Amoeblog

(In which we return from where our roots are rooted.)

Posted by Job O Brother, January 3, 2012 11:59am | Post a Comment

nevada city
Home is where the hearth is. Downtown Nevada City, California.


The boyfriend and I have recently returned from frolicsome fun in my hometown of Nevada City, California. This year my most shiny of celebrations was neither Christmas nor New Years, but my sister Jacquie’s 50th birthday (for which I provided the cake, subsequently learning that Christmas day is a lousy time to buy baked goods).

Some highlights of the trip were…

Teaching my mother how to prepare absinthe. Who doesn’t love this quintessential Christmas pastime*? Equipped with a curvaceous reservoir glass and ornate, slotted spoon I enthusiastically gave a demonstration on how to prepare absinthe in both the traditional French method and the more dramatic (and efficient) Bohemian method. Both methods were merely informative, not practical, as my Mammy and me prefer our green fairy sans sucre.

absinthe poster
My Mom, enjoying her beverage
(artist's depiction)

Armed with our booze and one clove cigarette each, we sat in her English garden and contentedly sinned with some of Satan’s most pleasingly perfumed indulgences. Once we felt sweetly weak-in-the-knees it was time to make some pie. (Drinking and driving is a bad idea, but drinking and pie making is a sign of advanced evolution in a species. Word.)

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(In which we research the magic of 3.14.)

Posted by Job O Brother, November 22, 2011 02:09pm | Post a Comment

grandma
[insert terrifying caption here]


Unlike many, I look forward to Thanksgiving not because of what I get to eat, but what I get to cook. For this reason, I love to host the holiday. In a village like Los Angeles, it’s usually easy to find many lost little lambs who’ve no place to eat (and no ability to manage kitchens themselves). Honestly, it’s like flunking Home-Ec is a requirement to moving to the City of Angels; I guess Type-A personalities don’t have a lot of patience for braising.

Nothing makes me feel more like a magical wizard than when cooking-challenged people like my boyfriend watch me prep food. Am I roasting zucchini or casting a sleep spell on the whole kingdom? Because his reaction would be interchangeable in either event.

gum pie

I learned to cook from my Mom; sometimes instruction was direct, but mostly I just hung around the kitchen while she cooked and made a nuisance of myself, learning by observation. I was hypnotized by corn starch and its ability to turn any liquid in to a thick sauce. Separating an egg seemed like a delicate and ancient Chinese dance, and gee whiz…! See what you can do when you whip those egg whites?

There were some causalities, from which I grew wiser. One sneaky bite of unsweetened chocolate taught me that some of life’s greatest pleasures can come from something so foul. I learned Tupperware cannot be used like a pot on the burners, and soon after I learned how hard it is to clean cooked and melted plastic off a grill. One of the few scars I have on my body is on the knuckle of my left thumb from the first time I learned how to use a peeler – I don’t remember what fruit I cut myself on, but I’ve always remembered how to hold the instruments securely since then. Oh! And I learned it doesn’t take very many bittersweet chocolate chips to destroy an appetite.

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(For which you're cordially invited, mofo.)

Posted by Job O Brother, November 10, 2011 11:48am | Post a Comment


victorians
"Excuse me, but is this vegan?"

I drank too much wine last night. I ate too much cake, and too much food in general. I stayed up too late and had too much caffeine. So how come the amount of fun I had was just right?

The boyfriend and I threw a small dinner party last night. Because I love to cook, I enjoy the preparation of dinner parties sometimes more than the event itself (which wasn’t the case last night, but I’ll admit I’ve sweated over a meal for days only to provide it to its intended guests, then wished I could hide upstairs with some hummus and carrot sticks and original Star Trek.)

star trek food
Catering provided by Play-doh


Last night’s meal consisted of curried vegetable pasties, asparagus with nutmeg hollandaise, and a raspberry-chocolate flourless cake with homemade whipped cream. Naked ladies dancing with abandon beneath a decaying Sun*. I was most proud of the cake. You know how sometimes you’ll taste a dessert and you immediately feel that you’re doing something so wrong but it feels so right? I guess the word is sinful. You’re stomach screams “This is blasphemy!” but your taste-buds whimper, “Do it again…!” (If you’re interested, I’ve included the recipe below.)

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A critical analysis of the cultural impact of the Andrews Sisters on the United States of America

Posted by Job O Brother, June 1, 2011 11:28am | Post a Comment

andrews sisters
The Andrews Sisters: Curly, Groucho and the Holy Spirit


When considering the Andrews Sisters the word “blood-thirsty” rarely comes into play.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these essays on harmonizing, pop-vocal groups. Below you’ll find other ditties from this genre that I think are the bee’s articulatio genus. Before that, though, I want to share with you a little culinary experience I had recently.

The boyfriend and I had our friends Rachel and Paul over for dinner. As usual, I did all the cooking – the boyfriend, after all, can’t make an entire meal out of burned water alone – and I was thinking of various ways to spruce things up. It occurred to me, instead of serving bread with our meal, to make a simple yellow cake with the addition of savory herbs.

rosemarysage

First, hours before I was ready to bake, I chopped up fresh rosemary and sage and simmered them in one cup of unsalted butter, over low heat. Once the liquid gold of the butter had soaked in the essence of the fresh herbs, lending a faint grass-green hue, I took it off the fire and allowed it to congeal. I used this butter for the cake. The effect of this savory dessert – being both salty and sweet – was similar to cornbread, but earthier, lighter, and altogether swell. I thought you should know.

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(In which we celebrate the birth of Georg Philipp Telemann.)

Posted by Job O Brother, March 14, 2011 01:55pm | Post a Comment
georg philipp telemann
I'm... too sexy for my justacorps

Today would have been the 330th birthday of one of my favorite composers, Georg Philipp Telemann, if he hadn’t tragically passed away in 1767. What follows here is a brief history of his life which isn’t entirely a made-up lie.

1681–1701: Childhood and early youth

Telemann was born in Magdeburg, the capital of the wild and swinging Duchy of Magdeburg, Brandenburg-Prussia, into an upper-right middle of center just-under-the-yellow-bit class family. His parents were Heinrich “The Tickler” Telemann, deacon at the Church of the Holy Spirit & Wafflehouse in Magdeburg, and Maria Haltmeier, daughter of a clergyman-turned-female impersonator (most famous for his rollicking version of O, Thar’s a Terryble Byrn in Mye Nawty Place which he’d perform while re-enacting the signing of the Treaty of Bakhchisarai in a particularly saucy fashion involving a few busty courtesans, a trained parrot and some offensively-molded birdseed sculptures).

Telemann's father died in 1685, leaving Maria to raise the children, protect them from their grandfather and his birds, and oversee their education. Telemann studied at the Altst├Ądtisches Gymnasium and at the Domschule, where he was taught the catechism, Latin and Greek, and American History (then a very short and easy class). At age 10 he took singing lessons, studied keyboard playing, and learned some tips on how to make perfect pancakes for two weeks with a local gourmet organist. This was enough to inspire the boy to teach himself other instruments (recorder, violin and zither), start composing, and dabble in making his own syrups. His first music pieces were arias, motets, some freestyle rap and instrumental works, and at age twelve he composed his first opera, Sigismundus, a drama which told the story of a young man who was eager to see a woman naked but was thwarted by having acne and a reputation at school that he was a “total fag.” The opera was not a success.

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