let's go get warmed up. After that, we'll recuperate with a crawfish boil and an evening of wide-ranging conversation fueled by a mature merlot. Or two. I'm gratified to guarantee we'll have a tremendous time today and during each and every evanescent event of every eon of your amaranthine afterlife. Before you know it, Ronnie will be along to join in. Welcome home!

He pauses briefly, an almost unnoticeable caesura, then continues in a slightly quieter, intimate tone,

Parilis parilem invocat. C'mon; there are some people I know you've just died to meet!

He winks and turns to pass under the arch, heading toward the gym. I follow with a bounce in my sweet, new tennies.

There's no room here for my very favorite narrative poem: The Aeneid by Vergil. (Note my e-mail name is PVMaro, for Publius *Vergilius* Maro.) Instead, I give you these shorties:

O xein!, angellein Lakedaimoniois hoti teide
keimetha tois keinon rhemasi peithomenoi! - Simonides of Ceos


Non amo te, Sabidi,
nec possum dicere quare;
hoc tantum possum dicere,
non amo te. - Martial

plus its amusing English translation/variant:

I do not like thee, Doctor Fell,
The reason why, I cannot tell;
But this I know, and know full well,
I do not like thee, Doctor Fell. - Thomas Brown

I do NOT do crockpots, pressure cookers, electric ranges, nonstick pans, and a whole lotta other stuff that I just don't like to cook with. But specific to this exercise, I don't do crockpots (slow cookers). Instead I'll offer the kids' favorite cruising recipe, which takes a while to cook so it kinda counts as "slow" - Sole Chicken aka Teak-and-holly Chicken. It's called that because midway through the cooking process when I went to check on it, I spilled the contents of the dish onto the sole. The "floor" of a sailboat is called the "sole" and it makes a nice auditory play on soul vs. sole. The sole is made of teak and holly strips, thus the alternate name "teak-and-holly chicken."

Being the frugal (CHEAP!) sailor/chef that I am, I just scooped it all back into the dish, confident that the continued cooking would kill any germs. According to the kids, this step is what adds that special flavor which is otherwise missing. You may consider this step optional!

Enjoy a rum punch in the cockpit while watching the sun set as the chicken cooks. Alternatively, you may prefer a tequila sunset cocktail if you think there's a possibility that a flock of pink "terries" might do a sunset fly-by. (wink!) [If this reference makes absolutely no sense to you, read this post. The specific revelation is near the end.] Then have another with dinner. Or two. Perfect!

Sole Chicken aka Teak-and-holly Chicken
feeds 4

Chicken breasts – 4 (I like boneless-skinless but it doesn't really matter)
Onion – 1 chopped fine
Bell pepper – 1 chopped fine
Celery – a coupla ribs chopped fine
Garlic – a few toes chopped fine
Bay leaf – a couple
Rum – enough to get things wet (I use a cup... or so!)
Orange juice – 1/2 cup or so (when cruising, substitute a local juice: guava, etc.)
Cinnamon – about 1 tsp
Cayenne – to taste (that means use a LOT!)
Paprika – to taste
Salt and pepper – to taste
Cooked rice

Preheat oven to 350. Pour half the rum and half the OJ into a 9X13 baking dish. Sprinkle half the veggies (all the bay leaves) into the dish. Place breasts on top. Sprinkle with cinnamon, cayenne, paprika, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle the rest of the veggies over the chicken. Splash on the rest of the rum and OJ. Bake about an hour, depending on your oven. (Boat ovens are notoriously finicky.) Place breasts on plates and serve with rice. Remove the bay leaves and stir the veggies. Correct the seasonings then spoon 'em over the rice. Or put 'em on the side. Or not, depending on how much your kids like or dislike veggies.

Remember, to make truly authentic (original-style) sole chicken, after about half an hour of cooking, open the oven to check the chicken and spill it onto the sole (floor). Then scoop it all back into the pan. Like I said earlier, you're free to consider this step optional!


Thanks, Mrs. G! My abject apologies for abusing your memorable meme.


  1. When I join you beneath the arch with a body like Salma's, then you'll get your snake dance. I swear!

    Although I thought she was sexier in Desperado.

  2. Quandary alert!

    On the one hand, this makes me anxious to get to the place beneath the arch!

    On the other hand, you're pretty fun now and I'm in no rush to get to the place beneath the arch!

    Decisions, decisions... (VBG!)

    I agree she was sexier in an overall sense in Desperado and her role in FDTD is kind of a cameo; but a snake striptease is such a delightful, lascivious image, full of allusion and allegory.

  3. Okay, I've read this post before, but not after eating at your house. Sole Chicken, with the trinity, is looking like it may make this week's menu. Yummm.

    I miss you all!

  4. David cooked it tonight. It was very good. Next time more chili to taste. And a little more salt. But good.

    Thank you.

  5. Schuyler,

    Glad y'all enjoyed it. That recipe is more about the story than the food but still... it is edible, even if you make it "original style." (wink)

    We miss you all. I wanna dye my hair!