“The past few years have been brutal and full of chaos,” begins an article I recently read. The article was about making a grilled cheese sandwich.
Ennui rules us. What laden and barren times we live in. I recognize the tribulations of the pandemic fear and the mongering that followed but that has consequences for the complex things in life. The simple remains the simple. This was about pressing a button to heat a buttered and cheese filled sandwich.
The author didn’t even use a pan. She used the modern convenience popular among the denizens of our brutal and chaotic times called an air fryer. To be fair there is the added culinary instruction to flip it at the half-cooked mark which makes no sense in an oven designed to circulate heat.
I was torn between Marcella Hazan’s (her name be praised) bizarre because you can’t believe it will work and a basic pomodoro so I mashed the two together with some bucatini my wife picked up the other day. Bucatini has been a fixture in our house for years but lately she’s been coming back from Aldi with a selection of varied pastas. She’s sent me diving into my copy of the Geometry of Pasta and scanning suggested recipes from any of a dozen books and web sites.
It’s been fun. I’d never had casarecce, but thanks to her adventurous shopping I’ve learned that with arugula and cherry tomatoes it sings. Chittara needs bottarga and while I love rigatoni with pancetta, peas, and cream the best choice for that sauce is garganelli. But today is back to basics, or at least experimenting with basics.
There’s a great brewery here in Birmingham called Back Forty Beer Company. They began a little north in Gadsden but in 2018 they built a magnificent palace to beer, burgers, pizza, sports, and outdoor fun with room for football games and fire pits.
I was there last Saturday in the late afternoon with my wife and two sons, my sister-in-law and her husband and two kids, and my mother-in-law.
We hadn’t taken the kids in a few years, and not because it was the scene of then six-year-old’s last and greatest temper tantrum – He wanted a double decker burger that was bigger than his head, much less his mouth, and he was furious that I ordered the already oversized single burger for him instead. There was flopping and screaming. We haven’t been back because we just don’t get out that much. I hear that’s not an unusual thing lately.
This time we sat outside at one of the picnic tables and that six-year-old tantrum thrower, now eight and more ready to appeal to reason, came up to the table of adults and was near tears. He’d been throwing a football around with a bunch of kids and one of them called him an idiot.
I was working on a few technical issues on this site so I haven’t been posting lately. One of my favorite writing stops is over at rollbamaroll.com where they have indulged me for almost seven years now.
I write a food column, mostly before football games. A what to eat when you have a tailgate or game day party type of thing.
This year the basketball team is doing so well that I thought I’d throw one in for those guys. The post went up Sunday before the game. I would have linked it here, but technical blah blah blah.
We won, big. 96-77 over Maryland to land us in our first Sweet Sixteen since 2004.
As it happens the women’s team is playing tomorrow (3/24) at noon CT on ESPN2, also against Maryland and this is a Sweet Sixteen matchup. Please excuse the recycled link, but Roll Tide.