Thursday, April 2, 2015

How to Roast a 'Beast': A Primer

We are waiting for you to say Grace.

An oral history dictated through the kitchen door by my mother, who hopes one day to fatten a son-in-law for slaughter out of love.

1. 'rip' oven to 400 celsius.

2. make excessive noise retreiving pans from place pans are kept.

3. pour olive oil in roast pan, a tiny bit, skitter with index finger.

4. pre-heat oiled roasting pan in oven which is 'beginning to rip'. After 5 minutes it will begin to smoke, this is good, take the smoking pan out of oven.

5. compliment the quality of the beast, say "this is a lovely piece of beast" a few times, muttered under the breath as one would pray sacred incantations to the cooking gods.

6. place beast on plate and drench with a dry rub of garlic powder, salt and freshly ground pepper. Discuss whether the term "dry rub" is appropriate. This line of inquiry inspires one to literally "rub" the seasoning into the beast. Go with your gut.

7. sear beast in hot roasting pan on all sides. Requires arm strength and something that looks like a tuning fork. Place beast in pan and put in oven. Reduce temp to 300 celsius.

8. Cook two hours.

9. Advise that those are all the steps needed.

"Nope, we are not done, stupid"

10. argue about whether there is any wine to make the gravy, assign blame as to who exactly was supposed to pick it up and when. Use a combo of HP anWorcestershire sauce mixed with the "good off the meat" instead.

11. parboil the potatoes and slide them beside the beast in the pan. Tuck the squash with butter and brown sugar in a separate pyrex dish at the back of the oven.

12. save the potato water but don't tell anyone why. Be mysterious.

I lost track of where we left off. The meat was divine, pink and soft in the middle and well roasted at the edges. The homemade Yorkshire pudding (a type of egg bread but the size and shape of cupcakes) rose like angels in the oven and were light and fluffy and delicious. The potatoes were perfectly roasted and the gravy was excellent.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Speed Dating: A Review of a Dashing Date, Toronto @ Trevor Restaurant March 26 2015

Actual footage of a dashing date. Wind machines included.

It was only a matter of time, Dear Reader, before I would eventually try this method of dating. Since, as you know if you follow this blog, I have dated close to *mumbles large number* met online, I have a keen interest in the sport. A few years ago my singular first hand observation of it was by pure happenstance, when I mistakenly stumbled into the private back room of a lounge where a sleek collection of bespectacled Asians were gently talking at candlelit tables and furiously writing in little cards. It looked cool but you could feel the pent up anticipation in the room.

At some point in the past I must have signed up for Dashing Date (DD), or perhaps its predecessor Meet Up Toronto, or maybe I didn't and they are stalking me. Who knows? Suddenly two weeks ago, my work inbox received an email indicating that DD was looking for women in my age bracket (which is hilarious because my current age is awkward and actually falls between standard brackets). Obviously this email had been tailored just for me!

The overall marketing was very good. They had a theme, tied to the weather, which gave you some indication of what to wear and which I always find very helpful. Think: skirts! I decided to pony up the $50 bucks (yes, $50, plus tax and an processing fee) for the opportunity to speed date and the promise of ONE drink (more on this in a minute). The day of, they sent another themed email reminding you of the event with tips and tricks on how to be a good date. I liked a lot of what they wrote. What I didn't like, and what I continue to not like, is the requirement to provide a picture to be "accepted" into their stupid little event. They say that attaching a picture to your work resume is mandatory in South Korea and Linked-In is a digital version of this very thing. I don't think a vision-based dating system should be encouraged and it sets the wrong tone. As you may remember, Dear Reader, I believe that smart is overrated and beauty is a curse. So I provided a black and white picture, wrote a few words about myself "mature, spiritual, sophisticated" and waited to get an acceptance email. I don't need validation from superficial strangers and if you are looking for a way to quickly piss me off, bitch, you found it.

I guess their standards are low cuz I was in!

I dashed (lol) from my hot yoga class after a refreshing shower and gossip session in the ladies locker room to the venue at Trevor, and down the stairs into the bar / lounge. I passed my drink ticket to the bartender and received enough "white wine" to fit in a large shot glass. It was horrible tasting and embarrassing to carry around. When I bought my own, they gave me twice the amount of horrifying swill they called "white wine" and charged more that 12 DOLLARS. (Reader's Note: Usually wine has a name, like the grapes used to make it, or the name on the label). I used to live in Switzerland and it tasted the same as the new wine they harvest in the fall that is so unpalatable they almost give it away for free to impoverished students.

Note to self: bring a flask to speed dating.

The event started late and the host apologized and said "We will start soon, I've just called two more girls..." Remember this language, Dear Reader, because I think it will prove important later. Anyway, the woman I was seated next to was a self-proclaimed "matchmaker" with amazing energy who may have been doing some reconnaissance for her own profession... literally,  a spy in the house of love.

Speed dating works like thisThe women sat at individual tables and the men sat across. Five or so minutes of conversation and then the host appeared holding a small gong. When the gong was ... gonged? ... it was time for the men to switch seats. It was like swiping left in real time. Speed dating is exhausting and it was UNBELIEVABLY LOUD. Coupled with the fact that some men had thick accents, it was a sincere effort in every way. Each person was given a little card which they filled in with their personal info and then were supposed to list the people we met with three further options beside each name:

Let's Date! - interested

Let's have coffee. - you have been friend-zoned

No way! - not interested.

Now, take a moment to do the math. If you want to increase your odds of making a connection, you should check "Let’s Date!" on every name so that you will be saying yes to those who say yes to you. Being shy or coy doesn't work in this statistical environment and that is a good thing. Your only real decision is if you run up on someone you really do not want to see again and then you check "No Way".

Most of the men I met were lovely; in that they were gainfully employed, highly intelligent and average-looking. They were the men you see walking down the street in the banking district, with a diverse mix of ethnicities. When meeting strangers it is always important to dress to your particular strengths and to be in a good mood with an openness to move with the flow of the conversation. I had to laugh at the young man who responded, when I asked what he liked to do for fun, "Fun? What is fun? That is not a question you would ask people in a normal environment!" He also told me he was an atheist and he didn’t like dogs because they were too much trouble. So, he's still single, ladies.

Overall, I enjoyed my experience and I would do it again. However, it is my sincere belief that some of the people - especially two of the women, and one of the men - were ringers. I think that they were exceptionally beautiful people employed by Dashing Date and "salted" in among the regular folk to increase the visual effect of the room. They were the people the host was taking pictures of, they were the ones speaking among themselves and generally not behaving in a nervous manner. They were taller, thinner, bigger-breasted and better dressed than anyone in the room by a long shot. If I had to guess, they were likely models. I think they were on hand to fill in the spaces when others did not show up. I think that is why the host said, "I've just called two more girls and they are coming right now". When they event was over, they were first in line to get their coats and they stopped and waited for each other outside the venue. In short, they were walking and talking (about where they lived) as colleagues do after a work shift, not the nervous banter of singles looking to create a match.

When I came to this realization I felt a little "had". But then I thought to myself how lonely and jaded these people must be making conversation with people they have no intention of ever seeing again. I was very grateful that I was in the game honestly.

My results came back and I was a mutual match with one man. He has already emailed me for drinks or dinner. So, I paid $50 to do what I can do myself for free on POF. However, very few females are as forthcoming as me online, or follow The Rules, so that added element of introduction and fun no-pressure meeting is a handy and worthwhile use of your time.

The man I was matched with lived and worked upwards of 30 kms from the location where we met. It's logical to assume that if he made the trek once, he could make it again, but not so... I was open to returning to the scene of the crime, but he wanted a complicated arrangement where I waited 3.5 hours for him to come halfway to my location or out to him, which - as you know Dear Reader- is hilarious. Needless to say, when I politely brought this to his attention, he did not want to meet anymore.