Tuesday, January 22, 2008
England may be my immediate destination but it is not my goal, Ormus's clothes announce, old England cannot hold me, it may pretend to be swinging but I know it's just plain hanged. Not funky but defunct. History moves on. Nowadays England is ersatz America, America's delayed echo, America driving on the left. Sure, Jesse Garon Parker was white American trash who wanted to sing like a black boy, but the Beatles, for goodness' sake, the Beatles are white English trash trying to sing like American girls. Crystals Ronettes Shirelles Chantels Chiffons Vandellas Marvelettes, why not wear some spangly dresses, boys, why not get some beehive hairdos instead of those lovable moptops and have the sex change operations too, go the whole way, do it right.
These reflections before even setting foot in England or America or any place except the land where he was born, which he is leaving for good, without regrets, without a backward glance: I like to be in America, America where everyone's like me, because everyone comes from somewhere else. All those histories, persecutions, massacres, piracies, slaveries; all those secret ceremonies, hanged witches, weeping wooden virgins and horned unyielding gods; all that yearning, hope, greed, excess, the whole lot adding up to a fabulous noisy historyless self-inventing citizenry of jumbles and confusions; all those variform manglings of English adding up to the livingest English in the world; and above everything else, all that smuggled-in music. The drums of Africa that once beat out messages across a giant landscape in which even the trees made music, for example when they absorbed water after a drought, listen and you'll hear them, yikitaka yikitaka yikitak. The Polish dances, the Italian weddings, the zorba-zithering Greeks. The drunken rhythm of the salsa saints. The cool heart music that heals our aching souls, and the hot democratic music that leaves a hole in the beat and makes our pants want to get up and dance. But it's this boy from Bombay who will complete the American story, who will take the music and throw it up in the air and the way it falls will inspire a generation, two generations, three. Yay, America. Play it as it lays.
Monday, January 21, 2008
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Please help! I'm a little orphan. I lost my Mama! I don't know where she is! She gave me to an evil man and he took me away to strange foreign lands. He stuck me on the outside of his bamboo bungalow so all the people could see me. I'm only little. I was scared. He left me outside all night by myself. There were angry dogs barking on the beach and I thought they might eat me. Then the man took me to another strange place where there were bouncing animals. I don't even know how to bounce. He stuck me in a shrine. I didn't know anybody else in the shrine and I didn't know what to do but try and look as cute as possible so nobody would hurt me. Nobody did but still I was a little frightened. Now I'm back in the cold and miserable city I came from but I can't find my Mommy. Please help me if you can because I don't want to be with this weirdo anymore. Maybe he will do things to me like Micheal Jackson did to Bubbles
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Serves: 4 as a main dish, or 6 as a side
two large handfuls breadcrumbs, from a slightly stale country loaf (about 1 cup, packed)
1 flat can anchovies in olive oil, undrained
big pinch or two of hot chili flakes, or to taste
about 5-6 cups (1.25-1.5l) chicken stock
1 medium head cauliflower (about 2lbs/1kg)
6 tablespoons (90g) butter, divided
2 tablespoons (30ml) olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups (400g) carnaroli or arborio rice
1 cup (250ml) dry vermouth or white wine
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
4 oz (115g/about 1 cup) freshly grated parmesan cheese
salt and freshly-ground black pepper
extra parmesan cheese, for serving
Combine the bread in a food processor with the anchovies, the oil from the can and the chili flakes and process to fine crumbs. Heat a frying pan with a splash of olive oil and saut� the crumbs over medium-high heat until browned and crispy. Set aside.
Bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a large saucepan. Tear the green leaves off the cauliflower and cut out the stalk. Chop the stalk finely and cut the florets into 1-inch pieces. Drop the florets in the pan with the stock, bring to a gentle boil, and cover.
In another, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons butter and the olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and reserved chopped cauliflower stalk and saut� until very tender, about 15 minutes. Add the rice, stirring constantly to coat it with the oil. After about a minute the grains of rice should start to become translucent around the edges. Add the vermouth or wine, and stir constantly until it has been absorbed. Add a ladleful (about 1/2 cup) of the hot stock and a good pinch of salt, and again stir constantly until all the liquid is nearly absorbed before adding the next ladle of stock. Continue adding the stock bit by bit until the rice is about half cooked. By now the cauliflower florets should be very soft (this is important, so take the rice off the heat for a couple minutes if they're not yet there). Start adding the florets in with the stock, crushing them into the rice as you go. Continue until the rice is cooked but still retains a gentle bite and the cauliflower has all been added. This should take about 18-20 minutes in total; if you find you run out of broth before the rice is cooked, add a bit of boiling water. The finished risotto should be pourable but not soupy; all'onda in Italian.
As soon as the rice is cooked, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the rosemary, parmesan cheese and remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. Cover the pan and let it sit undisturbed for 2 minutes (not longer or it will thicken too much). Taste for seasoning, and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately in shallow bowls, topped with the crunchy pangrattato and additional parmesan.