Chef

Chef: (n) professional cook

“Vanity, vanity, kitchen is thy name.”

You may note that I have altered the adage.

It does not matter if it’s a man or woman–if you start talking about cooking, the reaction falls into two categories:

  1. “I don’t cook, I will never cook, I will not touch a pan. Serve me.”
  2. “I’m such a good cook, people think I should start my own restaurant.”

Folks get very nasty about their ability to stir sugar in with spice to make something nice. They’re convinced they have the best recipe for any delicacy.

This is confirmed by dozens of shows on television, with chefs competing with one another for the honor of being chief cook and bottle washer.

What is it about the human race that causes us to believe that we have a passable ability to serve a meal instead of the overwrought notion that our platter of “pleasables” should be offered to wine and dine kings?

Do you really have the best barbecue sauce in the country?

Is the secret to a great turkey to deep fry it?

Are green beans better with almonds?

Does the extra thirty seconds of whipping the egg whites truly make a better meringue?

Is hot sauce the universal elixir for “delish?”

Even if we can convince all the brothers and sisters of Earth that we are alike, equal and that no one is better than anyone else, after that meeting is over, there will be someone who will insist they should cook the victory meal–because they’re a better chef.

Donate Button

Advertisements

Café

 

Ca: (n) a small restaurant selling light meals and drinks.

All of my life I have been surrounded by friends who enjoy discovering out-of-the-way, little cafes.

I won’t even mention the fact that these establishments usually last about six months before someone finds one down the street that’s
“cuter.”

I am a big person. (By big, I’m referring to the size of my body, not necessarily my soul.)

So these little places are tedious, if not arduous, for me to negotiate. The tables are tiny and the chairs provide a landing area for only one of my butt-cheeks.

Then there are the toy meals:

Croissants–which can be consumed with three bites.

A Danish–which doesn’t really taste that much better than the one I once ate at a flea-bag motel off their free Continental breakfast.

And of course, the over-emphasis on the coffee and tea.

My friends sit there, cross their legs and chat with one another, munching on the tiny provisions as if they have found a precursor to heavenly bliss.

I am uncomfortable. I am misplaced. I am a dog at a cat rodeo. I am an apolitical advocate who finds himself at a get-out-the-vote rally.

Over the years, I have learned ways to excuse myself from such awkward pretense.

So now when I hear the word “café ,” my brain just naturally translates it into “caf-nay.

Donate ButtonThank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix 

Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar: (n) dark, sweet Italian vinegar that has been matured in wooden barrels.Dictionary B

I guess it was around age 35 when I stopped trying to be enticed and instead, allowed myself to be convinced.

Up to that point, everything needed to have a sensuality, an obvious value or a pleasure related to it in order to grab my interest.

To put it bluntly, a stick had to come along a poke my lust–whether a lust for food, romance, power or even work–to get me revved up and ready to go.

Yes, I needed to be enticed.

So in that time–those “salad days”–when I ordered a salad, I always got a mix of Thousand Island and Blue Cheese dressing. Why?

  • Because I loved the taste.
  • I loved the rich, thick texture.
  • And I think, secretly, I was enthralled by the number of calories.

But then when I reached 35, I started thinking about my mortality. Death is highly unlikely when you’re a kid. But death lurks in your late thirties, and even though it’s not prominent, it is still evident.

It was at that point that I realized my choice of salad dressings was contrary to my good health. So I investigated other choices.

The one suggested to me more often than any other was balsamic vinegar. “Low in calories, good for your tummy and a promoter of excellent digestion.”

When I tasted it, I wanted to run out of the room. It was not creamy. It was not delicious. It was intrusive. Yes, that’s the word.

But since I was trying to move out of a climate of enticement, I allowed myself to be convinced that this dressing was to my betterment.

To this day, when I go to a restaurant and they don’t have lower calorie options, I will order it–not because it’s enticing, but because I finally am convinced.

 

Donate Button

Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix

*******************

NEW BOOK RELEASE BY JONATHAN RICHARD CRING

WITHIN

A meeting place for folks who know they’re human

 $3.99 plus $2.00 S&H

$3.99 plus $2.00 Shipping & Handling

$3.99 plus $2.00 Shipping & Handling

Buy Now Button

 

Avenge

Avenge: (v) to inflict harm in return for an injury or wrong done to oneself or another.

Human beings are capable of understanding the concept.dictionary with letter A

A vast majority of us mortals understand that it would be completely inappropriate and foolish, not to mention selfish, to get on an airplane and request that all the people sitting near us move so that we could lie down across the three seats.

The saner members of the children of Adam and Eve are also aware that we take our turn in line at movie theaters or the DMV.

As you can see, there is an awareness that “time and chance happens to us all.”

Yet for some reason we have a tendency to draw a line in the sand when it comes to the action of being offended, attacked or mistreated. Why we think this is not bound to happen, considering the ego of our species and the amount of interaction we are required to have with one another, is beyond me.

Yet perfectly rational people who just left a football game, where they trickled out of the stadium in single file without complaining, will get into their cars and blare their horns at a person who dares to pull into the provided space in front of them.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, we’re already halfway on the journey–why not complete it?

For of a certainty we are aware that if someone walked into a restaurant and pushed to the front of the line, insisting that they needed to be served first, the whole room would hate them.

Yet why don’t we understand that it is a “hateable” instinct–to want to hurt someone else just because they hurt us?

Not only does the philosophy of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” fail to heal our pain, but it doesn’t make us any less blind or grant us better ability to chew.

Somewhere along the line spirited people have to stop avenging–just the same way they learned to stand in line and wait their turn.

 

Donate Button

Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix

*******************

NEW BOOK RELEASE BY JONATHAN RICHARD CRING

WITHIN

A meeting place for folks who know they’re human

 $3.99 plus $2.00 S&H

$3.99 plus $2.00 Shipping  & Handling

$3.99 plus $2.00 Shipping & Handling

Buy Now Button

 

April Fool’s Day

dictionary with letter A

April Fool’s Day (n): April 1st, a day on which people play tricks on each other.

Most of the time, April Fool’s day is fun, filled with practical jokes ranging from the sublime to even the macabre.

I remember once convincing my seven-year-old son that I had to go off to war against Poland, because the people of that country had refused to send us our alloted Polish sausage, and it was a time to stand up for our rights and demands for processed meat.

But there was a time in my life when I pulled an April Fool’s prank which backfired seriously, because what I thought was obviously comically bizarre was accepted as true, and had to be played out.

It was about two years after my father had passed on. I was continually trying to cheer my mother up with various antics and projects. (About six months after my dad’s crossing over, I took my mother bowling, agsint her strong objections, only to discover when we got there that she had never been bowling before, and rather than being a joyous release of tension, it became an arduous task of painful instruction and embarrassments, ranging from trying to get bowling shoes on her feet to retrieving a ball she had rolled down the alley which only made it halfway.)

So I should have been aware that April Fool’s jokes involving one’s mother were not always destined for success.

There was a restaurant near our town called Kahiki. It was known to be very expensive and a posh center for those of affluence.

Thinking that it was obvious that I would be unable to afford such a dining experience, I jokingly told my mother I would take her to Kahiki that night for dinner. I walked out of the house giggling to myself, figuring that she would decipher that the whole thing was a joke when she realized it was April 1st.

About three o’clock that afternoon, my little brother came running to the door of my apartment, and told me that our mutual mother was in the process of putting on her best Sunday dress and was even wearing makeup and fixing her hair. She had intoned to the little fellow that she was so moved and so looking forward to “a night at the Kahiki.”

Somehow or another, arriving at her home and screaming “April Fool’s!” did not seem appropriate.

I spent the next two hours driving around town borrowing money from people who had told me they would never lend me money ever again, to secure the funds to take her to this lavish eatery.

Arriving at 6:30 that evening, a bit out of breath and pulling on my suit coat, there was my mother, sitting and waiting for me with her purse in her lap, tears in her eyes, so grateful for her son’s generosity.

I took her to the restaurant. We had a lovely evening. And I spent the next two months being bugged by my friends to get the payback for the cash.

I learned something very valuable: April Fool’s Day jokes always need to be very, very obvious.

 

Donate Button

Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix

Ambience

dictionary with letter A

Ambience: (n) the character and atmosphere of a place

I guess some vibes are normal.

For instance, at a funeral home, there is usually organ music, the sickening smell of flowers and people whispering tearful regrets.

At a rock concert, there’s screaming, with people pumping their fists, patting each other on the back and yelling lyrics at a stage which is too far away to hear.

In Washington, D.C., ladies and gentlemen dress up in their parents’ clothes and follow the rules of a Parliament they fought an eight-year war to escape.

And in church … well, sometimes it’s a somber climate with worshipful silence, and in other places, it’s tambourines, drums and modern interpretations of songs written by shepherd boys on a lute.

How important is ambience?

If I walk into a restaurant and the waiters are wearing tuxedos, the food is not necessarily going to be better–just expensive.

I think the aura or overall feeling that best exemplifies our country, though, is a beach on a Saturday afternoon at about 2:30. It is the oddest collage of beauty, beast, coolers, umbrellas, tanning lotion, tossed balls, screaming children, strutting studs and prancing babes.

It is America:  we boldly worship the sun while knowing that it’s slowly killing us with skin cancer, convinced that we have every right to occupy the available space on the sand, which is the width and length of our blanket and also, completely and arrogantly confident that we are just as good as the next bathing suit nearby.

Ambience is a tricky thing.

It’s used to telegraph propriety in a world that no longer knows what a telegraph is.

It’s a bit old-fashioned, it’s a bit presumptuous, and it certainly is often misleading.

Yet each one of us does generate an individual glow around us, which is either inviting or repelling.

And determining what that beam of self turns out to be … will decide our happiness.

Agog

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter AAgog: (adj) very eager or curious to hear or see something: e.g. the tourists were all agog to see New York

I told her she did good work.

She replied flatly, “It’s just my job.”

She was my waitress at the restaurant, and she had done exceptional service to us, worthy of praise and a good tip. She just didn’t realize how valuable and rare she was.

As I finish Tour 2013 across this country, may I share with you a recurring reality? Something has died.

The carcass doesn’t stink enough yet for people to be aware, but it won’t be long. We have gone from being a nation which at least occasionally would be “agog” about our lives to being bored individuals who look at everything as “agig.”

We have lost the spontaneity, the humor, the adventure of solving problems and just the sheer joy of surviving a little bit of hassle in order to manufacture a victory which we can proudly initial.

I’m not exactly sure what we want.

  • Movies are bigger and more expensive than ever, but don’t have legs. People just don’t talk about them.
  • Music is over-produced, over-discussed and overwrought, yet does not create the simple stirring caused by a single Dylan guitar.
  • Government is more prevalent, but certainly less proficient..
  • Churches have become transfixed with the notion of “mega,” while simultaneously settling for a “mini” cultural influence.

We saw it coming. For after all, about fifteen or twenty years ago we decided to stop being impressed with anything. We called it “sophisticated.” “Laid-back.” We referred to it as “maturity.” We thought we were extraordinarily cool when we said, “I’ve seen that before.”

So on my part, I have made a conscious effort to avoid looking at anything as “agig,” but instead looking at it as “agog.”

Staying in motel rooms, I have learned to cook with only a microwave oven, making elaborate casseroles and meals. I am impressed with both the results and myself.

I am agog that people are still willing to come out from their homes and experience something new–something they’re not even sure they understand or will appreciate.

If we’re going to arrive at the full fruits of freedom, we must never cease to be in awe of the idea. For the only true way to ever lose your independence is to take it for granted.

And the only way you will ever be devoid of joy … is to stop looking for happy.