Tuesday, July 10, 2012

This Week's For The Love Of Pie Brought To You By Pie

   These last couple of weeks have certainly been food themed. Oh other themes also- I seem to remember repeating the phrase "Valhalla's Finest" so often it became more or less the nonsense that it actually is- but predominantly I remember eating a fuckload of junk in the last 14 days alone. First off, PiePapa and I went on our monthly hunt and gather to the big Pick 'n Pay. Well, I say 'went'. More like we intended with enthusiasm. Excellent Dad decided that we would do a morale-boosting breakfast at trendy Spur. (The part where I very lamely try to make Spur ironically trendy will become important later, take notes.) (For everyone whose ancestors either made it out of South Africa or were smart enough to avoid the damn Cape altogether, Spur is more or less on par with a Wild-West/Horrifically Offensive Stereotypical American Indian themed Applebee's. Or you know what? Chuck E Cheese. The sheer volume of sticky toddlers required to certify the place as a bona fide Spur restaurant is madness.) I decided to live large or die of living large, and had more calamari for breakfast than I believe any one person has a reasonable claim to. But damned if I didn't make the most of every drop of delicious squid meat and Spur pink sauce. You put a walrus-sized plate of food down in front of me, and I guarantee you're just asking for a "Challenge Accepted!"

   We lolloped, rolled and whined our way to a different grocery store eventually, this having been at the height of my bullshit unshakeable flu. My dad had either picked up my strain of this dilligence-eating virus or had cultivated his own, but either way both of us were seven different shades of fuckless, so we decided to pare it down to bare essentials and do our big shopping expedition another time. Why do today what you can realise at the end of next month you got by without ever having to do, right?
   We went to the Pick 'n Pay Spar, and of course bare essentials ended up being a trolley load full of crap plus some more crap and then some extra crap I spotted and added onto the initial bunch of crap. Specifically, we were shopping for a dinner I was going to make for the PiePapa and a friend of mine who was scheduled to come over that weekend. It's my coconut-green-curry-chicken, and I don't half mind saying that it is better than your coconut-green-curry-chicken. Look, I pilfer most of my signature dishes either from Andrea or Gordon Ramsay, but what I plagiarise I make up for in panache. And spinach. And more ginger than you can probably shake several cinnamon sticks at. So I'm grabbing left right and centre for things I feel will become of central importance to my being in the moments when this miracle of culinary art comes together (cardamom pods are a fucking revelation), and our quick convenience store-type stop becomes shopping. By the time we get to the till, the ghost of calamari past is weighing heavily on my soul and I am in turn looking on my bounty with nauseal discomfort. I believe my dad had turned several shades of hospital ward green, and the smell of someone very helpfully selling fresh-make pancakes just outside the store was bringing on dual visions of breakfast in reverse.

   I found- and omigodomigodomigod- POP TARTS! Right there, in a little package containing two of a strawberry persuasion, were the much-lauded, ever-fantasised about confection itself. Motherfucking POP TARTS. Ok, jump back wild child, allow me to explain. There are two groups of people here who are going to be confused as fuck about my apparent excitement over chemically-fabricated toaster pastries: those of you who are- and I'm afraid there is no other word for this- American, and therefore could walk into any old {insert random word/syllable here}-Mart and buy them by the actual boxload; and those of you who have lived your whole lives unaware that such a piece of heaven even exists.
   To the first group, I say this: you bastards. We are a third world country wearing a Mandela mask and a 46664 T-shirt. We do not have such luxuries as your Western Pop Tarts, Root Beer or Pumpernickel Bread. (I could possibly be very wrong on that last one, but the research function of my brain is currently in a state of disrepair. Let's just all agree to take my word for it, yes?) I, being the pop-culture ingénue that I am, grew up with the solid understanding of Pop Tarts and their significance to American culture without ever having had my innocence spoiled by the actual sight of one. To me, they were the obvious go-to snack that Lorelei Gilmore puts out for Rory when she has Paris and her two droogs over, spread out all iced and pretty on a plate, so inherently not South African that the very thought of it titillated my titillaries. I could, using the many, many archival clips I have of them stored in my brain, imagine quite acutely and accurately exactly what they tasted like, the exact consistency and just how magically foreign they ought to be, but here for the first time ever I had the chance to fist-bump myself on being so ridiculously correct on all fronts.
   Even more bizarrely, there was only one packet of two left, almost like someone had put it there just for me. I swear, if I wasn't such a heathen I might well have imagined a fluorescent beam of light opening up under the smog from the bakery section and Hallelujah chorusing the fuck out of these little babes. I grabbed, naturellement, elated at my find, feeling as though the day had finally earned its 8 AM, WHEN OUT OF NOWHERE-

   FUCKING JAWBREAKERS ON A STICK. No, seriously, what kind of shit luck am I in for this month if I've already spent my allotment of awesome on POP TARTS AND JAWBREAKERS ON A STICK?! Look, you put me in a room with a bag full of jawbreakers- and I mean those serious mothers, the ones that will actually merit a course of anti-inflammatories from the GP because you managed to fuck up the left hinge of your actual jaw on one (true story)- and a cat or two, and I could probably survive nuclear fallout just through sheer concentration on the bubblegum centre alone. And I can never, ever find them. A few years back, they just fucking vanished, and suddenly it became doubly important that I have as many as I carry at any given time. I lived Ed, Edd 'n Eddie, man. Everytime I find these things I buy a gajillion of them, and the last time I gorged myself wasn't even a month ago. My karma must be golden. Naturally, I bought out whatever they had left of those, and just about hugged myself in gleeful anticipation.
   I got home and with super-human presence of mind managed to take the above photograph of my first Pop Tart. No, I did not toast it, I have it on good authority that they're just as good as is. We finally got a Starbucks in South Africa (I'm going on word of mouth on this one, haven't actually seen it with my own eyes so until I buy my first over-priced tall skinny latte it's nothing more than rumour and myth), Hooters landed (and have yet to make their infamous classic T-shirt available through their website, as I would obviously rock the fuck out of one of those), and there's even a small company called Frankies making root beer again. Now Pop Tarts. I can't help but shed a tear as I take one small bite for man, and  then like ten big-ass chomps for South African-kind.
   And I'll tell you what: it was exactly- exactly- what I had imagined. In other words: not a whole hell of a lot. It was slightly soft, there was icing of one description or another, and it tasted (if not entirely like actual foodstuffs) not unlike shitty stoner pastry. The sort of crystallised, demi-strawberry inside was a surprise though. I suppose I remember something about a filling, and if I were to go through my previously mentioned archives I should probably find evidence to that effect, but in the biting moment I was not expecting that shit. All in all: I could eat some Pop Tarts, man. I was man enough to give the other one to my dad, which I thought was mighty big of me considering he would be eating the damn thing in total ignorance to the historically and culturally significant moment he was masticating. At least I afforded it the reverence it deserved. He probably didn't even know that you can eat it as is not because you simply can, but because that is one of the canonical ways that it is done. 
   The eating of the jawbreakers was a much less spiritual thing for me, and was more like midnight mass on Easter once a year than first communion. Those suckers went down. I also discovered that there is absolutely no dignified way to photograph one's self eating a jawbreaker on a stick, and had to suffice with trying to get one with the least amounts of possible chins. They were damn good though. One made my whole mouth blue, which I find to be an almost mandatory thing to go through every so often when you start feeling too much like a grown-up.

   The green curry chicken dinner was postponed. Instead, person-who-was-going-to-be-on-the-receiving-end-of-the-chicken (who is also person-I-bonded-with-over-mutual-hyphen-abuse) invited me out for drinks with some friends of his. One of said friends was in from out of town and since this was a time-sensitive thing, it was decided that the spinach and curry mix would keep until the next week. I got loaded into the car and driven off to Johannesburg, and received an impromptu lesson in What Is Cool, And What Is Not Cool. Or rad. I'm not sure, Joburg people are very specific with their vernacular.
   We walked some distance to find a suitable spot for drinks and food (which it was decided was a necessary event, I don't know if food is Usually Cool in Joburg or Only Cool When You're So Hungry You Could Eat The Modern Art Hanging In The Foyer), at which time it became painfully clear to me that I ought to invest in belts that do more than sit upon my waist in a decorative fashion. I like to buy my jeans the right size to start off with, in order to by-pass the whole functional-belt thing entirely, but as it turns out when one's weight fluctuates like bank stock, this is not as practical as I may have hoped. Upshot: I walked the streets of Mellville with one hand on my hip, trying to pretend I was being cool- or rad- instead of simply holding my trousers up my a belt loop.
   We passed a great many places that were hand-waved with such authority that I was in a little bit of awe. This place is just fucking no, that place doesn't let you smoke except outside, that place apparently has live music that is undesirable and this one isn't letting us in without a reservation, birth certificates, three months' bank statements and a blood donation. I gave no quarrel, and instead simply followed as far as we went with my one hand cocked cooly on my hip, and was not cognisant of anything until I realised we had sat down at a pizza place that had received a tentative stamp of semi-approval from the group. Now understand: these people were awesome to a man, every single one of them Pie People in spirit.

Pictured: Blurry Awesome.
    This is not me being derogatory about snootiness or ripping into some kind of elitism, because that's just not what it is. It's Joburg. This is just how things work there. Cool is an impenetrable club there, and chances are fairly solid that there is a Club Impenetrable. The way the names of clubs and bars were flying past my head, it made me feel a little bit like I had fallen into that scene from How I Met Your Mother about Club Where and Club What.

   So, pizza. And as we all know, I am a fan of the humble pizza pie. However, the moment me and Chicken-Dude sat down on the bench on our side of the table, we had immediate consensus that this thing felt like it was about two sniffs away from caving like a bad argument. We joked about it, naturally, and then proceeded to forget all about our prediction, until such time as the fucking thing caved like a bad argument. It happened in two stages: first, we found ourselves about a foot lower than everyone else at the table. We were still trying to process this when the bench made good on its promise, and we sank all the way to the floor. It happened so fast and so with such ridiculous comical timing, almost no one besides us noticed until we pointed out that we were in fact missing from the conversation from our new seats on the floor. The thing had given way in such a manner that it had gone down from one fold in the middle, and as such propelled us into each other with considerable force, as though the bench itself was trying an experiment to see how much speed and momentum it needed to force two people to occupy the same physical space at one time. For a little while, we got to stand and eat our pizza from an eagle's eye view as they scrambled to find us some replacement chairs.

   So obviously I cannot say that this wasn't a night of awesome, really. I suppose there's every chance that the whole "bench caving in after we had so accurately foreseen it" thing may not be quite as hysterically funny to anyone who isn't one of the two people who were directly involved in the caving. I also suppose that I don't give a shit, for it be my blog, bitches, and I can tell which ever pointless stories I so please.

   Quick For The Love Of Vergina instalment!

    You might recall the small kitchen fire we had here some time ago. You might also- being as astute and sharp a pieling as you most assuredly are- realise quite rightly that everyone in this household is much, much too full of shit and bereft of work ethic to have ever cleaned that shit up. Luckily, our good friend Verdale runs a small cleaning business which consists of him in a "Baker For Life" t-shirt and artfully ripped jeans scrubbing the fuck out of some kitchen, and in this family we call that problem solved. I woke up to the sound of penis jokes and beer fumes, and when I had bravely swung my solidly unconscious arse out of bed to go check, I found our entire cabinet contents on the kitchen table. Verdale was hard at work, Vanish-ing the dragon's breath that had so marked our humble kitchen out as the singular marvel that it is, and he did a mighty fine job of it too. I toyed briefly with the idea of making him clean the place wearing nothing but boxers and a small bow-tie (hey, if you're paying for a man-servant, I believe in fullness of service), but sufficed at objectifying him at every chance and turn I got. It was a good day. 
   And hey, I got to make the coconut-chicken afterall, feeding the hungry, beery masses (two, two people. My dad and Verdale; the masses) and taking tupperware-fulls with me into the heart of (North? I think it was north. I'll probably hear about it if it isn't actually north) Joburg once more. Thusly my assessment of the last two weeks as being most especially marked for their hungry tones and healthless abandon. I really can't complain, I mean, POP TARTS AND JAWBREAKERS ON A STICK, DUDE.

   Some minor housekeeping of a different ilk very quickly: two birthdays coming up. On July 22nd, For The Love Of Pie turns a year old! Holy mothering fuck, that's bizarre. I know it started as an entirely different animal (well, not that different, I suppose, really all that's happened is I've abandoned all hope for the trouserometre and started saying "fuck" more), but I'm super proud of my lazy arse for having kept it up this long at all. Now all I have to do is find some people who are not related to me to read it. And before you say it Judy, you are extended Pie-Family, so it still counts. We'll be having an unrelated party here on the 28th, so at least there will be some merriment I can vaguely link to the anniversary. I might have to make some very baffled guests wear pie-themed party hats, I'll see.
   Secondly, my favourite baby in the world also turns 1 on the 3rd of September! This too is utter fucking nonsense, that kid was only just conceived like three weeks ago, he couldn't possibly be as gorgeous and as old as that already. I believe I need to investigate further, as I simply can't credit this without suspecting some kind of supernatural agency having a hand in the passage of time. This one will actually have an official party I believe, with all of the guests more or less cognisant of why it is they're eating cake and blowing party-whistles. 
   Lastly: as I went to find the links for various past story references, I realised the recent change in branding here at Pie Central has left some of the older entries badly mangled for layout. This is entirely on my head, as I suck proper balls at navigating the blogger template designer and making it do what I actually want. Look, with me you can either have pretty pictures or functionality, but you can't have both, OK? I'll be tinkering with it and consulting/abusing my web-designing contact in the next week or so to try and iron out kinks and actually make it look half-way decent, so please bare with me if everything suddenly goes mauve or polka-dotted or somesuch bullshit.
   If you should wish to leave a birthday gift for the Pie, please refresh your page so as to make me think I've gotten a whole extra page-view, I promise it'll make my year. Thank you and goodnight.

1 comment:

  1. North?? I'll have to get you a compass (or a GPS)