Saturday, April 12, 2008

I learned how I DON'T like to travel

For my Spring Break this year, I made the silly decision to take a free school trip up to the bay area to look at college campuses. Three days on a bus, 4 campuses, too many fast food meals and 50 other people who were mostly at least 10 years younger than me later, I have realized that I cannot be herded around like this, no matter what the purpose may be. I had to explain to an 18 year old why the Transformers movie was a worthless piece of garbage (please stay tuned for that post on discriminating taste that will come at some time in the future), and I was told that I was "mean" for asking a young woman to get out of the seat next to me and return to hers which she had previously plopped herself into to have asinine conversations with a girl sitting in the next row.

What I did get out of the experience was the purchase of a new tobacco pipe. I already have the pipe that my grandfather used, but I thought it would be nice to have one that I was the only person to ever smoke out of it. Now I can experience the continuation, and the implementation of tradition. I bought tobacco and grabbed some matches, and one of the only calming moments of this trip came that night as I stepped out of the hotel out into the cold night air of San Francisco and lit my pipe for the first time. a lifetime of fantasies of being an English gentleman, sitting in a private library next to the fire smoking a pipe were immediately realized, and I was completely satisfied with my purchase.

This beautiful illusion was soon shattered though by being forced to eat a meal on the SFSU campus. Blech.

It doesn't always work

While I encourage anyone to take cooking "by the horns" as it may, meaning to just sort of jump into it blind and cook "by feel", there are times when I would have been better off following some sort of instructions.

Recently I really wanted some shrimp that gave me a taste of garlic, lemon and lime. Something fresh and light tasting. I bought some shrimp and chopped up a few cloves of garlic, then threw them into a container with the freshly squeezed juice of 3 limes, 1 lemon and 1/2 an orange. I let this all chill together while I made some rice and then I heated up some olive oil and threw the shrimp into it once warmed to the proper temperature (that is a lie, I don't know how hot the oil was).

What happened? Some of the juice from the marinade went into the pan too and immediately lowered the cooking temperature, giving me not a searing on the shrimp, but a kind of boiling instead. When I went to eat them, the texture was all wrong and the taste was very strong of nondescript citrus flavors. I only ate one of them.

Now, at this point I take back that I still wouldn't stand behind my method of ignorant cooking, because through this experience I learned a couple of things NOT to do while cooking shrimp. This I believe, will be highly valuable in the future.