Meatloaf and a New Idea for Fortune-Telling


One of the strange beauties of this earthly life is the recipes for unlikely dishes found on food packages. Some are quite helpful (the pie recipe on the side of a can of Libby’s pumpkin, the Rice Krispie treat recipe on the cereal). Others strike me as so unlikely they only bring Industrial Cuisine to mind. It was a sort of Dadaist thing I read about long ago – I recall duck stuffed with ball bearings.

– Four pounds of Maine lobster and seven of fresh pasta, half a pound of obscure mushrooms, heavy cream, and a tablespoon of SWANSON BRAND COOKING OIL.

– Or simply meatloaf made with SHOPRITE BRAND SHREDDED WHEAT.

There is no reason to use SHOPRITE BRAND SHREDDED WHEAT in meatloaf, but someone, somewhere, short of breadcrumbs or oatmeal or yesterday’s kasha, is excited to find the recipe. Someone in another dimension, different life circumstances, veiled from me by our differing needs. It must be necessity, but I’d rather think the recipe is just willfully strange.

– Take BARILLA LASAGNA SHEETS, add jam, egg whites, and heavy cream, bake and enjoy.

– Take half a pound of GOYA rice, add artichokes, olives, crawfish, bacon, and skirt steak; saute.

They read like 1950s throwbacks, to the age of jellied salads, the Sacchinasaur and the ham steakasaurus. Why? They feel alien, dated. Aha, I have it: because we do not trust the packaging, that polyester-suited salesman, to cook for us. We eat sexy food now.

My favorite vegetable is the leek. It’s savory and sweet, generous, flavoring soups well – an onion that has gone to finishing school. One of my favorite erotic stories featured leeks cold from the fridge; I think about that whenever I cook them.

I bought Brussels sprouts. My dad’s girlfriend calls them “sport model cabbages”. So youthful, so Italian, so sexy – so absolutely counter to the cabbage, which we associate with grey cold countrywide, flatulence, grannies, poverty, ignorance, brown carpet, and filth in general. The Brussels sprout can be bought on the stem, studded like jewelry, but my mom used to grow them.

I had a garden, too, and you can read my fortune in the perennials I chose (could become a popular exercise – take a child to the plant nursery and see what they choose unaided).

Globe thistle; sharp tongue and harsh times. The poppy: decadence and vivid dreaming. Chicken and Hen plants: creativity and simple pleasures.

The Hen is your basic star-shaped, thick-leafed succulent. But it sends out runners, which put down roots. and new plants, the tiny “chicks” grow from these roots, and the runners shrivel up, umbilici no longer needed.

I want to be completely remade. Water is the best way to do this, the plunge into the rocking, rising and falling sea. Even in cold September, the salt sucks the thought from the mind, grief from the heart, and the shock of cold wakes the heart.

Lakes are sweeter, deep and dark. You never know how big the fish is, that touches your toes, but the lake is a good place, more personal. The ocean is a battleground of the gods. The lake is the domain of a local being, each quite different in character. I feel this to an extraordinary degree while hiking, especially if I’ve been on the same trail many times and especially if I’m alone. There are places where I feel unsafe and afraid, and places where I feel light-hearted, and they are incredibly consistent.

“Fairy woods,” vs. “ghost woods”.

Ghost woods? Energy stains is more to the point, the mind’s reaction evidence of industrial use, squatting and drug use, and so on, but no two sinister sensations feel alike and sometimes there’s no evidence like this at all. It would be possible, in most cases, to describe the fae of evil. That’s a typo, I meant “face of evil” but this is wonderfully accurate and so I won’t say anything more.

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