Friday, January 11, 2019

Soul Food

I inhale with shock; The Hunters’ BFF throws down a slab meat on the cutting board. From my fingers to elbow, it’s longer than that and twice the width of my lower arm. The Moose has been hanging in quarters in their cooler for just over a week now. The Hunter, well, he hunted it. I offered to help because I wanted to help. I listen attentively and with thankfulness as the Hunter’s BFF rightfully puts me back in my place when I say something sassy, “You must learn before you can do” he gruffly responds. From a guy who I’ve watched throw up last night’s sushi off the chairlift for ten towers, these are wise words in stern tones that I’m not used to.

I love to cook. I love to cook almost as much I love to eat. I know I don’t necessary look it – don’t ever trust a skinny chef is notable quote. But, I just love the end result of a good appetizer or the beauty of a lavishing dessert. There’s nothing I’d rather do more than get tipsy while standing over a cutting board with wine in one hand and confidence in the other, as I’m chopping this spines of celery and dropping them into a simmering pot for a stew of a sort.  There’s something so therapeutic about spending my Sunday morning making banana chocolate chip muffins and prepping a lunch meal or two for the week to come. I’m a hot mess with ninety percent of my life, but bring it, Monday; I’ve got lentils ready for ya!

It’s killing the feminist in me about how good I am keeping house. But it’s come to good use the last few months. The Hunter has been in a never ending battle with my new-to-me Volkswagen. I hadn’t ev
en driven it over 100KM’s when the dash lit up like a Christmas tree. He’s confident the codes were deleted at the time of the sale, and the duo who sold me Betsy knew about at least some of the issues - oh her grocery list is long. Karma has balanced it out as the Mill they’re at is shutting down a production line, which means at least half of the employees are about to be laid off. I’m confident that with the seniority of these two young bucks at least one of them will be left without a job. So, while the Hunter has spent countless hours and some pretty thought up swearwords makin’ Betsy run, I’ve been Pink-jobbin’ it - hard.

One of my favorite things to do is invite my people over and eat a feast of different foods while socializing. And it’s even better when they show up to help cook. My two strong-willed, unmarried girlfriends and I meet up monthly to cook together and spend the night full of good carbs and liquor. I’ll regularly bust out some hippy/head banging music, open a bottle of craft beer for myself, crack a Bud and hand it to the  Hunter as we get caught up on our rock star week, or take a breather from our crap day while working on a creation to feed our stomachs and souls.

Food is so very social and such a strong part of any culture. I’ve become aware of this with my mostly plant-based lifestyle, and people have said the same with their own food restrictions. Megan and I usually go to our default Asian salad wraps when we get together as we don’t have to worry about meatless preference or her lactose defects. There is something else I would like to get out of the way and lay it all on the table: since The Hunter and I have combined pots and pans, I’ve decided that although I am still focusing on a plant based lifestyle, I’ll eat what he catches and kills himself (you ever had home grown/butchered bacon. Holy fuck). On family and friends tables, I will happily eat the animals that have had a happy life, otherwise, without complaint, I will happily pick out the meat parts and feed to someone else (the Hunter or the person across the table from me), be it bacon in the perogies or sausage in soup, I’m pretty laid back on the cross-contamination debacle.

Despite being a frequent flyer, trying different lifestyles and different food, I view my cooking abilities to be quite limited from a cultural perspective. And this is where 2019 comes into play. For next twelve months, I want to learn twelve different meals and blog along the way:

  1. Mennonite perogies with Janine
  2. Samosas and Masala with Roshni
  3. Sushi with the Kubos
  4.  Make/decorate a Sugarbud Creations cake
  5. Pizza on a BBQ with Mike’s Auntie Fern
  6. Becca’s Bunny Stew
  7. Granny Evdokimoff’s Borsch
  8. Fernando’s Empanadas 

And this is where you come into play. As you can see above, I do not have a list of twelve (and several of these aren't confirmed), so I’m reaching out, as I am Force Friending you and your friends to perhaps invite me over (or I’ll invite you over) to teach me how to create your own special feast (I can provide ingredients/funding for ingredients). It doesn’t have to be food from a different culture, just something unique.

The Hunter’s brought up butchering on several occasions, and this ritual-like process sounds just as important as the hunt itself. A group of us come together to cut up and package the meat as efficiently as possible; The quote ‘It takes a village’ is incredibly fitting, as no one person has the stamina, time or freezer space to butcher that much animal. The Hunters’ BFF throws down a slab meat on the cutting board in front of me: It’s the tenderloin - the nicest cut of meat and he’s about to talk me through how to butcher it. I’m eager to please and the fireball I sip directly from the two-six burns away my nerves. My knife cuts swiftly and smoothly into the flesh. I exhale.


a Chef 

Meh... he'll still do me. - Me, serving myself seconds