Monday, October 5, 2009

Cooking Fancy

My grandmother Virgina is 91 and loud, imperious, opinionated and completely awesome except when you want her to keep a secret, and then you're like "No she did NOT!" Oh yes. She did.

Virginia doesn't cook much anymore, but she used to when I was little. She's got these great big leathery hands like a frontierswoman, and when she prepares food, she uses Serious Cooking Implements like the old meat grinder her mother used to use back in like 1890, with which she creates her signature orange cranberry sauce. This is done by feeding whole cranberries and entire oranges (peels and all) into the grinder, which she cranks with her big, muscly hands until it comes out the end looking like Brontosaurus puke. If you ever go to her house on a holiday, please heed this warning: avoid the orange cranberry sauce. It will CUT you.

All this is to say, my people cook like cave people. Spaghetti tossed in butter, granulated Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Blackeyed peas and collard greens on New Years. Cornbread made with that kind of crunchy yellow cornmeal--no sugar. Tomato sandwiches in the summer; in the winter, tomato-based vegetable soup with hamburger meat floating around in it. Nothing fancy.

Which is why I have a natural and completely lunatic disdain for "fancy food." Does it take more than a half hour to prepare? Does it contain more than 5 ingredients? Does it require a Cuisinart? A flour sifter? An electric mixer? Well, I bet you cook all your pet's food too, own a pair of bamboo underpants and you probably bought a $90 Patagonia fleece for your 3 month old baby last week, DIDN'T YOU?

See? I just snapped. That was me snapping.

Anyway, I need to get over it. Because I wish I had a pair of bamboo underpants (have you felt that bamboo fabric? It's like the most delicate meringue...), and I actually think cooking your dog's food would probably be pretty cool if anyone other than crazy people did it. Plus, I would totally put my daughter in a $90 fleece if it was like $20. And I love to eat fancy food. I love it, but don't want to cook it.

So, tonight, I'm bucking my heritage, girding my loins and making Cremini mushroom and gorgonzola privilege dumplings. Also known as Ravioli. With a pasta maker: a Swiss watch next to Virginia's meat grinder. Wish me luck.

PS. Hank Green took this photo of Virginia with her cane. Google him! He's internet famous!


  1. I took that picture!!! I ReQuiRE CompenSATiON! snapping is adorable. Also, I love this blog and I want you to write as much as possible.

  2. i love this blog too. please quit your job and write all day, jessie - i love knowing that there is something awesome waiting for me to read it. oh - and i love your raviolis too.