HELLO, AND WELCOME BACK TO: JON TELLS SILLY STORIES.
This week, by popular demand (his. He kept demanding it) we have a special guest star, MAX SUPLER!
Picture stolen from Regency-era camera.
In today's adventure, Max and I grapple with the endless rift between existence and understanding, the void of logic that darkens hearts, and some party foods! Our note, like many of my misadventures, takes place on a Saturday. It was originally going to take place on a Wednesday, but...complications arose.
The sketchiest thumbs up I have ever given.
Once the hospital was convinced I was no longer dying, and indeed, had been in little real danger, merely great amounts of pain, they released me, giving me an official doctor's note excusing me from work. That I followed for 2 hours, before going to Nuthouse publicity. Because I'll be damned if mere things like Emergency room visits slow my acquisition of STAGE hours. In any case, turns out that muffling one's own screams of pain wears you out in a hurry, because I ended up taking like, 3 naps, and calling it a night early. Max said we could meet up on Saturday instead.
When he arrived, we discovered that neither of us had any idea what to make. We were adrift in a sea of confusion, rifling through cookbooks, seeking a destination, a goal. In the end, we decided to make Cheese-Filled Breadsticks, Garlic Bread, Mini Meat Loaves, and Chicken Marsala, using the ancient food groups of Meat, Butter, Cheese, and Wheat. Two of which were poison to our friend Alan, so of course we invited him. We bought what few supplies I did not already possess, and proceeded to make the Cheese-Filled Breadsticks. Which were really just a homemade dough wrapped around string cheese. Needing a cup of Bisquick, we opened my cabinet, as I knew for a fact that, when my family had visited, they had bought me some. And we had stored it in the new plastic bins they got me, along with my other dry goods!
Ah yes, it's in the WHITE container.
Reflecting, tragically late, that labeling my bins would have been wise, Max and I were faced with a conundrum. Which could it be? Yes, of course, we could discount the granulated sugar, but that still left 3 containers, one with flour, another with powdered sugar, and the last holding our needed Bisquick. By sight, they all appeared alike, but taste, lift, cohesion, all would depend on our ability to accurately discern among them. And while powdered sugar was easily eliminated by a simple taste test, can YOU say you know the difference in taste between flour and Bisquick? IT was clear: we had seized the reins of power, and learned too late the horse would not heed our commands. We were the captains of a careening ship, pretending to a power held only by the raging storm! WHAT FOLLY HAD DRIVEN US TO FLY SO CLOSE TO THE SUN, AND ONLY NOW COULD WE FEEL THE BURNING OF OUR WAXED WINGS?!?
Then I remembered it was in the little one.
Initial crisis of faith averted, I set Max on the duty of mincing Garlic for the garlic bread, while I made the breadsticks. It was a straightforward task: mix Bisquick and milk, knead into dough, roll out, cut into rectangles, wrap around string cheese, etc, etc. Our discussion revolved on the idea that the dish was something like life: one begins with an intact core of values, instincts, and unconscious needs, which are then enveloped and concealed by the acquisition of life lessons, experience, and societal mores. Without the core, the mass would be shapeless and undesirable, but from the outside, the core was unobservable, hidden. Could it said to be true, or only a hidden support for true reality?
Note how the cut dough almost forms a skull, or bullet, reminding us of the coming of death. Note how the completed one at top looks like a penis, reminding us that we are all, in some way, a dick.
Realizing far too late that a member of the English Club and a member of the Drama Club were a bad combo for any task lasting multiple hours that you DIDN'T want to be consumed by an onslaught of symbolism, we soldiered on. Eventually, I had formed 10 breadsticks, the dough formed, cut, then wrapped around each string cheese which I had pulled from its package. The seams of the dough rolled shut, the oven preheated. In that same time, Max had diced 5 cloves of garlic.
A simple man, easily confused by knives, and other advanced contraptions.
We had labored for over half an hour, and all we had to show for it was uncooked breadsticks and diced alliums. Much like we had each passed 20 years, but what could we claim was truly ours? What impact had we left that would endure, or be recognized? Had we labored, wept, laughed, and lived for nothing? Our lives a paltry dumbshow in the un-echoing vastness of Plato's cave? WERE WE BUT PASSING SHADOWS LEFT BY THE MOVEMENT OF TRUE THINGS, OUR REALITY UNREMARKABLE EXCEPT AS A FLICKERING INDICATION OF GREATER TRUTHS?
Rage is the proper response to the unfeeling emptiness of the void. Rage, and beef.
My audition piece for Robert Baratheon competed, and the tube of meat vanquished, I proceeded to make the mini- meat loaves. Now, for those unaware, mini meat loaves are made by forming a meat loaf, and then separating it into multiple tiny loaves in the pan. Or, in less elegant terms: CUBE YOUR MEATLOAF BEFORE YOU COOK IT. The fury that gripped us at learning that mini meat loaves were NOT a magical construction, filled with hidden secrets, rare herbs and tiny faerie chefs, but were instead merely pre-cut meat loaf, was as intense as it was nonsensical. It was an easy guess to make, but we had allowed ourselves to imagine it something more, something profound, and on learning it was a soulless repackaging of bland normality, it distressed us. I reflected that this is exact experience is what forms so many angry atheists. Not the repackaging of bland ideology, I meant the literal attempt to make Mini Meat Loaves. To come so far and be let down so thoroughly was indeed to suffer as Job had suffered, and we weak men cursed to the uncaring Heavens.
So, Normal Text Jon seems incapacitated, so if you want to COOK this, just mix breadcrumbs, herbs, an egg, and a pound of meat. Cut it up in a tin, and cook at 400
Thank you, Caption Jon. Though, if we're both aspects of Real Jon, why do we speak to each other like this?
YOU CAN'T JUST BREAK THE FOURTH WALL LIKE THAT! DO YOU THINK THIS IS A MOTHERFUCKING GAME?
God, sorry, didn't realize it was that important. anyway, mini-meat's cooked, the garlic bread consists of 5 cloves of Garlic, half a stick of butter, and a sprinkle of garlic and onion powder on sliced french bread. They're all squared up and set to eat.
We now return to your regularly scheduled Cooking Stuff.
The last dish is, of course, the most complicated. Chicken Marsala. How does it work? You take chicken, and beat the everloving shit out of it until it's about a quarter inch thick. Then pat it in a mix of flour, salt and pepper. Meanwhile, dice some garlic (IT'S EVERYWHERE TODAY) and parsley (at least he's new) and fry them for about 5 minutes. The garlic should brown a little. Then throw the chicken in and fry until both side are golden brown! Then, throw sliced mushrooms on it!
I mean...okay, yes, that is EXACTLY what I said, but a little common sense might help.
With the mushrooms, pour half a cup of marsala wine on it. Then, it's time to just wait. You'll turn it once or twice, but the point is to reduce the wine, and shrink the mushrooms. You can take this time to reflect on how much of your life is spent waiting for things. Supposedly, if you live to be 70, it's something close to six months you spend just waiting in lines. You spend multiple YEARS of your life lying awake at night, wondering if you made the right choices, if you should have asked her to coffee, or dinner, if you did the tasks you needed to, and if the ones you skipped will come back to bite you in the ass. Compared to the mere 28 DAYS you spend cuddling with those you love, what is life but a never-ending WAIT or WORRY, punctuated by brief flashes of human contact and love, like lightning bolts in the night, where the afterimage lingers longer than the light itself, like the memory of love lasts longer than the love that spawns it.
What he's trying to say is he's not a fan of mushrooms. I think. Look, he pretty clearly went crazy.
IN the end, the meal is, as it was meant to be: too much. Jesus, even I can't eat 3 pounds of chicken, a pound of beef, a Loaf of french bread, and that many breadsticks. The only thing that remains is to play a delightful game about sexism in Victorian England, with Max as the town hooker, and the certainty that tomorrow, you totally have to do the dishes from this.
Life is an endless cycle of self-cleansing. And grease traps.
I've been your host, Jon O'Guin, on an existential roller coaster ride. Join us next time, where I don't know what we'll do, but Jesus Christ, will it be less dark.