Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dark for the first time.

Melanie Stidolph Boy (2004)

And people's houses across America really did go up in smoke.

And fear stalked the land.

If you guessed that those lines belong to a poetic vision of the apocalypse the likes of William Blake's you're right. But those words are not in fact Blake's, they concluded Roger Cohen's portent-filled op-ed, "Nixon, Bush, Palin" in The New York Times a little less than two months ago. As markets lose life-blood pints by the day, pillar industries crawl to the Senate's heels for the financial methadone necessary to keep on keeping on, and the parabola of George H. W. Bush's abysmal unemployment rate finally returns to earth in his son's America (a hale 16% of us are jobless) it is no wonder op-ed writers are beginning to sound a little spooky. But its not all bad...

We return to the senses and really confront them in the dark. While were waiting for it anyway. I've personally been writing little--no, I don't count increasingly self-indulgent bursts on Facebook! Along with the aforementioned portents of Roger Cohen I've gone back to Richard Wright, and the American Hunger; to Ninotchka and the Soviet spirit of an omelet; to Stanley Tucci's fantastic Big Night; David Mas Masumoto's enduringly poignant memoir, Epitaph for a Peach; to Fergus Henderson and Irma S. Rombauer. To the first two pages of Remembrance of Things Past--i never made it past, which does nothing to diminish the effect on my stomach and imagination.

With hardship comes renewed focus on food. On how to fill the empty spaces.

As difficulty brims on us there is a soft glow to it. Folks seem better inclined to share what they have--I can barely keep up with the recipe sharing circles I've been kindly tipped into in emails; and certain fortunate Sunday afternoons at Gooski's, Tim lifts the moratorium on traditional Polish food by laying out a steaming casserole of stuffed cabbage and beef with noodles.

For my part I'm in the germinating stage of a d.i.y. ramen noodle base: you buy the noodles for like $.35, discard the msg flavor packet and use some mojo I'll hand you in its place. Flavors are being brainstormed, refined and taste-tested into the lightless hours...

As I see it we may not be ramen noodle poor yet, but when we get there it'll at least be palatable. More on that in a while...

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