Saturday, July 25, 2009

Costumes and Mirrors Salad

"She doesn't think I should take up fencing." Christina said, trying to make an ally out of the barista, who was a well chosen prospect considering he had just spent the last ten minutes telling us about how he was taking up archery and whittling his own equipment.
"and why not.." he said.
"I...uh..I dunno, I guess I think it's reminds me of children playing with sticks in the backyard" I realized after I had said it that it made me sound like a curmedgeon
"AND WHAT'S WRONG WITH THAT?" the barista said. The encounter was shaping out to be just like the time Christina told a different barista that I didn't approve of her wearing a turban and I got shaming lecture with my Americano, the sort of lecture normally reserved for oppressive husbands. Christina, on the other hand, got a "you go girl, you rock that turban, don't let HER tell you what to wear" oh snap.
What she didn't know is that Christina has also talked about adorning herself with a cane, and an eye patch, a sign that says 'no talk tuesday', an orange and blue striped zoot suit, and cowboy boots with spandex.
By now our barista has come around the counter and positioned Christina's arm up behind her, and adjusted the toe of her boot in an en guard stance.
"Oh great" I said, "are you going to bite your thumb at me too now?"
Christina just stared back at me. I had let my inner geek slip out. I had tucked my hair behind my ear to reveal how it pointed at the top. The barista got excited, if their is one thing that the fencing type likes more than a Renaissance festival, it is reciting quotation wars and the Simpson's are particular favorites, but of course Shakespeare will always have a place of honor.
"I do not bite my thumb at you sir, but I do bite my thumb sir.." he said, a giant smile on his face. Then he asked me if I would approve of Christina playing with light sabers instead of fencing.
We left the building and hovered at the benches while we finished our drinks, still talking about the barista
"He belongs to a subculture" I said "certain traits run through subcultures like it, for example, the propensity toward video game playing, and preferences for mountain dew, and an attraction to wearing costumes.."
Just then, no joke, two teenage boys walked by. One of them was walking with a staff, the other wore tight black clothing and had spiked up his hair to look like a Japanese animation character. It was as if we were on a movie set and the director cued them to cross our path at those exact words. Strange.
We continued our walk.
"You seem to think you know an awful lot about this" Christina said
"of course I do" I said "I've been them before..I've been everything" I said.
Christina erupted with laughter.
"Everything??" she said. I gave her my best threatening look, the one that says 'shatter my illusion and I will make you regret it'. Then I hoped that she would heed her fathers words, who said
"You can't go around shattering people's illusions, people need them"
Christina has a way of throwing rocks through false mirrors. They create ripples of light when they fly through, revealing images from the mirror underneath, twisted and distorted and without clear edges. My way with the illusion is to polish it, because in my youthful arrogance I still believe that I can make it turn real.
"I hardly think that at 30 years old you have already been everything" And it hit me. The humor of my words was magnified by the picture of me saying them. Not only is my head slightly large for my frame, my physique is somewhat childlike from running and my skin is marked like an adolescent.
"Somebody has gotten a little big for her britches" Christina said, and she hiked her pants up high. I shook with laughter, and turned a little red from embarrassment.
We kept on walking.

The salad:
Marinate 1 chicken breast in 6 oz of mountain dew, 2 tsp soy sauce and 1 clove minced garlic. If you are the sort of cook that tries to avoid things like artificial processed foods, use orange juice instead (you need sugar, liquid, and and acid, and mountain dew fits in with the story; but orange juice is just as good).
Boil 1 pan of water and add 1/2 head broccoli and watch as the color of the trees turns bright green. You are the rain, unlocking the colors that have been trapped in her leaves hidden from the world while she travelled through boxes and crispers to get to you now. After just a few min in the hot water, pour the broccoli into your strainer. If cooking were a sport the strainer would be the benches. The waiting area. Let the broccoli rest there while you mince 2 cloves of garlic, and heat 2 Tbsp of toasted sesame oil. They add broccoli, and garlic to the hot oil, toss it around for a few min and remove from the heat.
Cook your chicken in a hot pan with 1 Tbsp olive oil. Add chicken and marinade into the pan all at once so the oil doesn't spatter. When the liquid is gone, the chicken will caramelize from the sugar in the soda on the outside. This is good, but don't let it burn. Remove the cooked chicken and slice into pieces.
In your salad bowl add 1/4 head purple cabbage diced. Add 2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil, 1 tsp mountain dew, 1 tsp soy sauce and 1 Tbsp rice vinegar. Toss together, add in chicken and broccoli. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds. In a dry pan, toast sesame seeds, moving constantly (they like to burn) until they are fragrant.

Christina's vote: "This salad had me speaking in tongues"

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