27 February 2010

This Delicious Life

I went to Marie Callender's tonight. It wasn't my fault.

I knew I was stepping into enemy territory but I did it anyway.

I had a meeting there and it involved dinner and though I tried to order as little as possible and to make it the safest-sounding thing on the menu, it was still a crushing disappointment.

I got an apple, blue cheese, pecan and cranberry salad, which can be a lovely thing if handled correctly.

But this salad was made of that slightly decomposed lettuce - the kind that you sniff in your fridge and think "Should I take a chance on that?" and apples that looked like they had been chopped by a not-particularly coordinated 8-year-old and had blue cheese in either huge chunks or tiny specks and nothing in between.

A horrorshow.

Bad food doesn't just disappoint me. It fills me with fury. It makes me want to drive my car through the front windows or set the roof on fire.

Because to me, food is life, food is love, and to put out a shitty plate of food - especially to paying customers - is to say "You don't matter to me. Supporting your life isn't worth my time. Piss off. Die."

So this salad wasn't just a bad salad. It was a life-denying symbol of Everything That is Wrong With America and Our Food - it was thickly coated in fatty, too-sweet dressing, so that eating it didn't satisfy the senses, but merely gave a feeling of dull satiety.

It wasn't just me. CC felt the same way - she pointed at the soup the guy next to her was eating and said "Look at the soup next to me. Awful."

It was the kind of soup Laura would have called "Cream of Cornstarch." Some thick weirdly yellow glop with chunks in it. Probably about 1200 calories a bowl and flavorless as library paste except for being so salty it would make your ears ring.

Contrast that with my favorite restaurant on earth, Cuernavaca. Cuernavaca is a humble taqueria, with only about 10 tables. You can get lunch for well under $8.

But Cuernavaca is spotlessly clean and the food is made with a kind of pride and love that just shines through every bite. The flavors are all at once rich and bright and balanced. The salsa is fresh and complex and has layers of tastes that add perfect notes of chile and herbs to complement everything else.

When I get a plate of food at Cuernavaca, it says to me "You're alive. You're human. We're glad you're here to share that experience with us." I mean, who knew a plate of tacos could be so mystical?

I had that experience often in Mexico, though.


People would make these humble offerings of food from the simplest ingredients, but that love and pride was apparent. I drank cactus punch from a plastic bucket in a churchyard in Zaachila that was made by these little 4'6" ladies in aprons. It was 35 cents a cup and tasted like the angels had reached down to ladle it themselves.

I sat there on this rough stone wall with my plastic cup and drank that taste of heaven and I knew I was Alive with a capital A.
Agua de tuna y naranja

I wish those cooks or busboys or whoever made that crap salad at Marie Callender's could go to Zaachila for one cup of Agua de Tuna (cactus fruits are called "Tuna") and maybe they would understand what you offer someone when you offer them food. It isn't just getting the orders out. It's more than just giving them enough fat and salt and sugar to satisfy their dulled palates.

I got home and fed Goldie and realized: I make my dog's food with far, far more care than those people made my dinner. THAT's why I want to set the roof on fire. Doesn't that make sense?

26 February 2010

Why did I not get a Yorkie?

Rocks 500 px

Goldie and I found ourselves in a very, very strange spot today. It was really like nowhere else I have ever been.

Imagine a maze. But instead of a maze made of corn or shrubberies or what have you, it is a maze made of stones.

Boulders, actually. Giant boulders from six to eight feet tall about as wide. Placed in a giant dirt field (about the size of a football field) with gaps between them. The gaps range from four inches to two feet.

In other words, some gaps big enough for a Suebob to squeeze through and just barely dirty her jeans and others that there is Just No Way.

Now imagine that there is a squirrel that lives in among the stones. And that you have a dog that loves to chase squirrels. A deaf dog.

Yes, it happened again. I lost my dog. For how long?

The answer is a long, long, long, long time. Because even if I could glimpse her briefly, by the time I found my way between the little gaps in the stones, she had moved on.

Finally her leash got stuck on the edge of a rock and kept her in one place. I saw her and had to go around and around a bunch of rocks to try and get back to her...and I got totally lost.

Meanwhile, a new load of boulders had come in on a truck and a guy on a Caterpillar D-9 was going over to get them and I just knew that they were going to crush me and my little dog in the process...

But I got the dog. We survived to walk another day.

Some people just walk around the park with their dog trotting beside them. But nooooo. Not me. I'm special.

23 February 2010

Bachelor: Scent of Desperation

I am so excited to STILL be in the running for Bachelor: Scent of Desperation, the show for middle-aged singles who are willing to utterly humiliate and debase themselves for a long, long shot at love.

Yes, after only 47 weeks, we are down to four finalists vying for the affections of the AMAZING Bachelor, Rex, who owns his own Rooter Dude franchise. I think I might have impressed him with the gymnastic tricks those Chinese acrobat girls I met taught me, but who knows? I'm in, that's all that counts!

Rex is truly the whole package. At our age, he doesn't exactly have six-pack abs, but he looks mighty fine in a pair of size 46 khaki Dockers!

I had the most fascinating conversation with him on my hometown date. Let's listen in, shall we?

Rex: You are the most amazing woman I have ever met.
Suebob: Save it for that blonde with the big knockers. I think she actually believes you when you say that.
Rex: I'm looking at the long-term.
Suebob: And I'm just hoping this dinner ends in creme brulee.
Rex: Could you picture yourself married to me?
Suebob: Oh, I can picture it. Though sometimes I also picture my car going over the edge when I am on a tall bridge, so I'm not sure how much that counts for.
Rex: The problem is that I'm falling in love with three other women at the same time.
Suebob: You know only a real jerk would say that, right?
Rex: I'm worried that you don't open up to me.
Suebob: Why does that sentence always sound so filthy to me? And not in a good way.
Rex: I can't wait to meet your family.
Suebob: Let's just hope it isn't a Lysol day.
Rex: Do you think they will like me?
Suebob: If past history is the best predictor of future behavior, not a chance in hell.
Rex: Do they live in a charming, spotlessly clean, extremely large country-style home like the rest of the families on this show?
Suebob: Just turn left across the railroad tracks, swerve to avoid the standing water and look for the first trailer without broken-out windows. That would be the place.
Rex: Do you want to put on swimsuits and frolic around in the water like they do every 20 minutes on the other Bachelor?
Suebob: For the middle-aged Bachelor, we have a contractual obligation NOT to remove any clothing.
Rex: Well, what do you want to do, then?
Suebob: Let's put it this way - I'll do whatever I have to do to get to the Romantic Island date. I'm pretty sure there's a cabana boy there who needs to learn the arts of love from a fantastically hot older woman such as myself.

So that's where it stands, folks. Stay tuned for the most dramatic Rose Ceremony ever, when one of our ladies rips another's sleazy-looking weave out! Find out who it will be next week on Bachelor: Scent of Desperation!
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