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This Recording

is dedicated to the enjoyment of audio and visual stimuli. Please visit our archives where we have uncovered the true importance of nearly everything. Should you want to reach us, e-mail alex dot carnevale at gmail dot com, but don't tell the spam robots. Consider contacting us if you wish to use This Recording in your classroom or club setting. We have given several talks at local Rotarys that we feel went really well.

Pretty used to being with Gwyneth

Regrets that her mother did not smoke

Frank in all directions

Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais

Simply cannot go back to them

Roll your eyes at Samuel Beckett

John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion

Metaphors with eyes

Life of Mary MacLane

Circle what it is you want

Not really talking about women, just Diane

Felicity's disguise

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Robert Altman Week

Friday
Jun052009

In Which We Examine Our Unhealthy Diets

I Have Never Known a Grapefruit

by Tyler Coates

I am almost twenty-five years old and I have never eaten a banana.

To my knowledge, I've also never had an orange, or a cherry. Once a girl I had a crush on pressured me into eating a strawberry, but I haven't had one since.

I was a freshman in college before I branched out from spaghetti to other forms of pasta, because I was so certain that the different shapes would also somehow affect how the pasta's taste.

Most of my friends have accepted, for the most part, that I am the pickiest eater they've ever met outside of their fussy, four-year-old cousins. I can't really explain what is wrong with me, but in the past year or so I've really tried my best to figure out what my deal is (that is, I tried on my own, as I can't afford therapy).

My friends love to play "What Does Tyler Eat?", which, next to Cranium, is my least-favorite game to play with mixed company. The rules are simple: you only need to list of common foods most people eat, and I respond with a "yes" or a "no." One should expect mostly negative responses.

Foods I don't like include macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, pineapples, nuts, beans (of all varieties), pork chops, ham, peas, eggs, tomatoes, and oatmeal.

I've come to accept my eating foibles, but it is a difficult set of rules to live by. I've come to fear eating dinner at friends' houses, afraid that I'll offend their mothers for turning up my nose at the dinner table. My contributions to pot lucks usually involve alcohol, which is what I normally stick to at such events (and if I'm lucky, I remember to eat before leaving my house). Going out to dinner is a typically safe practice, as long as the cuisine isn't too ethnic (no Chinese food for me, please) and I can always order the old standby, the hamburger with mustard and ketchup, cooked well-done.

A lot of people ask if my parents are as picky as me, and they definitely aren't. The thing about living in a town of 300 in rural Virginia, however, is that you don't really get many exotic options. My mother never strayed from a regular menu which included chicken, beef, and pizza. After a few years of preparing a separate meal for me (usually frozen pizza or a hamburger), my mother stopped enabling me and made sure I ate everything the made for dinner, which included the cooked vegetables I still cannot manage to eat today. While her efforts weren't completely in vain (I like grilled pork tenderloin! and turkey!), I can't say that I'm eating a lot of broccoli these days, which is one of the few cooked vegetables I can manage to swallow without feeling sick.

It's not so much the taste of food that I can't handle, but the texture. I'd love to eat more fruit, as I enjoy the flavors, but it's the squishy, juicy feeling of the seedy little things in my mouth that completely turns me off. I'm the same way with cooked vegetables: outside of corn and the occasional piece of broccoli, I can't stand the idea of a limp piece of food sliding around in my mouth.

I never thought of this as a serious problem, as I have been able to work around it when eating meals with friends. It wasn't until last year, when my first serious boyfriend listed it as one of the reasons for breaking up with me, did I begin to think that there might be something wrong and it was affecting other people more than it was affecting me. So, being the cyberchondriac that I am, I started researching on the Internet. Of course, most sites that focus on picky eaters focus mainly on children, not adults, but I did find a sort of online support group, which finally gave people like me a voice! But, since I enjoy reading about people's psychological problems with great joy, I couldn't help but find the site slightly ridiculous. For example, here are tips for getting out of social situations where one's eating quirks will come into the spotlight:


  1. Tell the host you're not hungry.

  2. Pretend you're sick and just threw up.

  3. At the last minute have someone call you about an emergency.

  4. Admit you're unable to eat what is served and just sit quietly.

  5. Complain that you are allergic to the food being served.

  6. Proclaim you're a Vegetarian.

  7. Pretend your fasting and have a medical procedure scheduled.

  8. Decline the food because of Religious Beliefs.

  9. Avoid getting invited in the first place.

  10. Tell everyone the truth that you are the world's pickiest eater and you won't be able to enjoy what's being served.

  11. Show up late around the time everyone is finished eating.

  12. Just don't show up at all.

  13. Offer sex to a man who wants to take you to dinner.


If this website did anything for me, it made me feel less like a crazy person and more like someone who would just rather order a pepperoni pizza than rosemary and orange braised lamb shank served with orzo and parsley gremolata.

 

Tyler Coates is the senior contributor to This Recording. He is a blogger living in Chicago, home of some of America's best restaurants that he constantly avoids.

Nothing is quite as lovely - or simple - as an Arby's roast beef sandwich.

MORE SONGS TO PUT THE TINGLE IN YOUR JINGLE

"Down in the Park" - Gary Numan and Tubeway Army (mp3)

"Place I Know/Kid Like You" - Arthur Russell (mp3)

"Le Ruse" - Tapes 'n Tapes (mp3)

eminelton2copy.jpg

"I Don't Want to Forget About Dre" - Eminelton (mp3)

"Hours" - TV on the Radio (mp3)

PREVIOUSLY ON THIS RECORDING

More on stand-up (previously linked, but so totes relevant!)

Catch up on P-Run From Day One

Girl Power, God bless ‘em

Sunday
Mar292009

In Which Georgia Gives You The McNuggetini

It Shall Be Known By One Name

by Georgia Hardstark

For a few months now, my girl Alie and I had an idea for the perfect late night/after hours snack. It started as a joke. We found ourselves hungry after last call, and seemed to be having regular cravings for McNuggets.

Alie's obsession and constant quest to find the perfect alcoholic beverage/dinner/dessert (also see: White Russian), led us to concoct what is sure to become the new craze for the upscale watering holes.

McNuggitini

Recipe by Alie and Georgia

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients:

2 McNuggz (plus more for snacking)
1 tub McDonalds Brand Barbeque Sauce (plus more for licking off pinky finger)
1 lg. Mcdonalds Brand Chocolate Milkshake (plus more for bringing all the boys to the yard)
1 bottle Vanilla Vodka (recommended brand: Absolut)

Open the McDonalds bag. Eat one McNugg each, followed by two bites of the Filet-o-Fish (make sure you don't tell anyone that you eat Filet-o-Fishes).

Mix three or four shots of vanilla vodka in the McDonalds Brand Chocolate Milkshake, followed by one shot each directly into your mouth.

Rim each martini glass with McDonalds Brand Barbeque Sauce, and pour milkshake/vodka mixture into the glass. Garnish with a McNugg (which is to be swiped along barbeque sauce rimmed glass after the milkshake has been finished, and consumed with pure, unadulterated glee).

Photographic Evidence (thanks to my sister, Leah):

Purchasing the Goods (so exciting!)

 

 

 

Pouring

 


"Vodka...tons."

Shaking

 

Rimming

It's bad luck to pour your own McNuggitini

Prepairing the McNugget garnish

Never pass up an oppourtunity to toast with a friend

 

 

Meat garnishing

 

After months of daydreaming, the final product is here!

 

 

 

"To life."

Tentative.

"Oh sweet Jesus."

 

Don't vomit.

 

Try really, really hard not to vomit.

Try again.

 

Vodka makes everything better

 

You're drinking a McNuggitini, it's almost required that you act like a dork

The money shot.

The End.

 

Georgia Hardstark is a contributor to This Recording. She is a writer and culinary innovator living in Los Angeles. For more gallant Hardstarking, visit her blog. She also tumbls for your pleasure here. You can view her debut on TR here.

 

PREVIOUSLY ON THIS RECORDING

 

The hair makes the man in No Country for Old Men.

 

Venus and Serena remind us of the future.

 

John C. Reilly's beautiful singing voice.

 

Wednesday
Jan282009

In Which We'd Like To Buy The World A Coke (Cake)

Oh, Relax! It's Just a Little Coke!

By Tyler Coates

My father worked for the Coca-Cola bottling plant in my hometown, so we were strictly a Coca-Cola family. This with exception of my pre-teen years, when my acts of rebellion were calling my father by his first name, asking for a Dallas Cowboys Starter jacket for Christmas (our proximity to Washington, DC meant that everyone was supposed to be a Redskins fan), and drinking Crystal Pepsi whenever I had the chance.

Basically, I love Coke: It’s my soft drink of choice. I’ll drink a can in the morning while the rest of you "normal people" drink a cup of coffee (or, you know, something nutritious like orange juice). So when I found out that you could make a cake with Coke in my senior year in college, I decided that it would be my signature dessert.

I had made Coke cake four times before my most recent attempt: once in college with help from my roommate Martha, who was practically a Midwestern housewife, once with my former roommate Kristin, and twice with my ex-boyfriend. I tend to get really tense and worked-up whenever I make an attempt at cooking, so I always needed someone to hold my hand through the process.

I woke up on a recent Saturday morning (uhm, well, afternoon) in a funk: I'm underemployed, I'm single (again), and I have a general sense that I can’t accomplish a damn thing, even when I put my mind to it. Which is why I decided at the spur of the moment to make a Coke cake. By myself. For reals.

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So here are my instructions for the best soft-drink enhanced cake you'll ever have (with thanks to Southern Living for the recipe, and apologies to Emily Gould for the food-blogger's shtick).

Coca-Cola Cake:

Ingredients

* 1 cup Coca-Cola
* 1/2 cup buttermilk
* 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
* 1 3/4 cups sugar
* 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/4 cup cocoa
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
* Coca-Cola Frosting

Coke II is not a recommended ingredient.

Since you don’t have any of the materials to make a cake (except a cake pan and – surprisingly! – sugar), make a quick list of ingredients and head out in the 13-degree Chicago weather to the Dominick’s, which you begrudgingly agree is closer than the Jewel (for once your roommate is right, and she shouldn’t rub it in every time she finds out you have shopped at Dominick’s). Also, buy a whisk and a spatula, since you have neither, and then make a quick stop at Walgreens to buy a hand-mixer for twenty dollars. (Congratulations! You’re on your way to becoming an adult!)

Before you mixing your ingredients, make sure to clear the dishes out of the sink. Give your plastic mixing bowls – the ones that your mother bought you from Wal-Mart when you moved into your first apartment in college, which you have since turned into “popcorn bowls" – a good washing, as they have been sitting in your cupboard for months collecting dust. (It has been a long time since you have had the money to spend of frivolous snacks like popcorn.)

ret

Pull out your first ingredients: the two liter of Coke and the smallest bottle of buttermilk you could find. Combine one cup of Coke and half-cup of buttermilk in the medium-sized mixing bowl; set aside. Remember that you need music to listen to while baking, so jump around the corner into the next room and put the soundtrack to The Big Chill into the boombox you have had since you were in seventh grade. (Remember to play “The Tracks of My Tears” twice when you get to it; you’re in that kind of mood today.)

Shake two sticks of butter out of the package, then triple-check that two sticks actually do make up one cup. Place the butter in one of the ugly plastic bowls your roommate bought from Walgreens and place it in the microwave to soften. Heat for about thirty seconds, I guess? (Sure, why not!)

Place the butter in the large mixing bowl and begin to beat it with the electric mixer you bought this afternoon. Second-guess that the speed of the mixer is actually set at low; when you are satisfied it is, be slightly confused that the butter looks like scrambled eggs. Do you think the butter is supposed to look like scrambled eggs?

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(Do you remember when you made this same cake for Thanksgiving two years ago, and your boyfriend laughed at you because you were so spastic in the kitchen? Try to control yourself. You’re on your own now and you need to buck up. Relax! How about that time you made a Coke cake with your ex-roommate in her new apartment, only to discover a third of the way through prep that the attachments to her hand mixer were actually still in your old apartment? The outcome of today’s cake will be much better than that one. And you won’t have a boyfriend to laugh at you, because you are alone. Tiny victories!)

Gradually add sugar to the butter and beat until blended. Throw in the vanilla extract, then two eggs. Make sure you remove the large pieces of shell that fell into the mixture. Just because you still can’t crack an egg correctly doesn’t mean you can’t make a cake. Continue to beat the batter until blended.

Combine flour, cocoa, and baking soda. You will probably want to do this in a large mixing bowl, and try to remember that for next time since you only have the smallest bowl left. Also, you don’t need to use an electric mixer to combine dry ingredients. Misconception! Take a wet paper towel and wipe down the microwave and counter, which have become covered in flour and cocoa. Don’t forget to brush off your roommate’s package of cherry tomatoes!

Add the dry mixture to butter mixture alternately with cola mixture; begin and end with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended. This will be tricky, of course, because you have two bowls of ingredients to blend into a third. Think of it like a giant Venn diagram, but with food (and without logic). And you have to do that with one hand, because the other will be holding the electric mixer. You’ll probably regret not buying a mixer with a stand, but remember: you make about a hundred dollars a week right now doing data entry as a temp job while you “hold out” for that administrative assistant position of your dreams. You cannot have nice things right now. That is why you buy your kitchen electrics at Walgreens.

ret6

Stir marshmallows into the batter, and don’t hesitate to drop a few extras in there (who measures marshmallows in cups, anway?). After pre-heating the oven to 350 degrees, spray your 13- x 9-inch pan (which you bought specifically for this cake years ago, as it is the only thing you have ever put in it) with some Pam. Even though your recipe says to grease and flour the pan, you don’t need to use flour after the Pam (so, go ahead and rinse it out and then try it with just the Pam this time, okay, big shot?).

Bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes (and remember: set the timer – this is not a DiGiorno pizza we’re cooking here). About fifteen minutes before it finishes baking, prepare the Coca-Cola frosting.

Coca-Cola Frosting Ingredients

* 1/2 cup butter or margarine
* 1/3 cup Coca-Cola
* 3 tablespoons cocoa
* 1 (16-ounce) package powdered sugar
* 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Bring the first three ingredients to a boil in one of your nice saucepans (thank God they’re in better condition than your mixing bowls, which is appropriate as the only thing you normally cook is pasta) over medium heat, stirring until the butter melts. Remove from heat and whisk in sugar and vanilla.

Notice that you still have ten minutes left for the cake to bake, and then ten minutes for it to cool before you are supposed to pour the warm frosting over it. Since you overestimated the preparation of the frosting, and you don’t want it to cool and settle in the saucepan, you’re going to want to whisk it for the next twenty minutes.

After exhaustively stirring while waiting for your cake to cool, pour the frosting over the center of the cake. You don’t necessarily have to spread the frosting evenly; just let it do what it needs to. Congratulate yourself on your first solo attempt at cake making with left over Coke and the Seagram’s 7 Crown you remembered stashing in your cupboard. You may be broke, underemployed, and single, but you make a damn fine cake. Cheers!

Tyler Coates is the contributing editor to This Recording. You can find his Tumblr here.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mOEU87SBTU]

"Community" - Mirah and Spectratone International (mp3)

"Luminescence" - Mirah and the Spectratone International (mp3)

"Following the Sun"  - Mirah and Spectratone  International (mp3)

"My Prize" - Mirah and Spectratone International (mp3)

klp181

PREVIOUSLY ON THIS RECORDING

Molly enjoys beer milkshakes here.

Molly returns to her adolescence here.

Molly on Scorsese here.

ret4

Monday
Jan052009

In Which The Critic Regretfully Excludes Di Fara, El Bulli, The Fat Duck, Pierre Gagnaire And The Shake Shack

The Year in Foodstuffs

by Andrew Zornoza

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Ferris Acres Creamery Sweet Cream Ice Cream

Are these girls having fun, or what?

Bethel, Connecticut has long been the home of Dr. Mike's, one of the great American ice cream shops. The doctor abruptly lost my business last year: just a quick jaunt away, on a straight stretch of Sugar Road, surrounded on either side by fields redolent of cow dung, is the Ferris Acres Farm and Creamery. In a small, unpretentious shack manned by stout armed, affable high school students, ice cream is served in generous portions from March to November.

Don't let the sprinkles and whipped cream and hordes of little leaguers deceive you. Ferris Acres is currently producing one of the greatest gastronomic delights available on this tiny planet -- a simple, exquisitely fresh mixture of cream and sugar: Sweet Cream Ice Cream.

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Known as nata in Portugal and Spain, but produced only as a base flavor in France and America (though if you find Philadelphia-style ice cream you may be close) this ice cream tastes like nothing but pure, sweet, rich, dairy. In the mouth it first gives like tender taffy and then melts like whipped butter. Here the small farm New England dairy cow (a species which is sadly declining) has reached its apotheosis of expression.

The ingredients at the Creamery are impeccable. When you sit at the picnic tables you can watch the cows munch on the grass while you munch on their cream. Cow to mouth distance is obviously minimal.

img_085991121020_std1

Ferris has a whole range of flavors. Chocolate Whooper, Cow Trax, Campfire and Route 302 Chocolate Moo among them. All are excellent and each belongs to a different mood. The Black Raspberry is perfect and so is the Dark Chocolate Espresso. But it is the Sweet Cream that culinary archivists will be storing in their deep freezers for decades.

For a dinner party dessert, heat a cup of sugar in a heavy pan, add a cup of cream and stir constantly until you've got a dark caramel. Put two scoops of the Sweet Cream Ice Cream in a martini glass and drizzle with the caramel sauce.

Another bonus: just down the road from Ferris is the Holbrook Farm, where you can still buy unpasteurized (raw) milk.

Birrificio Doppio Malto Xyauyù Riserva Teo Musso 2005

beer-slowfood-italy-rame_091

Below is a photograph of Teo Musso, who I can only begin to describe to you as an affable cross between Mark Cuban and Vincent Gallo. For two years running, Mr. Musso has made a beer so honeyed, so deliciously sweet, so heavy on the tongue that is would be better classified as a port. Only the slightest tingle on the tongue betrays a palimpsest of carbonation.

cheese05090

About as far from Rome as Joyce was when he wrote Ulysses in Trieste, Teo makes his masterpieces in Piozzo, Italy, at his home-base Birreria-Baladin. Pronounced She-ah-you, Xyauyu is a genre-bending experiment, produced using a combination of brewing techniques and the solera method used in sherries.

Hallertau Hamsbrucker, Spalt Selct and East Kent Golding hops, caramalt, water and yeast burble along at primary fermentation for 25 days. Then the beer is strained and allowed to oxidize through the use of a permeable membrane -- the brewmaster can remove fluid from the bottom of the barrel and add fresher brew from the top. The gold label Riserva has been left in the tanks the longest, for close to three years, until almost all traces of carbon dioxide have gone. This leads to a beer as still as maple syrup (no head here) and with a zoomy 14% level of alcohol. Each bottle is fittingly fitted with a cork rather than a cap.

Xyauyù Riserva can be found in more adventurous brew pubs and brew shops. Thanks to Julian's owner/manager/empresario Brian Oakley for procuring the ThisRecording staff an extra bottle. If you're in Providence, Rhode Island, you may be in luck. The always excellent Julian's currently has bottles -- tell Brian we sent you.

Parador de Mar Menor Arroz de Caldero

2149943976_93094e4947

Do you remember the Polly-O's string cheese commercial?

"Hey, Fred! Gimme a pizza with extra cheese!"
"Extra cheese..."
"...and hold the tomato sauce!"
"Hold the tomato sauce?"
"...and hold the crust!"
"Hold the crust?! Hey, Jimmy... gimme a cheese with nuttin!"

"Nuttin?!"

A Caldero is a paella that has no meat, no seafood, no vegetables. No snails, clams, mussels, peas, onions, peppers or rabbit. No chorizo. It is brown, soupy, the consistency of risotto: but in appearance, not nearly as attractive.

It is just rice. Of course, it's not that simple. Arroz de Caldero is made with a broth cooked from dawn to dusk in a pot Macbeth's witches would covet. Whitings, mullets, sea spiders, angler tails, John Dorys and Dorada (Bream) are stirred, crushed, and patiently observed while they simmer in their juices suspended on a tripod over a wood-burning fire. The jovial and skilled Caldero cook can do two things while his guests wait for their meal: A) effortlessly dole out his homemade horchata B) pick out the fish heads at just the right time, cutting out the cheekmeat and balancing it on an outstretched paring knife for nibbling.

The end result of the stewing process is a stock so intense, so rich, so of the meat of the sea that the calasparra rice it rehydrates needs nothing added. Nothing except a dollop of sharp garlicky alioli to cut the flavor for contrast's sake.

mapmarmenor

The best arroz en caldero is made on the sunny Costa Calida of southeastern Spain. A glass bottom boat can be chartered from Santiago de la Ribera or Las Narejes and will take you across the Mar Menor -- a small saltwater sea once visited by Moor princes, but now more known for its windsurfing. Call ahead to the Parador in Vivero to see if they are making Caldero. This parador (paradors are government supported hotels located in historic locations) is stunning, with an outdoor bar, a patio that fronts the Mediterranean, and views of the sea. Distant wakeboarders and the jagged edges of the Sierra Minera mountains frame the background. In the foreground, the man below sits in his van smoking a cigarette.

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He already will have 3 stock pots going.

His horchata is in a cooler waiting for you, the cheekmeats still burbling away in the stew.

There is coca-cola at the bar.

Extra Small Sweetwater Oysters Hog Island Oyster Company

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Fifty-six miles from the French Laundry, through sinuous curves and unprocessably gorgeous coastline is the Hog Island Oyster Company. Avoid the outposts at the San Francisco Ferry Terminal and elsewhere -- get these pacific bivalves in situ. An oyster needs to be cold, alive, and pulled straight from the sea.

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At Hog Island's Marshall location, oysters are grown tied to racks of re-bar set in directly in the Tomales Bay . The tides of Tomales bay keep nutrients flowing to the oysters and keep the shells curving into the distinctive crennelations, cupping the sweet meat inside.

At Hog Island you will be given a cafeteria tray, a rubber glove and an oyster knife. Bring a bag of Cape Cod potato chips and a bottle of Sonoma champagne. Don the glove and grasp an oyster, cupped side down. Find the hinge of the oyster and slip in the knife. Twist as you cut the muscle and lift away the top shell. Use the knife to free the still shivering oyster and slurp the whole thing down.

Andrew Zornoza is the senior contributor to This Recording. He is the author of the photo-novel "Where I Stay," available from Tarpaulin Sky Press in 2009. His stories have been published in Confrontation, Porcupine, Capgun and elsewhere, with work forthcoming in Gastronomica, H.O.W. and SleepingFish. His latest story is available here. You can e-mail him at azornoza at gmail.com. He lives in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.


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RANHOFER'S PLAYLIST:

“Pork Roll Egg and Cheese” — Ween (mp3)

“New York” — Cat Power (mp3)

“Button” — Shugo Tokumaru (mp3)

"Give me Daughters" — Jonathan Fire*Eater (mp3)

"Ice Cream Man" — Tom Waits (mp3)

 

Yank Sing Peking Duck Sandwich

Wednesday
Aug132008

In Which Georgia Is Definitely Not Going To Eat That


Give It A Try


by Georgia Hardstark


I blame my mom and dad for my first foray into "gross" food. The argument against my parents can be made in one of two ways:

1. I was too young to understand that I was actually eating TONGUE. As in, the thing that's in a cow's mouth until it gets hacked out, thinly sliced, layed out upon a piece of rye bread, and garnished with a pickle.

2. Despite the fact that the name of the food in no way makes it possible for it to be anything other than explained above, I blame them for raising a child too stupid to understand literal terms until that fateful day as a six year old.

I strayed from my usual position in front of the bakery case at Canters to peruse the deli section while my family waits for a table.

IMG_0129.jpg picture by georgia1313


reenactment, 20 years later

When I spot an enormous cow's tongue sitting innocently in the display case, trying to cloak itself in normalcy by being surrounded by more inconspicuous cuts of meat, something in my brain clicks. I still remember the sudden realization that, all those years, I had been putting in my mouth something that at one point could have tasted me back. When we're seated and it's time to order, I stick with matzo brei.

I'm not a timid person. I'm adventurous and of the 'life's too short' persuasion, which leads to boasting that I'll eat anything (anything that's considered "edible", that is). This has landed me in a few gag-inducing situations as well as a few instances where I almost had to eat my words (har har).


Gefilte fish: bring it, betch

Sometimes I miss the child I used to be. The girl who didn't question the origins of that which ended up on her plate, and instead consumed with glee that which her older siblings scoffed at. My painfully thin frame was deceptive of the actual amount of food I could consume.*

*Like my belief in the human race, my metabolism went out the window somewhere in my early 20's.

Chicken livers and hearts...my, those were tasty! Aside from the pate I may spread on a Melba toast or two during Passover, before being reminded of that god-awful dry, chalky texture, I tend to stay away from organs these days (although my grandmother makes a mean faux liver pate).


To me, this photo screams "palate cleanser, stat!"


My "I'll try anything" bluff was called about a year ago when, while dining with two friends at a "small plates" Japanese restaurant, they placed an order for ika no shiokara...or "home-cured, fermented, salted squid guts". It was written in plain English on the menu, so when I stuck my chopsticks into the slimy, bright pink pool of mushiness, I had the unfortunate knowledge of what I was putting into my mouth.


Now, before I go on, I want to make sure everyone knows I'm not making fun of anyone else's culture. As a Jew, I'm aware of the weird cultural gastronomic tendencies that our ancestors have been consuming for generations and how proud people are of their family's culinary history...but sometimes, it just doesn't translate. Take, for example, squid guts:



I'm embarrassed to say that while my friends consumed this dish with glee, later attempting to coerce me into eating more by proclaiming that "it's better with rice!", I had already secretly spit my mouthful into my napkin, and was chugging beer in a vain attempt at getting that god awful taste out of my mouth. Think "taking a shot of ocean water while being hit in the face with a fish," and you'll get the idea.


Likewise, when I was confronted with supposedly edible bugs while writing a piece at the Natural History Museum's bug exhibit, I had to stop at the "chocolate chirp cookies" (a clever way of saying "you're eating a fucking cricket"), or it would have been serious vom-time.


EatingBugs026.jpg picture by georgia1313


You'd think a girl who invented the McNuggetini wouldn't have any hesitation about eating bugs...you'd be wrong.


EatingBugs012.jpg picture by georgia1313


That's a fracking leaf-cutter ant QUEEN on a cracker and a meal worm which, despite what the cook's assistant said, does NOT taste like Corn Nuts.


I have a clear memory, from when I was about three years old, of a friend picking up a snail off the ground and popping it into her mouth, and the ensuing frantic attempt by her parents to retrieve said snail from my friend's mouth. It was not pretty. I'm guessing this is why, despite the fact that I've been to France twice as well as countless French restaurants in Los Angeles, I've yet to give escargot a try. I would, of course, if they were presented in front of me, but that hasn't happened yet.


Same goes for sweetbreads, dried seahorses, Turducken, blood pudding, haggis, and Fugu.


In a "thanks but no thanks" moment similar to my bug-eating escapade: although I adore oysters, when presented with the largest oyster I've ever seen, one that would have taken at least five chews to be ready for swallowing (as opposed to the one or two chews of acceptable oysters), I passed. Same goes for the smoked oysters nestled in a rectangle tin and soaking in olive oil, that had been purchased from the 99 Cent Only store...but I don't think anyone would blame me on that one.



Georgia Hardstark is the contributing editor to This Recording. She lives in Los Angeles, and blogs here.


MARGOT AND ESCARGOT



"My Baby Shoots Her Mouth Off" - Margot and the Nuclear So and So's (mp3)


"Love Song for a Schuba's Bartender" - Margot and the Nuclear So and So's (mp3)


"Broadripple is Burning" - Margot and the Nuclear So and So's (mp3)


from the Daytrotter sessions EP


PREVIOUSLY ON THIS RECORDING


We never score a perfect 10.


You said what you said.


Try to use monohex in a sentence.