Secret Pop

Jan 1, 2006

In the Pot

Yesterday, before getting gussied up for my New Year's Eve celebrating, I made a large-ish pot of oxtail soup. A favorite in my family and something I find I never get around to making, even when I plan to. My mother makes it from time to time, but whenever I'm around and that happens, I invariably end up eating most of my meals out in commerce, and I never get any of the good stuff. This Christmas, my mom included a pot full of beef tendons, which I love. Make all the faces you want. I eat things some people think are gross. But I'll never ask you to eat them, so unless you plan on having your next meal out of my stomach, you should probably be all right.

Today, after not being able to sleep more than two hours or so on account of a really unbearable sore throat, I watched some television (did you know that How to Draw a Bunny is playing on the Sundance Channel? -- watch it and get inspired, won't you?), cuddled my dog, answered the phone, tried to add photos to a MySpace group with neither success nor satisfaction, and then I decided to heat up the oxtail soup I made and have a bowl of it. My first of the batch. While I was in the kitchen, I remembered that I had also bought some short ribs to add to the soup, but there wasn't room in the pot, so I needed to figure out what to do with them. I essentially made up my own recipe. I pan-seared the short ribs with a little bit of Star bouillon, added them to a sauteuse where I had softened onions and garlic in olive oil, and then made a veal demiglace, combined it with the pan drippings (which I had deglazed with a nice montepulciano d'abruzzo), and covered the whole deal in the sauce, and it is now simmering away on my freshly cleaned stove. I washed all my dishes, finally heated my bowl of soup for the fourth time (I kept heating it and then getting distracted by my kitchen chores and letting it get tepid), and ate it. It was possibly the best I've made. When I tasted the sauce I created for the short ribs, I thought a similar thing. I said to Audrey, "Oh, Audrey. Mommy just made something yummy." She just looked up at me and wiggled around in her pink velour hoody. The only thing she understands is the stuff I put in her mouth.

Thursday night, I had gone to Ralph's with plans to get all the things I needed for several dishes I planned to make, including the oxtail soup. While I was there, I received a mysterious text message asking if I'd brought my club card. But the number that sent me the text was not apparently in my phone list, because I did not know who it was. When I told Martín and Jeff about it on the way to the New Year's Eve party, Jeff suggested that could easily be the beginnings of a plot of a horror movie. When I ran into J. Keith van Straaten, it turned out it had been him. I was just relieved that he hadn't seen what was in my cart. I bought way too much stuff for a lady of my size and roommate situation, and there were chicken gizzards and stuff. So now I will write a horror movie wherein J. Keith van Straaten sends a spooky text message to someone at a Ralph's. Of course, he will have to end up murdering them, otherwise where would be the horror in that? Sorry, J. Keith.

When I got home from the supermarket, I cooked a pan of collard greens with hot links. Then I made Japanese sticky rice with red beans. Then I went to I.O. with Jordon and watched Hong Hong Ding Dong starring my former teacher Marion Oberle (brilliant) and the Main Stage Cage Match, where my pal Evan's group Panties in a Bunch took the honors. By the time I went to bed, I had a bit of a sore throat. By now, I may already be dead.

The party last night was great fun. I got parking free and easy. I stole many kisses. I danced the night away. I took a million photographs. I took a sip of my whiskey when Martín handed it to me, as Jeff cried out to stop me but too late, because it had a cigarette butt in it. Gross. And at the end of it all, Martín, Mindy, and I went to Denny's and waited too long and ordered too much and made fun of the people around us (they so deserved it), and as we were leaving, Mindy and I sat down for a brief interlude with Joe Wagner, who looked to be enjoying a newspaper or a menu. Something flat with words on it. I don't really remember.

I came home to an anxious and loving Audrey and went to bed shortly after arriving, at about five. My sore throat wouldn't let me sleep. I laid there in bed feeling frustrated and miserable and wanted to cry. But now that my throat is not quite as sore, thanks to Tylenol Sore Throat, I can barely remember it and I feel very tough about it. And that's what I hope 2006 holds for me. Only the shortest bout with pain and an even shorter memory of it. And of course also brilliant career success and the trappings of popularity.

With all the cooking and cleaning I've done, I must be avoiding something.

For copies of any of the recipes mentioned today, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to Mary Forrest and don't be terribly surprised if it never comes back.

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