Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Ice Maker Isn't Working

In this weather!  Okay.  I'll go get a bag of ice.

Also a soda.  I know sodas are bad for you!  You know how you grew up in a more-or-less regular house where people drank milk, water, juice?  I grew up in a convenience store.  I was always sugar-ified, I was alway caffeinated.  Check out my teeth.  It took years to make them look this borderline acceptable.

Nowadays I drink sugar-free, caffeine-free soda - one guy on Twitter once said that caffeine-free Diet Coke should be called "Coke Science" - & I know it tastes pretty awful, but it has a taste at least.  Water just doesn't.

Used to be I'd go through half a twelve-pack of sodas a day, or more.  I'm done with that.  I make it kind of a schlep to get soda - I usually get one before a radio show - but unless I'm willing to drive to a convenience store to get a fountain drink, I drink water.  Or, you know, beer.  But not beer all the time!

By the way, I grew up in the South, where people say "coke" to mean any carbonated beverage.  I just like saying soda.  It confuses people, that & my lack of accent.  They think I'm from the midwest.  Nope!  Texas born & raised!

At the Speedway, I waited patiently while someone stood in front of the long soft drink dispensing apparatus, apparently finishing up his self-soda-creating experience.  He was taking a long time.  He was standing directly in front of the place where the average cup size I get is (the largest, because I was getting my seventh soda free, thank you very much), & also where the Caffeine Free Diet Coke (sorry, Coke Science) spigot was.  But he wasn't moving.  He was hunched over, fiddling with something in his hands.

Rudely, I moved in to get a cup.  I noticed he was counting large bills - twenties & fifties - which he had pulled from an envelope inside a baggie.  We made eye contact - I realized he was what we now call "mentally challenged."  Maybe he just got a government check, maybe cashed it at a local place.  Maybe he just keeps his money like that.  He was not aware, immediately, that he was in my way.  He was happy to say hello to someone.

A little embarrassed about being impolite, I stepped back & waited for him to finish.  It took a while, & it took a very large woman in too few clothes all but pushing him out of the way to clear space for me.  Luckily he didn't drop anything.  The next time I saw him, he was fumbling with his money at one of the cash registers (do they still call them that?), & to his credit, the cashier was being very patient, although there was a line of us at the time.

The ice bought & grabbed from the machine outside - the perennial questions, why is ice the sort of product that they trust customers to grab themselves? & its opposite, who would want to steal bags of ice? - & I passed him as he - who, you'll recall, was at check-out a few minutes before I was - was leaving.  He said hello to me, his eyes bright, as we walked by one another.

Oddly, when I got to my car, & turned to see where he was heading, he had disappeared.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Self Help Radio 081115: The Kitchen

(Original image here.)

Is the kitchen the most important room in the house?  Can you protect yourself from the dangers of the kitchen?  What will it take to convince you that tables can talk?  Are there really two hours of worth of songs about kitchens?

These are indeed questions.  Perhaps they are questions I asked myself before embarking on a radio program about the kitchen.  More likely however is that I tumbled headlong into such a venture without thinking about it at all.  No matter!  I believe those questions, & others sorta similar, are not only asked but answered on this week's Self Help Radio.

The kitchen!  Included with the songs is: a conversation with David Fruchter, host of the television program "The Home"; a poem written & read by poet Dale M. Smith; & an interview with a breakfast table.  The only thing that would have made this show better is pancakes.  Someone should've made pancakes!

The show is now at the Self Help Radio website.  It should be right at the top of the home page.  You'll need a username (SHR) & a password (selfhelp) to listen to the show.  That information is also there.  What I played is there, as well, although I am listing it below too.  Basically, this whole blog thing is a redundancy.  I guess it keeps me busy.

Now do the dishes!

(part one)

"Come On In My Kitchen (Take 1)" Robert Johnson _The Complete Recordings_
"Rats In My Kitchen" Sleepy John Estes _The Sun Records Collection_
"Kitchen" Sam Baker _Mercy_

"There's A Kitchen Up In Heaven" Red Allen _I Was Born To Swing_
"Paw's In The Kitchen" The James Quintet _Over The Top Doo Wops Vol. 2: Don't Pull, Don't Push, Don't Shove_
"Switchen In The Kitchen" Don "Pretty Boy" Covay _I Hate CD's: Norton Records 45 RPM Singles Collection Vol. 1_
"Kissin' In The Kitchen" The Dukays _1961-1965_
"Twistin' In The Kitchen With Dinah" Sam Cooke _Twistin' The Night Away_

"All Around The Kitchen" Mike & Peggy Seeger _American Folksongs For Children_
"Singing In The Kitchen" Bobby Bare _Singin' In The Kitchen_
"My Wife Can't Cook" Lonnie Russ _My Wife Can't Cook_
"Kitchen Blues" Nikki Sudden _Treasure Island_
"Soul Kitchen" X _Los Angeles_

"Too Many Cooks In The Kitchen (The Cooks)" XTC _Rag & Bone Buffet_
"The Secret Dreams Of A Kitchen Porter" Cleaners From Venus _A Dawn Chorus_

(part two)

"You'll Always Find Me In The Kitchen At Parties" Jona Lewie _The Stiff Records Box Set_
"Kitchen Sink Drama" Soft Cell _The Art Of Falling Apart_
"The Art Of Cooking For Two" The Lucksmiths _Happy Secret_

"Rat In Mi Kitchen" UB40 _Rat In The Kitchen_
"Dream Kitchen (7" Mix)" Frazier Chorus _Typical EP_
"From Across The Kitchen Table" The Pale Fountains _...From Across The Kitchen Table_

"In Her Kitchen" The Wave Pictures _Beer In The Breakers_
"Your Kitchen" Hefner _Catfight_
"Stovetop" Juicy _For The Ladies_
"Bat In The Kitchen" The Icicles _A Hundred Patterns_

"Still In The Kitchen" The Jazz Butcher Conspiracy _Distressed Gentlefolk_

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Whither The Kitchen?

(I found this image here.)

Boy do I love kitchens.  Most of the time, that's where the food is!  Since I've learned to cook - something I sort of talked about yesterday - I've come to appreciate a clean kitchen, a kitchen with room to move around, a kitchen that make some kind of sense for the culinary process.  I like a kitchen that can stay cool while you're cooking & has plenty of light.

None of that has anything to do with today's show, which will celebrate kitchens with music & chatter. I'll talk to the host of a popular show about house renovation, & a friend of mine will read a poem he wrote for me about kitchens, & it says here I'll also be interviewing a kitchen table.  That must be a misprint.  But one thing is for sure: there'll be kitchen songs from the 1930s to the present day.  You'll have to do your own dishes, though.

Today!  From 4 to 6pm!  On 88.1 fm WRFL Lexington!  Online at wrfl dot fm!  I hope you "come on in my kitchen" today!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Preface To Kitchens: Kitchens I Have Known

When I was a kid, I loved looking at cookbooks, & not just because I wanted to eat everything in those unreal, hyper-colored glossy photos that illustrated Betty Crocker volumes in the 1960s.  No, I liked the recipes.  They were like instructions for model planes - except you had to go get the ingredients, they (usually) didn't come in a package for you.  When I was in eighth grade, they offered "Home Ec," which was supposed to be for girls.  But I wanted to learn how to cook.  I enjoyed the class.  I thought I did all right.

Sadly, it didn't take.  Probably because it was much easier to make something quickly - I still subsist mainly on sandwiches - than to take the time to make a meal for oneself.  In that way, cooking was a lot like writing letters.  I remember spending so much time writing letters to people back in the day, & then sending them off, & waiting for a response, & the response (if I got one) would be read in a fraction of the time it took me to write mine.  Cooking is the same - I can labor in a kitchen for an hour, but the meal will be over in a quarter that time (the wife & I are fast eaters, & yes, we know it's unhealthy).

But finding oneself vegan in towns like Huntington & Lexington, one realizes that one ought to perhaps find a way to prepare one's own meals, since these cities are full of folks who've never heard the word "vegan" before, & who think of vegetarians as a kind of queer aberration.  So one starts to prepare one's own meals.

At some point in the fall of 2009, we were living in Huntington, & I was very concerned about my wife.  She didn't like her job, she didn't like the city, & she had the added responsibility of making food for her & me every night.  In Austin, which we had just left, there were so many places we could go on those evenings where we were both too exhausted to try to cook.  Not so hereabouts.

People are surprised when I tell them there's not a single vegetarian restaurant in Lexington.  It's a college town, for fuck's sake!  But there isn't one.  There are places with vegetarian options, & even a couple that might make one or two dishes for vegans.  The nice thing about your standard vegetarian place is that they usually can make most of their dishes vegan - but in restaurants that mainly serve dead animals, that's not an option they've even considered.

& while I appreciate that some places (not many but a handful) around here have a vegan option or two, there are a couple of reasons that I generally don't support the places that have the one vegan thing on the menu for people like me:

1) I don't know if I want to give my money to places that mainly, overwhelmingly, make their money selling dead animals.  It just doesn't seem like patronizing these places ever makes them think about adding other vegan stuff to their repertoire.

2) I can cook better than pretty much all these places.

That has turned out to be a bad thing, me becoming a somewhat competent cook.  My wife will tell me that she likes my food better than most of the stuff we can buy around town.  But sometimes I would like a night off!

My kitchen is pretty simple, though.  I try to keep it clean.  I tend to rinse dishes off & put them in the dishwasher while I'm cooking, to avoid them piling up in the sink.  & because the wife keeps the house pretty clean, the place usually doesn't smell like some houses do, like their kitchens, especially if the kitchen is mainly used to fry things.  An aroma will fill the house after the meal, but the next day, it's just a memory.

This started with me thinking about cookbooks, & cookbooks are how I cook.  It was only after a couple of years of following recipes that I made minor adjustments to them - & usually that was to add more vegetables.  Recipes are my friends.  I follow them slavishly.  So the meals will always be as good as they were the first time.  That's the trick, I think, to being a competent cook.

Although having a nice kitchen really does help.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

You Might Not Hear Much From Me Today


My friends Maria & Macy asked me to sub their radio show, which I will shortly do.

I did something else yesterday that took up too much of my time which I now regret but luckily I can with experience say that sometimes you do stuff for people who you suppose are friends but of course they don't really care or respect you so they do whatever the hell they want & more than likely use your contribution in a way you wouldn't have approved if they had asked you but guess what they were never going to ask you or really take your thoughts into consideration but the good news is it's a learning experience so you know you'll never ever make that mistake again.

Also, I got very little sleep last night.  I will not be able to make up that sleep tonight.

But I will watch the True Detective finale, then I will stay up (a little whiskeyfied) & read how disappointed everyone is in it.