A History of My Past Few Relationships, Presented in Recipe Form
N.B.: In addition to the recipe part, this is all written in the second-person for some reason. Sorry.
Hot Sauce Sandwiches:
Grad school. People are supposed to be poor during grad school — especially if they’re majoring in something stupid, like, say, creative writing — but somehow, you have taken it all too far. Originally, grilled cheese sandwiches were a food option. But then, the price of Kraft Cheese Singles seemed to magically rise out of reach. So you move down the food chain, and start eating “American Slice!” brand cheese product.
Sadly, “American Slice!” isn’t even officially listed as a “cheese product” or even as “cheese food,” perhaps because it contains 1% cheese, or maybe they just let the finished product sit next to a pile of cheese, in the hopes that it will absorb some of the faint aroma of cheese, in the way that stuff in your refrigerator does, when you haven’t placed that box of baking soda in your refrigerator.
“American Slice!” costs only $1.37, though — for a pack of sixteen slices — and is a product that you will only ever see during this time in your life, and which is only ever found in the ghetto supermarket near your very expensive grad school. The problem is, according to the ingredients list on the back of the package, is that it’s mostly made of soy. So when you attempt to heat “American Slice!” to make a grilled cheese sandwich it… inflates. Somehow hot air gets between the two layers of soy and the whole thing inflates, so that it looks like a pillow. A sad pillow made of plastic-y soy. This is never what you want from a grilled cheese sandwich.
It’s time to recalibrate. So you move on, and even “American Slice!” seems a little expensive at this point; stupid grad school. So you begin making “Hot Sauce Sandwiches.” To do this, you toast bread, scrape a little butter onto the bread, and then shake hot sauce onto the bread. And that’s a sandwich, based on the principle that pretty much anything can be a sandwich.
One day, while you are “making” your “sandwich,” your friend Dan enters the apartment. “Dude, what the hell are you doing?” he says.
“Um,” you say.
“I can’t believe you live like this. I can’t believe you actually live like this.”
“Right,” you say.
Dan is so annoyed by the sight of your pathetic sandwich that he won’t stay. Then, he tells his friend Roger. Who tells your girlfriend April. April calls you on the phone.
“You eat bread with hot sauce on it every day?”
“Um…” you say.
There really is no good explanation for any of this.
Hot Sauce Sandwich – Ingredients:
Whole wheat bread, because that is healthier.
A very small amount of butter.
Some hot sauce, preferably “Texas Pete” brand hot sauce.
Hot Dog Pizza:
Oh sweet! Now you’re dating a much hotter girl named Carrie. Which is cool. And she’s so-oooo trendy. Like, she’s vegan. And she rides a moped, which is secretly cooler than a scooter, because everyone has a scooter, but what girl actually owns a moped? This is all to the good. Except for the fact that you don’t have anything in common. What you have in common is this: she’s really hot. This has a way of smoothing over all difficulties, at least in the short-term.
You invite her over to your place, but in your typically passive-aggressive way, you have not prepared for any of her vegan needs. Instead, you start making a dish that you have named “Hot Dog Pizza.” If you scanned your own thoughts during this time and were honest with yourself, you would admit that you are doing this specifically to piss her off. Instead, you can’t admit this to either party, so you run around the kitchen, while listening to comments like this:
“Unngh, you only own one plate and one knife?”
“You’re slicing up hot dogs and putting them on pizza?”
“You know what’s actually in hot dogs, right?”
“Like, pigs’ assholes and such. That’s what’s actually in them.”
“Bar-b-que sauce? What the fuck?”
And so on. And she does have a point. And you are poor — only one plate and one knife. But that’s artsy, right? …Or, not artsy? Did Van Gogh own a lot of plates and knifes? No; he didn’t. But maybe you’re no Van Gogh. Maybe you’re just a failure. This entire conversation is opening up a window to an entire world that you’d just rather not visit.
Hot Dog Pizza — Ingredients:
One “Mama Celeste” brand pizza
Some cheap hot dogs; slice one up and put it on the pizza as a topping
Bar-b-que sauce (optional) — you can sprinkle this on the pizza if you want; it’s already in your refrigerator, so why not?
Alternate recipe that also starts a fight:
Hot Dog Soup:
Campbell’s Tomato Soup
Slice up some hot dogs and throw them in the soup
Listen to comment from girlfriend: “Seriously what the fuck is wrong with you?”
Brownish Goo-ish Gray-ish Mass:
Now the hot girl has broken up with you! Not so good. Depression might be the result, as depression is typically the result of this sort of thing, in many cultures, around the world. But now you are too sad to leave the apartment. Man, she was hot. But now, if you can’t leave your place, you must scavenge, like a modern day-nomad; except the source of your hunting-and-gathering is whatever was left in your apartment at the time of the breakup. Which turns out to be “Cream of Wheat” — a childhood-era food that you have always found to be comforting.
But after several days of Cream of Wheat, you begin to long for some variety. “Cream of Wheat” is bland, unless you add sugar, in which case, it’s slightly sweet, but bland. You start to crave some spiciness and flavor. And hey! There’s still some bar-b-que sauce in the fridge. Interesting. ….But still, you should really not cook up a big vat of Cream of Wheat and add bar-b-que sauce. Really, you should not do this. Random activities like this are guaranteed to make you feel worse, not better. Still, you do it anyway. The result is very, very brown-ish. Not even brown, but brown-ish. Like when you were a kid in Art Class and you mixed all the water-color paint colors together. That kind of depressing level of brown/gray.
Brown yuck gross thing — Ingredients:
Cream of Wheat (cook according to instructions on box)
Don’t do this; you’ll feel much worse, honestly.
Rebound relationship! You have now magically acquired the talent of seducing girls who are way above your personal hotness level. But every new gift contains a curse — like the way Superman’s powers contain an unexpected weakness to Kryptonite. In this case, whatever hot girl it is will be sick of you within three months.
Aw, but Rachel! She’s cute. And it’s time to cook for her. And you remember one thing from your adolescence. Your dad, who didn’t really speak that much, taught you how to make one dish in order to impress girls: Italian “Hunter’s Chicken,” or “Chicken Cacciatore.” It’s the only thing that you can remember being taught by your dad/ having your dad tell you, apart from these three lessons:
1) Don’t ever get anyone pregnant.
2) Don’t ever take LSD.
3) Don’t ever put on a crew-neck sweater while you have a lit cigarette in your mouth.
All of which are good pieces of advice! And at least your dad wasn’t overbearing, and let you find your own way. Still, “Hunter’s Chicken”; that was the one other thing that you were taught. You remember it, right? You can do this.
“Hi!” you say to Rachel. Oh, she’s so cute and blond and apple-cheeked, with that nice wholesome-to-slutty ratio.
“It’ll just be a second!’ you say.
No, it won’t. You know the recipe involves chopped up chicken, white wine, garlic, and olive oil. But what do you do with these things? When does the wine come into play? Is the garlic chopped or diced or what? You call up your dad. All parenting has failed you. This is not literally true, but this is the sort of panicked thoughts that you have in these sorts of circumstances, which is why you’re a spazz, which probably helps these girls dump you.
“Hi!” you say to your dad. But now, you suddenly remember this — your dad has cancer. And now you’re bothering him about a recipe. And you were so freaked out that you forgot for three minutes that he was dying of cancer, which is the lame sort of thing that you do. And then you and your dad get in a fight. The fight is all your fault. You hang up the phone.
Rachel’s still there. But you still don’t know what to do with the garlic. Should you just take her out to eat? You stare at the telephone. …It’s just a telephone. People use them all the time, every day, in all sorts of circumstances. They use them to talk to their family members, even. …Still, you stare at the phone. Sadness comes pouring in through it.
Hunter’s Chicken — Ingredients:
I have no idea; maybe you should just make it up for yourself.
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