Wednesday, February 17, 2010

chewing bubblegum and kicking ass

...i ended up staying for the movie. the john carpenter film appreciation society continueth apace! we watched "they live" starring...wait for it...roddy piper, whom you might know more familiarly as "rowdy" roddy piper, as a down-at-heel construction worker who uncovers a giant alien/otherworldly class conspiracy to keep the blue-collar working people of america docile, sedated, and slave to our consumerist impulses. it's like terry gilliam (or john carpenter) crossed with adbusters. it's most notable for introducing this line (one of the greatest lines in cinematic history) into the popular consciousness:

pretty awesome, right?

right now my club/extra-curricular participation tally is sitting at: 2 book clubs, 2 film clubs, 2 dodgeball teams, and about a baker's dozen worth of professional associations, for one of which i'm an editor on the newsletter.

have you heard of tavi gevinson? she's a pint-sized (no really, the kid is like, 13 years old) sensation in the fashion blog world. take a look:

she has a blog, style rookie. leaving aside the fact that being a fashion sensation has come to mean looking like a reconstituted, extra-wizened estelle getty slumping her way through my grandma's closet by way of japan...alls i gotta say is WHAT THE EFF. i read a bit of the blog. she's precocious alright. and for all her talk of buying this vintage and that thrifted, i'd eat the scar off my right foot if she didn't come from oodles upon oodles of money. what the what is right, people. i mean, i guess for some people sitting next to leigh lezark's sullen, flinty-eyed, pinched smile in the front row of rodarte might be the be-all and end-all, in which case, worship thine 13 year olds all you want. me, preternaturally self-possessed kids freak me the eff out. give me the slaphappy meat-ballery of a scarborough adolescent any day.

speaking of which, the dotytron drew the short straw and won the supply teaching lottery on friday - he got to chaperone the VALENTINE'S DAY DANCE. in rexdale. so the best! he said his favorite moment by far was when the dj dropped a track that had everyone RUSHING into the centre of the dance floor. sensing trouble, he and another teacher ran in to break up what they thought might be a fight. as he started pulling people out of the way to make his way to the middle of the circle to find out what was causing the commotion, he found a teacher break dancing and busting sick moves, a student popping and locking, and a special needs kid going buck running around in circles outside of the ring. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

speaking of bloggers, i recently finished molly wizenberg's (of orangette fame) memoir/collection of recipes entitled "a homemade life." i was not a fan. oh, she does an admirable job of putting herself out there as a food nut, alright. the requisite food-shaped memories, family recipes, tales of eating loads of cheese in paris are all there. i found the entire book intensely irritating though. it was so...girly. so simpering. the only parts where i stopped grimacing in disgust at the prose style were when she describes her father's quick surrender to bone cancer. that goodwill was quickly squandered by her mawkish recounting of falling in love with her now-husband and then blog-reader, brandon. it was just all too...soft. sweet. pastel coloured. goody goody. all the things that i hate (well, not hate, but strongly dislike when presented thusly.) like mom lit. kind of staid, conservative but trying to pretend that she's not - like blue state conservative. like, student council joiner style. very un-hip. what annoyed me the most was that i never got the sense that she LOVED food (this was not helped by her description of having eaten the EXACT SAME THING for lunch every day for 15 years: carrot sticks, 2 cookies, peanut butter sandwich.) loving food to me means being an adventurous, go-for-the-gusto type eater. the kind who's not afraid to get messy or roll up their sleeves; not the kind who spends an entire chapter talking with coy false modesty about her first kiss with her boyfriend and how he proposed and whose food journeying doesn't appear to extend beyond paris and lyon. zero personality. zip. zilch. i REALLY disliked it. i couldn't believe this is what passes for food writing nowadays. whither calvin trillin? whither james beard? whither m.f.k. fisher?

even more annoying? she does the classic food blogger thing of claiming her recipes are "adapted" from one source or another. this drives me crazy. smitten kitchen, one of the most popular food blogs out there, is written by a generally lovely, admittedly zingier woman named deb, who seemingly makes a living by posting gorgeous photos of food she's taken from bon appetit, gourmet, and cookbooks. i'm like - what? how are these food bloggers getting book deals? for doing what millions of north americans are doing all the time except with SLRs, photoshop, and better styling? are you kidding me? scroll through smitten kitchen's recipes and they're all collected from elsewhere. which is fine...she admits as much. do i think she should get a writing deal for it? hells no.

the worse sinners are the "adapted by" people. upping the salt by 1/8 of a teaspoon does NOT constitute an adaptation.

look, i'm not trying to say that everyone has to cook from the hip, all the time. we ALL use recipes. i just don't think that people should be lauded and get to make a career from COOKING FROM RECIPES FOR THEIR OWN DINNER (and not like, in a test kitchen or something.) it just doesn't make sense to me. the other thing is, look, i know sometimes **i** don't credit my recipes. but i'm also not an ENTIRE blog devoted to food! i've got a lot going on! there's movie reviews, book reviews, ephemera from my life, food, restaurant reviews...this little thing isn't just an account of how and what i made dinner. if you're only doing ONE thing and you're known for only doing the ONE thing...don't you think the LEAST you can do is fess up when you're just cooking from torn pages of magazines or epicurious print outs like the rest of us?

on that note, tonight i had a really good dinner. it was giant lima beans braised in stewed tomatoes with feta, a fried egg, oregano pesto and breadcrumbs on top. the recipe is here. beware! it is not for the faint of heart and not for a weeknight meal, unless you do what i did and prep the beans and stewed tomatoes in advance. the egg was my own addition (rather inspired, i think - NOT!) this is a fantastic, filling, heart-warming vegetarian dish for a wintry night in february (what a coincidence!)

i've been blowing through books like they were straw in a barn fire (i'm the barn fire, fyi) lately...i've got two more reviews in the works and a funny story about a certain geneseo, ny institution.



dr. rei said...

or how about that julie powell?!...grrrr

ps. totally loled at the frankie goes to hollywood joke hahahah

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