Archive for September, 2006
So I’m sitting in a meeting in Vancouver, welcome to my working day. And the people in the room are sharing such a huge amount of information, so little of which is actually relevant. They should have had a bloody internal meeting before calling on us at all. And then the people around me expect me to sift through all the rubbish and define what bits were important.
So I tell them gently that if there is something that they consider to be important, then they must pipe up and say: this is important, let’s summarise it. Instead they sit there saying little, and understanding less, and expecting me to capture it all so they can go: ”Oh! Is THAT what they were talking about.
And the presenter keeps telling stories, anecdotes, relevant analogies and other things that are of no use to me, none whatsoever. And they have all their excuses, of course. Like “well, this is the way the meeting is running, they’re controlling it…”. Well dude, if you don’t want it to be that way, if that way is not good for us, for our company, then change it. Speak more. Lead the conversation – just once an hour! Show some responsibility. Show some initiative, you silent mutant.
Made myself feel better by sharing some gum with the woman beside me. Explained that it was from Wal-Mart, as she had previously doubted the wonder of that establishment. I personally hold it in high regard, I kinda don’t care that it’s ruining middle America and ma and pa stores. I don’t live here. I don’t care. If I can get cheap chocolate, toothpaste and chewing gum, I’m all for it, baby.
One of the most annoying people here is the girl who opens her eyes wide, smiles and nods when talking to people about ‘issues’. That’s the worst. If you’re saying a bad thing, don’t smile at me.
Really trying to stay calm, because we still have to review tonight … praying and hoping that it doesn’t take more than a couple of hours. When will I get to Chinatown? When will I get my noodle soup? And you know what else? That I didn’t get to bed until 11:55pm, after traveling for over 24 hours to get here? On uncomfortable Air Canada, I don’t remember them being so sub-standard. And then the jet-lag woke me up at 4am, and I lay there trying to sleep, and thinking it was later than it was, and eventually got up at 4:45am out of sheer frustration.
So now it’s 4:59pm and I still have more busy-work ahead of me and I have to calm down, it’s inhumane, what I’m doing to myself. If only I had a kitchen. One thing I love about them, they finish AT 5pm. They get very antsy at 5:01pm. And so they should. You GO, Canadians!
And now, another dude starts ranting … it’s funny, what you don’t realise is that the only reason that you have a chance to say anything is because now that it’s 5:04pm, everybody is sitting shtum, just waiting to go home! Of course you have a captive audience … they’re boring holes in your chest wishing you’d explode or self-immolate so they can stop yawning and go home! You fool, you ignorant, hair-gelled fool. THREE people have started packing up their cables, lady. Take a hint. And the Canadians aren’t saying a word, not a whisper. The guy running the meeting pointed out that we’d agreed to go until 5. It is now 5:10pm. Just stop it, man, stop the madness.
Okay, now it’s 6:04pm and they’re talking about things totally unrelated to what I’m here to achieve. A guy just walked in and said “ok, sorry to stop you in the middle of all the excitement, but let’s have a checkpoint”. And … we’re off! Blah, blah, blah. Please sir, may I be excused? No, no, we’re starting now. Yeah. WhatEVA.
Since I’ve already started with sweet potatoes and even received feedback (my first, oh joy!), I’ll continue with the same legume. After all, it’s not only delicious, it’s also good for you. This recipe is from the Moosewood Restaurant Cooks At Home book, which I highly recommend.
I know the picture I’ve used isn’t particularly appetizing, but sometimes you just have to look a thing in the face and say: damn you ugly, but I’m gonna eatcha anyway.
Sweet Potato Salad
- 2 large sweet potatoes, peel and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1 1/2 Tbsp wine vinegar or cider vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1/4-1 cup diced red bell peppers
- salt & pepper
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 1 scallion, thinly sliced
- salad greens
Steam sweet potato cubes for 6 to 8 minutes, until just tender. Do not overcook. While potatoes steam, whisk vinegar, mustard, and honey in a small bowl. Slowly add oil in a thin stream, whisking until dressing emulsifies.
Place diced celery and red peppers in a serving bowl. Add steamed potatoes and dressing. Stir gently, add salt and pepper to taste, set aside for a few minutes. When salad has cooled a little, toss in parsley and scallions. Serve on salad greens.
After searching the internet for a decent sweet potato pie recipe and finding only american-style over-sweetened recipes stuffed with cranberries or marshmallows, I ended up using a combination of an old favourite and my own instincts. The pastry is from Alison Holst, and the thing turned out fabulously well, and reheated the day after well, and two days later just as well. Here’s the recipe:
- Fit food processor with metal cutting blade. Add 1 cup flour and add 60-70g cold butter cut into pieces. Acidify 1/4 cup cold water with 1-2 tsp lemon juice. Using pulse button, add water in thin stream while butter is chopped into the flour
- Roll pastry out and line tart pan or whatever else you have that’s the right size
- Roast two large sweet potatoes for about 40 minutes; mash (not too thoroughly)
- Fry chopped onion until dark and soft
- Mix together:
1/2 cup soft white cheese/quark/cream cheese/sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups grated cheese
salt, pepper, nutmeg
- Add the cooled sweet potatoes and onions to the milky mixture, pour into pastry shell
- Bake for 20 minutes at 220C, then for 10 minutes at 180C, if necessary to set the filling
Herein lies a tale of the will to munch surreptitiously overcoming the will of the bus driver. This story takes place on a warm day in September, inspired by a long stop-over in Newark, arriving at 6am and leaving again at 4pm.
Determined as I was to visit Manhattan, having only spent a few days there previously, I splurged (well, I splurged and work reimbursed, the dears) on an $80 car-ride to the city. After an hour’s roam around the park I ventured down 7th Avenue, boldly believing I’d make it to Chinatown on foot, and still be back in time for my flight.
Realising too late the inadequacy of my pace, I got on a bus, which proved to be even slower. Eventually deciding that the teapot I was dreaming of buying would have to remain in the realm of fantasy, I disembarked and started making my way north-west, in the direction of Penn Station, for a bus to the airport.
On my way I was fortunate enough to find a hole-in-the-wall Korean place selling, among other treats, udon noodle soup. Being in a hurry, I lugged it with me to Penn Station, where the driver made a point of saying “No food or drink allowed on the bus, ma’am”. Not to be defeated, I found myself the most discreet seat I could – out of view of the driver and security camera, designed specifically for naughty little law-breakers like me – and hunched protectively and hungrily over my soup.
Anyway, I figure:
a) he can’t tell ME what to do
b) the only spillage by the time I got off the bus was a bottle of water from some other jerk
c) how could I resist those delicious squares of tofu, and pretty little slices of dried reconstituted mushroom?
d) the benefit compared to the risk was worth it
Anyway, the happy punchline to this tale is that there is no punchline, only good soup eating.
Gotta love that udon.
It’s probably not an occurrence unique to me or my place of work, but it strikes me that one should not have to write ‘Top Secret, Explosive’ if one wishes one’s chocolate not to be eaten by a third-party.
The last time I dared to put two Snickers bars in the freezer compartment to cool them down enough so the caramel would crack instead of ooze, they BOTH went mysteriously missing. And despite the desperate and threatening pleas that I propped up inside the fridge, they were never returned. I still have fantasties of what I’ll do to the perpetrator if I ever discover him/her/it.
By the way, do you think I can make money out of product placement, or at least get free product for sneaky references? The angry lengths to which I will go for a Snickers should surely earn me some brownie points with the relevant company. No?
Welcome to my wonderful world, powered primarily by anger and eating. I look forward to providing you with examples of both, including recipes for disaster and dinner. See you all soon.