Thursday, March 27, 2014

Xan: Roast Chicken with Spaghetti Squash. It's magically delicious!

Wouldn't it be amazing if we lived in a world where you could cut a squash in half and find this:

Unfortunately, plants haven't quite mastered pseudo-meat yet.  Even when they're trying to be eaten, at best they are sweet, not meat.  Or maybe nature is just messing with us.  Maybe the carrion flower is nature's way of saying, "Well...we can make meat grow on trees...but instead we're just going to torture you."

Well if nature won't lend a hand, we'll just have to do it ourselves.

Or not.  It really depends who you are.

Like Maru box cat, Catherine loves the white meat.  And like Maru, she doesn't have to lift a paw to get it.  From her perspective, this world is observationally equivalent to one in which you could cut open a squash and magically find chicken.

What magic is this?

Actually, that's not quite true.  Catherine doesn't even have to cut the squash. In fact, I would go so far as to say that she can't cut the squash.  For this mighty task requires a mighty tool.  Behold, Mewlnir the Mouse Hammer!

Take heed, for I am called many things.  The Bane of Bones.  The Crusher of Cutting Boards. The Squasher of Squashes. The cabinets will quake when I am unsheathed. Lo, my gleam will slice through the air and you will know that I am come.  You will know me then by my One True Name.  Fear me!  I am Mewlnir the Mouse Hammer,  the Destroyer of All Things.

With a name such as Mewlnir, you will surely want a backstory, and here at Vongsafood we sure do love our utterly foodless and completely superfluous Vongsatangents!

A Tale of Two Tangents.  
It was the best of tangents, it was the worst of tangents.  Depending who you ask, it was either a really good or a really bad idea for Kathleen to get a cat.  Is there a Schroedinger joke in there somewhere, or not?  Two things are known: first, that Dad would prefer the cat dead and nameless, and second, that Kathleen would prefer the cat alive and, well, named, but not necessarily well-named.  

When Kathleen got a cat, she solicited name suggestions.  Dad's only comment was:
It doesn't deserve to be named, but in order to avoid the whole Love
Symbol: "Cat formerly known as It" awkwordity, I will refer to it as
I, on the other hand, offered literally dozens of excellent suggestions for cat names.  From the Periodic Table alone, I generated so many good ones: Fluoraline. Chloraline. Mrs. Iodine! Mrs. Dr. Iodine! Beryllia. Zinc.

Yet somehow she rejected those.  So I looked to my pantry and Greek mythology.  Parslephone!  Shallothalia!  Thymelpomene! Paprikat!  All rejected.  It seems that Kathleen has no taste, although in retrospect I clearly should have suggested something spicy.  Death Stalker? Ghost in the Darkness?

Next I tried dinosaurs (because...dinosaurs!), but to no avail.  Deinonycat, Pterodacatyl, Quetzalcatlus, and more, all extinct before they even had a proper chance.

What about candy?  Everyone likes candy!  I know Kathleen likes candy.  Kitkat?  Snickers? Mrs. Goodpurr?? Jaffa Cat?!?

Alas, no dice.  It was time to weaponize.  Cats are always trying to stick people with their claws, so...Felis Cactus!  Come on, that's great!  Or might she prefer a karate cat?  I know Kathleen likes Harry Potter, so what about Mrs. Chuck Norris?  Such a cat would even come equipped with Mrs. Chuck Norris facts.  Mrs. Chuck Norris is the reason Waldo is hiding.  When the Boogeyman goes to sleep every night, he checks his closet for Mrs. Chuck Norris.  There is no Theory of Evolution; just a list of animals Mrs. Chuck Norris allows to live.

No?  Why ever not?!?

And so we come to my last, best, and most desperate suggestion.  A name never to be used lightly.  A name so powerful that time seems to slow whenever it is uttered.  I am referring, of course, to Mewlnir the Mouse Hammer.  The power! The glory!  Can you hear it?  Can you hear the sound of all the world's mice collectively squeaking in terror?

And so, naturally, she named her cat Grace.  

I think we can agree that "Grace" is what you name your cat if you want it to throw little mouse tea parties and ice cream socials.

Anyway, how Kathleen rejected this frankly awesome cat name, I will never know.  What I do know is that after she did, I was free to claim it for my meat cleaver.  And I don't know how "Grace" is working out for her, but I can tell you that Mewlnir is doing a fine job in my kitchen.

Though my kitchen is a black box from which delicious dinners magically emerge, it is nevertheless full of Catherine's Mickey Mouse plates and Mickey Mouse hot pads and Mickey Mouse pizza cutters.  

So. Many. Mickeys.

But in this sea of Mickeys, one tool rises above the rest.  When the Mouse Hammer comes out to play, the pantry rattles with the fear of all things.  The mice go into hiding, and sanity is restored, if only for a time.

A mighty tool requires a mighty wielder, and only I am mighty enough to wield Mewlnir.  Which is why, as I said 2 hours ago, Catherine cannot cut squash.

[A cleaver is excellent for cutting big things like squash, because it can be halfway through and the top of the cleaver is still sticking well out of the squash.  That means you can whack it right on top, right in the center, and keep driving it through.  A thinner knife gets a couple inches into the squash and then what do you do?  Apply force from the handle?  Good luck.  Maybe put another hand on tip of the knife, sticking out the other side of the squash?  Have fun with that.  By the way, your knife is now stuck in a giant, dense squash.  Furthermore, the deeper you are able to cut, the more stuck it will be, when you eventually have to give up and try a different angle.  Whatever you do, it will not be safe.  Anyway, I'm sure even you, a devoted tiny-print-reader, are tired of hearing about Mewlnir.  Which is a shame, because Mewlnir is awesome.  Mewlnir Mewlnir Mewlnir.]

Nevertheless, though Catherine cannot cut squash, she can still eat this:

Technically this one is mine, as our contract specifies that Catherine gets all the white meat.
Because, as we have established, magic.  It's just chicken, spaghetti squash, carrots, and sweet potatoes.  The chicken has paprika, chili powder, brown sugar, salt, and pepper, and everything else has...chicken. I mean, pan drippings.  Yep, that's about it.  Nothing fancy, but magically delicious!  You can't really go wrong here, which is a lie, but I like the way it sounds.

Using sophisticated econometric methods, I estimate that our relationship is at least 80% magic, of which only about 10% falls in the kitchen.  It's fortunate there is so much magic to go around, because there are Mickeys in all the other rooms as well. Aaaaaaaaaah!

Goodnight everyone!  And see you at the wedding!  I'm going to bed now, which is a lie, but I like the way it sounds...

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