Monday, July 21, 2008

Jack Kerouac was a Foodie?

Dear Boo,

So Book club seems to be taking a hiatus for the summer as lots of folks (including you, my busy sister!) are having a hard time cramming in work and vacations and whatever else people do besides read. I think maybe War and Peace isn't really beach lit anyway. Before disbanding for the time being, we all began reading On the Road--a modern classic, so to speak, and a welcome change of pace after slogging tearfully through the final hundred pages of A Tale of Two Cities. Let me say this: this book is not the revelatory experience I (and so many of my male peers) felt when I picked it up in 8th grade, but it is a damn rollicking good time. It also, to my surprise, contains this tasty morsel of food writing that I just had to share. None of this "the rind of the cheese has an effervescent quality reminiscent of sipping kir royales on the balcony of my suite with the aromas of fresh papaya and beurre blanc comingling in the air which curled up to my nostrils." This is all down home American style no frills no foodie writing. This is the writing of someone who is HUNGRY.

"In the window I smelled all the food of San Francisco. There were seafood places out there where the buns were hot, and the baskets were good enough to eat too; where the menus themselves were soft with foody esculence as though dipped in hot broths and roasted dry and good enough to eat too. Just show me the bluefish spangle on a seafood menu and I'd eat it; let me smell the drawn butter and lobster claws. There were places where they specialized in thick red roast beef au jus, or roast chicken basted in wine. There were places where hamburgs sizzled on grills and the coffee was only a nickel. And oh, that pan-fried chow mein flavored air that blew into my room from Chinatown, vying with the spaghetti sauces of North Beach, the soft-shell crab of Fisherman's Wharf--nay, the ribs of Fillmore turning on spits! Throw in the Market Street chili beans, redhot, and french-fried potatoes of the Embarcadero wino night, and steamed clams from Sausalito across the bay, and that's my ah-dream of San Francisco. Add fog, hunger-making raw fog, and the throb of neons in the soft night, the clack of high-heeled beauties, white doves in a Chinese grocery window..."

DAMN. Gimme some of that.

I think if Jack Kerouac came over for dinner I'd make him meatloaf. Maybe some o them there smashed potatoes I mentioned (though I'd have to just call em potatoes because "smashed" is just too cutesy for Jack), roasted brussels sprouts and a big red velvet cake with sour cream icing. Yep, i think that's what I'd do.

In grand Kerouackian style (maybe if Jack and I were friends I'd call him Wacky Kerouacky sometimes. just to rile him up.) I'd like to put on my pretentious hat and review the dinner we just ate tonight. *

Coming up out of that intestine of the belly of the beast that is this city, that Loch Ness Monster, the subway system, I smelled the exhaust of the taxicabs, the sweat of the crowds pressing against me, the heat from the pavement. I wove through the stalls of the Farmer's Market. There were places where thousands of tiny blueberries lined the tables, where cherries reddened in the sun. There were warty squash and dirty potatoes, and corn, always corn. I bought a huge green cabbage and a dark purple onion, a single head of stinky spring garlic, and a bag full of tiny colored carrots with their stems. There was a stall with buckets of ice in the heat and scallops and tuna and ugly looking monkfish and flounder which I bought a large fillet of after the man asked me 'are you two pretty good eaters?' and I said yes and he slapped his leg and pulled a piece of fish out that spanned the width of my shoulders.

In the tiny kitchen I sauteed the cabbage with the garlic and onion and a splash of vinegar, some oil and a little melted pat of butter and loads of salt and pepper. I roasted the carrots whole with oil and salt and pepper. I dredged the fish in flour with s&p and Old Bay and chili powder. I heated up some oil in the best pan I have and laid the fish down in it ssssss on one side for a couple minutes and ssss on the other side for a couple more. it fell apart when I tried to move it but the Boo said who cares! and looks tasty! I poured some wine in the pan and a little plop of butter and cooked up some sauce and poured it with the brown bits over the broken fish and squeezed some lemon and we ate it up scooping the cabbage and fish onto pieces of crusty bread from the market and ho boy was it good. Washed down with a cold beer and sorbet. oh wait, sorbet's not very Beat, is it. Um. Cold Beer and whiskey.

So I'm breaking the blogging rule of posting lots of pictures because my battery was dead when we sat down to eat, so instead I offer you this picture of me eating cereal:

And while we're at it, please tell me you've seen this:

And, scene.

The Mouse

* For those of you keeping track, this also counts as my local meal for the week, thankyouverymuch.

1 comment:

Sad Sack Sally said...

I'm sure Jack would like your meatloaf, with a side of bourbon, vodka, tequila, please.