Wednesday, November 26, 2003

The King is Dead, Long Live the Queen!

The inevitable happened and who can blame her, really.

Year after year listening to the former Trader Vic's barbeque chef critique the "tookey" prepared annually by his son as being "too dry" or the smashed, not mashed potatoes not being smooth and creamy enough like it used to be prepared in the Army by him for an entire battalion. And the weak culinary excuse of "it's supposed to be that way" for the lumpy consistency of viscuous gravy.

So no more willy-nilly recipes concocted from memory or wildly creative interpretations of tried and true traditions or slipshod, half-ass stop-and-go cooking just to catch the latest replay from the football game because the lady of the house now demands precision, exact measurements. "Follow the directions, actually read those cookbooks stuffed away up in the cabinets behind the cans of Van De Camps baked beans (that taste so damn good alongside a frankfurter, i.e., weiner sans the bun) AND FOCUS...stop going off on tangents being easily distracted while the food burns!" she commands. Those days of laissez-faire holiday meals belong to the distant past as sadly, meekly and humbly I relinquish the spatula.

Tomorrow the wife dons the toque, assuming all responsibility to roast the bird as well as all the fixings. The king is dead, long live the queen!

Monday, November 24, 2003

A Manhattan Night

Sad to say, but Charlotte continued a recent trend to imbibe heavily. Ordinarily, a cold soft drink of the Coke family suffices to quench my thirst but somehow the temptation of a per diem on the road justifies the frill of liquor. Sitting at the sushi bar downing Kirin after Sapporo to chase warm sake tastes so much better washing down expense account sashimi. Of course, this is succeded by a nightcap of single-malt whiskey at the bar watching the latest scores on ESPN.

It started innocently enough in Boston actually with the Pappy. The two of us passed the evening away, waiting over an hour and a half for a table at Legal with a couple of Black and Tans. After the surf and turf and trekking in blustery chill about a half mile only to discover that all showings of Lost in Translation sold out, the remaining option left meant activating the backup plan to locate a bar for drinks. So to avoid the cold weather, we headed back in a cab to the hotel bar, a lovely place called the Encore Lounge which immediately proved an inspired choice. The bartender played the straight man for the comedy act that was the piano bar and subsequently Amateur Night. Five Manhattans later listening to the semi-professional wannabes from Ole Blue Eyes to imitation Ethel Mermans only added to the illusion of the booze going down smooth.

Imagine shooting the whole wad drinking. What next...discotheques?

Friday, November 21, 2003

Year of the Monkey (Devil Child)

Time does fly.

The devil monkey child himself turns twelve today. And for someone composed of genetic material predisposed to Sumo proportions, his lack of food intake-which is not to be confused with his appetite as the boy loves his sweets- beguiles the whole family especially considering that his former linebacker dad Willie is often mistaken for Bolo (think Asian muscle man/karate killer from Enter the Dragon) and his mom, my sister, the former high school cheerleader, packs on some meat herself.

But his aversion to eating seems not to affect his height at all. He already stands five foot, two inches tall, with an adult shoe size of seven and a half, weighing a mere eighty pounds tops, a veritable skinny beanhole much like his uncle was at the same age. Those genes rarely fall far from the tree, you know. Or perhaps what really accounts for being thin as a rail might be his strange and very un-Asian dietary habit of eating cheese as if born in Sicily, a weird medical hypothesis given my lactose intolerance that resulted in years of my father every Saturday morning hauling me on the Clark bus headed all the way north to Howard for an allergy shot in my butt at first and later my upper left arm (which may explain why I never flinch at the sight of blood, or sharp needles for that matter).

Yet given his size, the perplexing thing vexing his parents especially because of their former athletic glories is his complete disinterest in team sports. When asked by his sports-obsessed family who religiously golf, hurt themselves annually playing full contact tackle football at the family Turkey Bowl, play league Chicago-style Clincher slow pitch softball (no gloves allowed, baby) or shoot four-on-four indoor basketball which sport he likes the best, no doubt the not-so-subtle pressure weighs heavier than the two hundred and fifty pounds of barbells and dumbbells on a bench in his basement. It somewhat pained them at first to slowly realize their son is not the next coming of Ichiro, but to their credit, both resigned themselves to his lack of hand-eye coordination. Simply put, my nephew is a bookworm prone to mathematical geekiness, the chatty, studious type who loves geography, Mario Brothers and Harry Potter.

So good for him that recently he began taekwondo lessons out of his own accord. Already he broke a couple of boards to achieve his yellow belt.

So for his birthday, another book might be in order. Perhaps, the whole set of the Chronicles of Narnia.

Yeah, not a bad present at all.