Painting With Shotguns XVII: The Day After Christmas Edition

The day after Christmas is equal parts afterglow and hangover. It mysteriously pairs giddy glee and wistful sadness together, and those two things are locked in a cage and made to fight. On the one hand — hey! Christmas! Food! Gifts! Family! Annual ritual! On the other hand — did I drink too much blackberry brandy? Did I eat too much? Is that why my body feels like a pillow stuffed with old, dying possums, wriggling not for dominance but only a comfortable position in which to die? Is it over? Is Christmas over? Is it gone again for another 365?

Giggle! Sob! Swoon! Vomit.

Perfect, perhaps, that it is a rainy day outside. Rain that steals the snow.

Anyway, let’s get on with the ch-chak.

Christmas, Again

I fail to be in the Christmas mood until… ohh, Christmas Eve. Then it hits me. Then it’s like being buckled into a ride — you can’t get off, and the fun’s about to begin, and you didn’t even realize it. Christmas Eve this year was something of a new tradition: went out to dinner with my Mom, and that, as it turns out, was a high-five choice. Great dinner. She wasn’t stressed from cooking. We hit the Christmas lights at Peddler’s Village this year, which was actually quite nice — it’s funny, I grew up like five minutes from there, and I don’t know when the last time was that I actually wandered around and just took in all the crazy lights. It’s quite a production. Gotta love it. The cold did not dissuade our journey into the twinkling forest.

Michelle and I generally do our gifts that night. Preparation, perhaps, for when the day comes that a Tiny Human will require the “Christmas morning slot” in all its glee and paper-tearing madness. The wife and I both walked away satisfied. I ended up with a truly magnificent pen (yes, pictures forthcoming): it has a typewriter key (“W”) atop it, but perhaps better still is how the pen is weighted in the hand. It is all the excuse I need to handwrite some things — and perhaps even hone my deeply fucked handwriting. (It’s less legible than when a drunk hobo tries to pee the Declaration of Independence in the snow.) She walked away with various martini accoutrements (she is now the fan of the so-called “dirty martini,” which up until recently I figured was a sexual move involving some mascarpone cheese and a mud-shellacked goat), including olive brine and new martini glasses.

Christmas itself was equally great. The In-Laws know how to rock the holly and jolly. To sum it up: OMG BOOZE EGG NOG HAM LASAGNA CHEESECAKE BUTTER CAKE BUTTER CAKE BUTTER CAKE. Have you ever had butter cake? No, I’m not talking about the traditional “yellow cake made with butter,” because that’s bullshit cake. I’m talking about a thin layer of cake, ladled with a oozing eruption of… fuck, I dunno what it is. Butter, cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, something. It’s ooey. It’s gooey. The cake sags in the middle like a half-deflated kiddie pool due to the heavy goop aggregating there. It is the bee’s pajamas. It is the cat’s knees.

Oh, and the In-Laws gave me something interesting…

An Old Cookbook

It is, in fact, “Bucks Cooks: The Artists’ County” — subtitled, “A Gourmet’s Guide to Estimable Comestibles with Pictures.”

It’s a book from the 1950s that puts together a crap-ton of recipes from the residents of our county.

Quite a few interesting things about it.

First, it has an alarmingly diverse menu. You get the expected European and Amish recipes, but you also get a recipe for… Sukiyaki? The book actually contains a handful of Asian recipes, which surprises me. Maybe it shouldn’t, but I think 1950s, and I think crisp conservative sweaters and food like… y’know, ham. Then again, Bucks County has always been an odd mix of farmers and artists, so you’re bound to get some interesting choices. (Shame this doesn’t translate well into the county’s current restaurant options, which are overall pedestrian.)

Second, the recipes are all very spare. Rarely more than nine or ten ingredients (most have less). The actual recipe process is often a very short paragraph, and assumes a degree of cooking knowledge. “Do this, then that, serve.”

Third, many recipes have fucking awesome names. The “Fainting Priest,” perhaps? Or a slice of “Pretense Pie” alongside “My Children’s Favorite Meatloaf?”  Preceded by “Know-Nothing Breakfast Cake?” After, you might try “Whipped Syllabubs?” Or the “Queen of Puddings?”

Fourth, lots of interesting game choices. Squirrel Pie? Sweetbreads? Pheasant? Terrapin?

Here’s what I’m gonna do. I’m going to all Julia & Julia on this shit. I’m going to attempt to make every recipe in this book. And this is a book with hundreds of recipes. Dumb, I know. And I’ll fail, probably. But it’ll be a fun attempt. I’ll take my time — maybe once recipe a month or something like that. I’ll report back here.

The first one I’ll make is probably Marshmallow Mousse. This sounds so delicious and is so stupid, I want it now — it involves nothing more than melting marshmallows with hot coffee, mixing with cream, and chilling in the freezer in individual glasses. Whuh-whut? That sounds tasty. And easy.

Worky Jerky

In case you thought my days with White Wolf Game Studios were done, they are most certainly not. Eddy threw me a Very Special Assignment, one that will rock your faces in a handful of months. And oh, it’ll rock. It’ll rock the bodily fluids out of all your orifices. All of your grotesque humours will spray forth. Yellow bile, black blood, sanguine pee-pee, purple horseshoes, and whatever other Lucky Charms are floating around in your bowels and brain. This assignment is going to kick a hole in your face. And soul.

Anyway. More on that when I can say more on that.

Year-Ender

We’re coming up on the year’s end.

I hate to do an overlong series of posts on “The Bestest Shiznit Of The Year,” but I think next week I’ll do one big comprehensive post — and it won’t be the Bestest Shiznit, it’ll just be my Most Favoritest Shiznit, because all these “Best Of” lists are nonsense, given that they’re purely subjective.

But I’ll paint broadly: books, movies, games, greeting cards, pornographic websites, whatever.

ZZZZzzzz — Snort Huh? Wuh? Plugs!

Mmm? Huh? Wha?

Real quick, some plug biznatch.

Fred Hicks tells you how to make popovers.

Julie talks about cheese.

Doyce extracts signal-from-noise, and further recommends the Most Awesomest Thing On The Internet This Week: some crazy-ass 70-minute review of The Phantom Menace.

Josh puts up a hot picture of Carla Gugino — I mean, okay, he says smart stuff, but c’mon, CARLA GUGINO.

And that’s all. I’m out. Merry Chr — oh, wait, that shit’s done with. Happy Almost New Year.

7 comments

  • Happy Holidays, Chuck! And I kinda want some butter cake, holy Jeebus. You had me at sagging like Grandpa’s “potty pants” after a shit-ton (literally?) of turkey and coffee with bran cake. (Hmm. Maybe I don’t want some of that butter cake…) That’s a lie, I think we both know it.

    Best to you and yours!
    ~L

    • Back Atcha, Stoney!

      Butter cake is God’s own thigh drippings.

      Or something like that.

      See, the thing is, butter cake *here* is different from butter cake elsewhere —

      The best picture I can find is this:

      http://www.rondak.org/travel/pennsy/buttercake.jpg

      And I am completely behind the “sagging like Grampa’s potty pants.”

      You and my wife should get together, by the way, and out-horrify each other with profanity and foulness.

      — c.

  • Chuck, you absolutely must get a camera set up and record yourself making all those meals. Edit them down to like 3-5 minute bits, and release one a week. That would simply rock. Work it like a modern cooking show, done all ’50s. Dall it “Wendig with Cooking” or something.

    Very much so looking forward to having to scrape my recently rocked face off the wall when you can drop what you’re up to.

    Thanks again for the blog, Magic Talking Beardhead. One of my absolute internet stops everyday.

    • Oh, lawds, yes! Photos, most certainly.

      Some will be more interesting than others, I think (pudding versus, say, squirrel pie), but so it goes.

      :)

      — c.

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