Since it’s Sunday, I must be in my office, gearing up for the week. But I’m also needing to feed the blog monkey, so here we go.
I can’t cook. I mean, I nuke prepared foods or throw a frozen pizza or some french fries in the oven as needed, but beyond that, a sandwich tends to be about the limit of my culinary skills. I did a little better than that during my early days in grad school, making spaghetti or oven-baked ravioli (my would-be date night specialty, back then) or microwaved bacon and scrambled eggs, but for the last thirty or so years, Mrs. M has handled anything that I would legitimately call cooking. It’s a common line at the Mid-Century Mondohaus that what I make best are reservations.
But Friday night, Mrs. M had something going on, and I decided to have a go at some bacon and a can of biscuits that were in the fridge, figuring that bacon and biscuits would make for a pleasant enough evening meal. As I cooked six slices of bacon, I realized that there were only four slices remaining, so I decided to go ahead and finish the package, leaving me some for Saturday morning.
At that point, I remembered my dad saying, “Gravy’s easy. All you need is flour, grease and milk or water.” (And in fact, we generally used water instead of milk, calling it “sawmill gravy” — presumably because they had water at a sawmill, but not milk? But milk also cost more, and my brother and I drank it as fast as my folks could buy it — about a gallon a day — anyway, so we joked about milk gravy as being somehow hoity-toity. Sawmill gravy was good enough for us, by golly.) So I figured what the heck and decided to take a shot.
I didn’t have a recipe, and while I guess I could have found a video on YouTube or something, it just seemed to me that would be somehow untrue to my upbringing. (Yeah, like you don’t have weird quirks…) I had been in the kitchen when various of my ancestors had made the stuff, and even though I hadn’t paid much attention any of those times, I figured maybe I could count on familial instincts. So I got some flour from the pantry, and a measuring cup and water glass from the cupboard, and when the bacon was finished, I played it by ear.
And what do you know? It worked.
And maybe it was kind of comical that here I am making a simple meal at the age of nearly 54, but I found myself oddly proud of having done so without harming myself, the kitchen, or anything else. Call it Cordon cou de rouge. And I think my folks would have gotten a kick out of it.
Mrs. M came home a few minutes later. She looked around, raising her eyebrows. “Did you make this?”
“Did you have a recipe or watch a video or something?”
“No. I’ve seen it done before, so I thought I’d do it.”
“How is it?”
“It’s good. But yours is better.”
I may have a Ph.D., but I’m not stupid.
Yesterday I made a run to Real City to pick up a couple of things and just to change the scenery a bit. While I was down there, I found Family Album, an Astro City collection by Kurt Busiek and his team. I’ve said before that Astro City may be the best written comic that’s out there, and once again, I proved myself right.
And apparently I wasn’t the only one who thought so. I went ahead and bought it, but it wasn’t until last night after I was home that I noticed the book’s foreword, by some guy named Harlan Ellison. Figures he was a fan.
Meanwhile, there’s other stuff going on, as it tends to do. On Saturday, 19 October, I’ll be speaking to the Palmetto (Columbia) chapter of Sisters in Crime at their monthly lunch meeting, and then there’s something else cool happening that night, but I’ll save talking about that for later.
Of course, Noir at the Bar will be making its Mondoville debut on Thursday, 10 October, at Bar Figaro. We’ve got some sensational readers — just look!
Come on by — we’d love to read to you!
And less than a month later, Mr. Block and I will have a chat in front of friends old and new, at the beautiful and historic Newberry Opera House.
And that’s not even mentioning that crime writer, publisher, and friend of the college (and the Prof) Danny Gardner is making a return to the Opera House a week before Halloween. Did I mention that all of these events are free? All the more reason to swing by, right?
I hope you do.
But my lessons aren’t going to plan themselves, so I’d best get back to them. So have a little music before we part. This is more mainstream than most of the stuff I share, but if it’s a good song, it’s a good song. From Rod Stewart’s 1971 album Every Picture Tells a Story, here’s his cover of Bob Dylan’s “Tomorrow Is A Long Time.” Hope you like it.
See you soon!