Monday, June 14, 2010

here we go

Like K said, a dear friend died last week.

Those of us who knew M are devastated. He was a beautiful, fucking real person and you don’t come by those too often. Sometimes we can talk about our feelings and share stories, but knowing that M is dead is a whole other story. How the hell are you supposed to wrap your head around something so terrible it can’t possibly be true? How come M and his five year old son don’t get to grow old together? No, it is not fair. It is cruel and overwhelming and raw and we’ve only just gotten started. I guess you do what you can until the weight of it all shifts a bit and starts to leak out of you. Out of us. When one of us can cry, we all breathe a little easier. We can start to feel again. We can talk about M and how hard he held it down, how terrifically he fucked shit up and how solidly he built it back up. Because one thing is for sure: we are in this together, and we can’t stop now.

I am S. esss. I want to say I have healthy and safe ways of taking care of myself and friends in times like these. I do, for the most part. Lately, though, it’s been hard enough getting food in my mouth, leaving the house, and remembering what it was I set out to do in the first place. It’s been hard to stay connected and involved in my own nourishment, on all levels.

I also want to say my counters are cluttered with fresh, vibrant fruits and vegetables; that my hands smell of chopped ginger and garlic; that at least my kitchen is a safety zone where all my senses are happy and sated. I want to say my friends and I gather in each other’s kitchens and make meals together: a choreography of chopping, stirring, tasting, tossing, setting the table, and enjoying the fruits of our time together…together. At least then the task of fueling our bodies doesn’t seem like a chore, maintenance work we must stay on top of in order to run properly. At least this way we have a shot at feeding more than just our empty bellies.

Truth be told I haven’t felt that way about food in a long time. My glass of wine is full to the brim, but my plate is empty. I open my mouth and close it around a bite of food, then I chew and I swallow. Sometimes I forget about the flavors, textures, and smells of my meal by the time the next one rolls around. This is a means to an end, a way to keep my belly from aching until I am hungry again. When my stomach growls, I know it wants food. This is something I can handle! And then what? When my heart aches, when I feel too drained to get out of bed, when all these other parts of me that I’ve disembodied are crying out for attention, then I’ve got a problem.

A problem, but one I can fix. To be continued.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


So a dear friend of ours died this week. He had beautiful 5 year old son. I don't know what to say. I'm all talked out. What should I cook for the memorial.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Bananas Foster....with whiskey...and lets not burn off the alcohol

Dear world. You can call me K.

People consider me incredibly: stable, put together, and self assured. But yesterday when I walked into a friends house I felt self conscious in a way that I have been feeling on a more and more consistent basis. A friend who is very close to the people who live in the house I stopped by to visit had just underwent a break up. And I, the person who people always look to for support, and that usually happily gives, had no idea what to do. I was afraid of doing or saying the wrong thing. Whenever this happens it is a problem for me. I need to go through life caring, loving, but confident and individualistic or I falter and get nervous.


This was not the moment to reevaluate my emotional state (okay maybe it was). It was time to take care of a hurt friend. And since I had no idea what to do and since she was surrounded by people she was much closer to then she and I are, I decided the thing I could do was provide food.

I asked a good friend what her favorite dessert was. He jokingly replied beer (probably true), then after racking his brain said Bananas Foster. Now when he first said this, I hit him because our friend is allergic to bananas but he proved to me that she is in fact only allergic to raw bananas.


I went home and I ran up to my front porch. Two dear friends and housemates were sitting there. I had only and hour before I had to go to a meeting from which I would have to leave immediately for a dinner party. Time was of the essence.

I asked if one of them would bike to one of the grocery stores with one of the house's food stamp cards and I would run to the other with the other friend with the other food stamp card. We needed to go to both so that we could stay within our small budget and get all the ingredients necessary for both Banana's Foster and really really really sugary rice crispy treats.

After I asked for the favor and company I went inside. I really had no idea what Bananas Foster is so I checked online. It pains me to look at recipes: I do it maybe once or twice a year since I'd rather be creating or doing anything else from memory or imagination. But I realized that I would need some reference for this Bananas Foster thing that I had never so much as tasted. I saw that sugar, butter,alcohol, vanilla, bananas and ice cream were necessary. I could figure out the rest once I knew what the base ingredients where.

After getting back from the store, my confidence in my cooking and self were rising. I went to a meeting then to a dinner party- got home around midnight. Time was of the essence once again. I quickly made the rice crispy treats.

Then talked to my roommate who ran out to get beer for our sad sad friend.

I grabbed a frying pan and tossed in about half a stick of butter, then about 2 handfuls of sugar. The sugar was not really liquefying so I threw in about..I don't know, one third of a large (dollar store bottle) of vanilla and turned up the heat to hot to let the sugar melt. Then I turned down the heat to pretty low and cut up bananas.

Usually in Banana's Foster I would cut the bananas into big pieces but I am terrified of food allergies and if you will recall, my dear friend is allergic to raw bananas so I cut them rather small. Each banana I halved. Then I halved those halves length wise. I cut all those pieces into 6. So that's 24 parts per banana and I used 3 bananas.

I was feeling great about things at this point so I turned up the heat to about medium and added almost the rest of the stick of butter, let it melt, and then threw in the bananas. I let them sizzle and get warm in the liquid. I added another half handful of sugar and another splash of vanilla.

I let this cook on alternating medium, low, and high for about 20 min and mixing with a wooden spoon so nothing would burn... It started to look like a light caramel pudding. My roommate got back with the beer.

At this point you would add the rum and light it on fire.

We didn't have rum.

We did have about 4 or 5 or 6 shots of Jack Daniel's Whiskey. And there is nothing more our heartbroken friend loves more then whiskey.

So, I turned up the heat and got the pudding really hot. Mixing so not to burn. Then I dosed the pudding in JD. I pulled out the spoon (stopped mixing) and lit it on fire with a long lighter (I really didn't think the flame would get as high as rum would). It did. We yelled and covered it with another pan. We got out the fire but didn't burn of all the JD. I could either light it again or serve an alcoholic dessert. Usually, I would light it again.


This was a heartbreak dessert. I threw a pint of ice cream in a bowl. Tossed on the hot dessert and my roommate and I ran over with our Banana's Foster heartbreak-style, the rice crispy treats, and the beer.

She loved it. She even smiled a bit. Said she was just thinking about having comfort food. I think food can cause smiles even when you are sad and can cause tears when you need to cry.