I remember reading the Sunday Star Times at a cafe earlier this year, turning to the Escape section first, and saying to Tim that my blog would be ideal for it. You know, I could be that person they ask to write down what they eat over the course of the day (do people really tell the truth in those things?) or feature as an example of the general excellence available on the web these days. The thought left my mind when I flicked over the the column where Annabelle White compares various brands of organic muesli. That sort of fortunate occurrence only happens to established, famous-enough-to-appear-in-a-local-reality-show kind of people. It was Cafe Cubita on Courtney Place and I had an extremely pleasant lamb salad.
Turns out that, with a frequency just high enough to keep you trusting in mystical forces, if you put it out there, the universe can provide. It worked when I said I wanted Tourettes to come do a gig in Wellington – and lo, it was so. While I always feared it would be unlikely that Idina Menzel would come to New Zealand, the utter randomness of Patti LuPone making a tour stop here reaffirmed my faith in the world. It doesn’t always work – goodness knows I’ve wistfully hinted to the powers that be that a faster metabolism would be nice.
Oh my gosh, anyway, enough of my chatter: the point is, this blog, this very blog, was mentioned by the editor of the Escape section of the Sunday Star Times, a national newspaper. Favourably. And not just in my head – it really happened! I feel like Mark Cohen in RENT, when his footage of the riot after Maureen’s performance gets on Buzzline. I feel like Elphaba in Wicked when she finds out she’s going to see the Wizard – “he asked for me? Personally?” I feel like Jeff, Hunter, Susan and Heidi in [title of show] when they get a good review in the New York Times. I feel like…I’m so excited and self-pinching right now that all I can do is project my feelings onto pre-existing characters. If there are any new readers who have solely appeared here because they looked me up after reading the lovely things Angela Walker wrote about this place in the Sunday Star Times; Kia ora! Welcome! Kindly stick around.
Just when you thought I couldn’t bring any more excitement, I’d like to announce that I am on a massive soy kick right now. If you’ve been keeping an eye on my twitter (@HungryandFrozen) then this will be no secret, for some reason expressing my love for soy in 140 character bursts is my idea of a good time these days.
I realise tofu is as maligned and practically as unsexy as lentils. Just because it has a bad rep doesn’t make it intrinsically bad though. Like Michael Jackson jokes, I feel that wrinkling one’s nose at tofu is not only easy, it’s lazy. Anyone can do it. Takes temerity of spirit to actually try this surprisingly delicious stuff. (And no, I don’t get a kick out of Michael Jackson jokes. Ooh, make fun of a brilliant but deeply troubled dead man. Aren’t you quite the sparkling wit.)
Tonight I stir-fried a few cloves of chopped garlic in a non-stick pan, sprinkled over fish sauce and mirin, and added a block of firm tofu, which almost braised in the bubbling liquid, slowly taking on colour and absorbing the flavours of the sauce. While dealing with the edamame though, the liquid quickly reduced and the considerable sugars in the mirin caramelised on the spot, creating a thick, dark sauce. In places it actually had reduced down into a kind of brittle or toffee, disturbingly good with its salty, sweet, garlicky crunch. This is what happens when I turn my back – it gets all Heston Blumenthal up in here. I believe this is what the cool kids describe as umami – a deep-toned savoury flavour. The deliciously sauced tofu teamed with the mellow, impossibly buttery edamame made a wholly satisfying dinner, so good that I quickly snapped it and wedged it spontaneously into this blog when I was really going to write about something else altogether.
Currently on Shuffle whilst I type double time thanks to the power of soy:
Calling All Angels, by Alice Ripley at the Kennedy Centre, 2003. Say what you want about her – I personally adored her speech for winning the Tony – but I think she’s utterly brilliant. And, and, she writes the kind of songs I would want to write if I was a singer-songwriter. This is one such example.
I’m Going Home by the Sacred Harp Singers from the Cold Mountain soundtrack. The only reason we even watched the movie is because Jack White was in it, I don’t recommend it – it’s relentlessly brutal and violent although the joy of Jack White provides some respite. But the soundtrack is pretty wonderful and this particular song is astoundingly beautiful and like no other sound I’ve ever heard before. And you know, this is 2009. We have mash-ups and stuff.
All I Really Want by Alanis Morisette from Jagged Little Pill. Delightfully mid-nineties and talky as heck but still brilliant stuff to throw yourself around the room and sing along to. I actually saw her live at the Supertop in 1996, was possibly the only 10 year old in the audience. She’s always cool to me. If you like this album, it’s not too much of a stretch to hope that you’d like Minuet by Idina Menzel from Still I Can’t Be Still…
This blog title is bought to you by: Joy Division. And so obviously, this song.
Next time: I was going to write about ice cream in this one but frankly soy was more exciting right now, not to mention a large chunk of space was occupied by my bragging. As Rufus Wainwright sang in his tribute concert to Judy Garland, “you go to my head”. This week Sunday Star Times, next – who knows. Possibly the same level of mild obscurity. Various whanau members are coming down to Wellington this weekend so I am currently browsing Menumania to narrow down some cool places to take them for lunch and dinner. And definitely going to talk ice cream next time.