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Meanwhile, he lets his pants do whatever they want

TheHusband: You, Green 23. Be prepared for battle. And you? The grey one with the 45 insert on it? I want you with him. I'll be calling one of you up for duty tomorrow, and you'd better be on the ball. Airport Terminal, I'm resting you. I have another one of you and you've seen too much action.

Me: I am so going to tell the world that you were shouting army commands at your t-shirts to dry faster.


The Very Best of Hot Chocolate

Food writing seems to be having a renaissance, or perhaps I had just never paid much attention until last year. In any case, I'm paying attention now, and this weekend brought new food writing treats, helping to counterbalance the decidedly unappetizing experience of reading McCarthy's The Road. In contemporary food writing, Michael Pollan had a new essay in this weekend's New York Times Magazine. On Friday night, I explored the more vintage side of food writing and went book shopping, where I picked up a book of letters by M.F.K. Fisher, as well as a copy of Choice Cuts by Mark Kurlansky (author of Salt and Cod). The latter is an assembly of food writing from across time, from Herodotus to M.F.K. Fisher and beyond.

Two pieces on hot chocolate in Kurlansky's anthology - one by Alice B. Toklas and another by James Beard - tapped a nerve. Hot chocolate is one of my favorite treats. I hope for snow simply so that I have a good excuse to break out the cocoa powder and heat some milk. According to Mr. Beard, I make it all wrong (hot chocolate apparently has nothing to do with powder) but it tastes oh so right. Hot chocolate is a deep psychological stimulus. I have five separate definitons in my mind for hot chocolate, as follows:

Hot chocolate.

1. Breakfast beverage on the farm. When made by my grandmother, called "hot cocoa." Served in a steaming mug by my grandmother with a soft smile. Side of bacon and eggs in a farmhouse kitchen. Secret ingredient: non-dairy creamer.

2. Liquid pumped from a machine at the ice rink. Through the smell of icy sweat and cold damp feet, we wobble on blades, ankles bent awkwardly inward, to the vending machines, drop in our 25 cents, and receive a piping hot paper cup of chocolate flavored water.

3. Cause of earliest memory of burnt tongue. I was six and we were on our way to church. We stopped at a fast food restaurant for a quick breakfast. Little miss sweet tooth orders hot chocolate with her hot cakes, decides she wants to drink it through a coffee stirrer, and suffers through an hour of church with a horribly burnt tongue.

4. A treat offered upon our return with the toboggan. Must be consumed after snowsuit and boots have been removed else puddles of water form in the kitchen and cause accidents while consuming. Made from Nestle Quik. Served in a steaming mug by my mother with a soft smile. See also: hot cocoa, variations of.

5. City comfort. Scharffen Berger powdered chocolate. Sugar. Water to make paste. Heat milk (whole or 2%), add chocolate paste. Watch snow fall onto the New York City streets, to be churned into mush minutes later by passing traffic.

This week I might take a cue from Alice B. and James and try it with proper chocolate for once, and perhaps in the process I'll create a new definition:
6. The proper stuff. Useful for impressing dinner guests. To be consumed proudly and in large French bowls. Allows one to be safe in the knowledge that Julia, Alice B., Mary Frances Kennedy, and James would all approve.
(This just in via my foodie co-worker, who once had a bad experience with bay leaves in hot chocolate: NY Magazine picks New York's top hot chocolates.)


We'll both have pipes

Today, Maud links to a video from the spectacular Mighty Boosh.

I first heard of The Boosh about eight years ago while living in London, where I had two friends who decided that comedians were the new rock stars. They dragged a group of us to the Hen and Chickens Theatre in Highbury to see The Boosh perform "Arctic Boosh." We shuffled upstairs, cradling half-drunk half-pints in one hand as we entered the mock arctic chill of the Boosh's set. We spent the next hour or so watching two boys dressed as postmen bounce across the stage talking of yetis and haunted mailer bags. I was surprised to recognize Noel Fielding as one of the Boosh; The Husband and I had once glimpsed him on late night television talking about unicorns. Or oven mitts. Or paste. Can't remember; it was late night. But it was weird. And lovable. The Mighty Boosh are all about weird and lovable, and Maud has discovered a great literary-themed episode.

Go take a gander; the least it will do is put one of those grins on your face that makes you look like you're smiling sideways. A Boosh smile.


Sunday Zen


Where I will spend all my money on little plastic bottles and more grey clothes

MUJI to open two stores in New York. (via kottke)

That squeal you just heard up there in Canada? My complete and utter no-brand-worshiping joy.