I’m not only a member, I’m the President

Lobstergraphic

Me and my bright ideas. Who knew an open Saturday, a few pounds of
crawfish and a hankering for company would lead me down such a solitary
path? If you remember, my significant other is still away and I’ve
grown weary of my own company. The dogs aren’t much help, they
entertain themselves. And so with my antsy self I sent out a few emails
and dialed a few numbers but oddly enough they all came back with the
same thing.


To:  Dana <xxxxxxx@gmail.com>,
Date:  Thu, Mar 27, 2008 at 8:03 PM
Subject:  Dinner, My Place?
Mailed-by:  gmail.com
Hey,
Adam is still out of town and I was thinking of making something
festive, Saturday afternoon, non-vegetarian though. Are you
free?

To:  Matt <matt.armendariz@gmail.com>,

Date:  Thu, Mar 27, 2008 at 10:16 PM

Subject:  Dinner, My Place?

Mailed-by:  gmail.com

So sorry! I’ve got plans! But lets catch up soon, k? Hugs to Adam next time you talk to him. Xoxoxoxoxoxo"

and…

To:  KevinH <xxxxxxx@gmail.com>,

Date:  Fri, Mar 28, 2008 at 2:37 PM

Subject:  What’s happenin’ hotstuff?

Mailed-by:  gmail.com

Hey mister, do you have plans this weekend? Adam is still
gone, I wanted to cook and have peeps over. I’m sick of my own company.
U Free?"

To:  Matt <matt.armendariz@gmail.com>

Date:  Fri, Mar 28, 2008 at 3:03 PM

Subject:  What’s happenin’ hotstuff?

Mailed-by:  gmail.com

Hey sistergirl! We’re visiting family this weekend, otherwise we’d so be there. So sorry! Call if you’re bored."


Well
drats. No one was available. To be perfectly honest I was discouraged
and thisssssssclose to opening the window and screaming out to
strangers on the street just like Gilda Radner in that classic SNL skit
for Harvey’s Bristol Cream. And I would have totally been happy with a
bum a la Bill Murray. Heck, I couldn’t even get that.

Suddenly
I panicked. All that food. And then panic became sadness. And then the
sadness became a funk. And the funk made me want to shuck out those
little crustaceans in a dramatic huff that would have been straight out
of a Lifetime Meredith Baxter Birney movie. But I remembered a friend
back home who loved to do things alone. She’d make big meals and save
the leftovers, she’d take herself to the cinema all alone (secret candy
stash in purse), she even went hiking and camping by herself. This
woman was going places – ALONE! That’s it! If my friend Nature Girl can
be comfortable in her own skin, with herself and no one else, why was I
complaining about a meal that I couldn’t share? It’s not like I didn’t
have friends, it’s just that they were all busy.

I mean, I do have friends, right? You guys were really busy this past weekend, right?

Matthasaparty2

Eating
alone is different than with a group. And for me eating alone is
usually something that wouldn’t be best suited for a crowd. There’s a
definitely absence of starters, main dishes, and desserts, and it’s
usually something so basic and simple it simply wouldn’t do for a
crowd. But an old-fashioned crawfish boil? Now that’s a party. You
don’t do that for yourself. It’s the same reason I wouldn’t cook a
whole turkey with sides for myself–it’s group food, pure and simple.
And when you throw those boiled crawdads (I’m from Texas, remember)
down on the table with corn and potatoes and crack open a beer or
twelve then you’re really engaging in a festive, familial act. It’d be
like making fondue for one. Wait, that sounds good. Make a note of that.

As I was seasoning my water and getting my mix of spices just right I
began to wonder if I was seriously the only one who’s had a crawfish
boil for and by themselves. And then I hit my stride. Who says certain
things can’t be enjoyed solo? I felt silly at first but realized it was
no big deal because heck, I gotta eat and it might as well be something
fun and tasty. Then I started thinking how I could probably form a
zydeco band all by myself, accordion strapped on my chest and knee
symbols clanking away.

Ingredients

For my spice mix I decided to go the homemade route with whatever I had
on hand. For large quantities of people the seafood spice mixes aren’t
bad but I wanted to give it a go doing it myself. I added coriander
seeds, whole cloves, red pepper flakes, allspice, black peppercorns,
bay leaves, cayenne, salt and celery and mustard seeds and added my
corn and potatoes. My crawfish were already purged and ready to go so I
added them to the boil a little bit later. I wanted to be sure my
potatoes were cooked throughly because I happen to think an undercooked
potato is worse than being a dork and having a crawfish boil all by
yourself.

After I made sure I completely documented my efforts through the
miracle of photography (did you notice that trick? It’s me times 2!) I sat down to a large tray adorned with butcher
paper and stacked with hot corn, steaming potatoes and a few bright
orange fellas. My fingers and chin were wet with spicy, briny liquid
and then my mind began to fill with memories of being back home in
Texas and and eating crawfish and also of every shrimp fry I ever went
to. If you thought eating alone was depressing enough try doing it with
a meal that was never meant to be created in solitude. And then I was
snapped back into reality when out of nowhere my cat Birdie appeared
and began to beg. She is naturally crazy for anything fishy, the
spicier the better.  I cracked a claw in my mouth and removed a nice
nugget of meat and gave her a taste and before long we were both
enjoying the wacky fruits of my labor.

Maybe I wasn’t alone after all.

    

Comments

  1. says

    One major consolation you can have is that in sharing the little details from your meal alone, you’ve given a lot of people real pleasure. Stunning photos, and I adore the time lapse hands pic. This post is truly a work of art. Excellent.

  2. J Wade says

    awww mijo! if i was there, i would have dropped everything and come over! i am sure birdie was more appreciative that any lame ol human would have been. my pups have shared many a batchelor meal with me as well. they love fried macaroni and cheese!

  3. Guinnevere says

    that photograph with the three hands is freaking me out… i don’t see a photoshop seam anywhere :(

    please explain before my brain explodes.

    ps i’m from texas too. pretty much. well, i live in texas anyway. it’s hotternhell today. and muggy.

  4. says

    Kudos to you on a meal well done! I give you so much credit, when I eat alone it is usually a bowl of cereal. I loved the pics they were awesome!

  5. says

    that’s funny i never noticed your third arm in your other pictures. you hide it well!

    also that crawdaddy has a really long antenna to be able to make a word out of it.

  6. tulip says

    That looks so yummy! I’m a GA girl so I know what you mean with a boil for just you. But it looks so good and I agree with Lucy V, it made us all so happy to see it!
    Hugs and enjoy your leftovers!

  7. says

    um, that looks amazing. and i’m sure you’ll have no problem finding friends to eat the leftovers.

    i also am curious about the third arm. how did you do that?

  8. says

    I am so glad you followed through and had a crawfish boil anyhow- the photos are beautiful! Although, I will tell you the hands freak me out in a “I have got to figure that out” sort of way. Time lapse?

  9. says

    I’m back from Bangkok and man do I miss the food! My belly is asking me “are we seriously back in Seoul?” I answer, “yes, but not for long!” I’m moving to Thailand in June or July of this year, but back to you! Love the photographs, three arms and all!
    Oh! and were you channeling Biggy with the title? Hmm?

    Felicia
    http://www.nearandfar.wordpress.com

  10. says

    i would have loved to join you. damn those hundreds of miles between us. i adore the photographs, most especially the one feature, not one, but two of you! actually i think i most adore how your shirt so aptly goes with the rest of the set. you have amazing props. i’d like fall over if i ever saw your dish collection. brilliant.

    sidenote: the apt is really coming along. i picked up 4 knoll chairs from a prop house sale today for nearly nothing. seriously, i feel like thief. i adore NY.

  11. says

    Meow! Count me in! Wish I could have been there! It’s so funny how there are always 2 sides to the coin-I never get a moment’s peace! But hang in there-he’ll be back soon and you’re happy family will be back in full swing! xo

  12. Philippe says

    Wow! Love, love, love, seafood. I would’ve joined you. Kudos to the great meal, even if it’s just only with yourself, and great work on the photography. Genius. =)

  13. says

    I was home…. though I don’t eat sea food, so that might have been a bust. ;)

    Glad to see you got your cook on.

  14. says

    the hands are seriously freaking me out s little.

    going to the movies alone with a secret candy stash is a very good thing.

    not inviting me over to eat this is not just a good thing. the fact that i’m a total internet stranger? not a good enough excuse.

  15. says

    I’ve been a long time reader of this blog, but have never commented before. This post may be one of my favorites. I’m not sure if it’s because dining alone is something we’ve all had to confront or because I couldn’t get the image of your one-man-band plus crawfish boil out of my head. Nothing says fun in the kitchen like cooking group food for a party of one and even considering the idea of providing your own entertainment (an accordion and knee symbols? That really is too funny.)

    So thank you for this enjoyable read. I noticed your x2 appearance immediately and got a kick out of it — and a crawfish boil? Can’t think of a better meal to enjoy, whether alone or surrounded by tons of people. Yum!

  16. kitchenbeard says

    I know the feeling. I am the first to admit I don’t have the balls to do too many things alone. Yet, I find that food photography to be very often a solitary experience and one that tends to generate food to be eaten by me after the shoot with no one else around. A tad depressing until I remember that I’m a greedy homosexual and then I feel better.

  17. says

    Okay, Sy. I’m loving this post, man. The photo–pure genius. I wish I knew how to take good pictures with my crappy little kodak, but oh well.

    I applaud you for giving solo-dining a try. I do it all the time. I may have a husband lurking around this house somewhere, but he’s a picky little man that won’t eat my good cookin’ most of the time (he’d rather have mac n’ cheese from the box–sad but true) so what I cook, I cook for me. And I love to cook nice meals for myself–why not? I deserve it.

    And I actually prefer to go to the movies alone.

  18. says

    I’m just upset that this southerner (although a stranger) would have loved to eat some crawdads. I could have brought a brood of people to keep you company and they love dogs. (my wife and 3 cute kids)

    and I have to ask the same thing Mrs. W asked, “where did you get them crawdads?”

    I went to school at Delta State University in the Mississippi Delta. Our school cafeteria, once a year, would pile up our trays with them mudpuppies and potatoes……(drooling now)

  19. says

    Eating alone is not for the faint of heart, especially a feast like this! Good on you for going through with it!

  20. says

    As I’m someone who needs gobs of alone time, I surprisingly empathize with your plight–especially since you strike me as quite the extrovert. I’m sorry your had your boil alone. But good lord, check out the claws on those things–I don’t think I’ve ever seen crawdad claws that big!

  21. says

    Matty,

    First of all, let me say how much I love that the little crawfish feeler turns into the lovely Y! I haven’t checked in on you in awhile, I’m gladd you have a blog and I can laugh @ & with you from far away. I would have joined you for dinner even though I am still a veg-head. Love ya- Jennifer

  22. says

    Matty,

    First of all, let me say how much I love that the little crawfish feeler turns into the lovely Y! I haven’t checked in on you in awhile, I’m gladd you have a blog and I can laugh @ & with you from far away. I would have joined you for dinner even though I am still a veg-head. Love ya- Jennifer

  23. says

    Matty,

    First of all, let me say how much I love that the little crawfish feeler turns into the lovely Y! I haven’t checked in on you in awhile, I’m gladd you have a blog and I can laugh @ & with you from far away. I would have joined you for dinner even though I am still a veg-head. Love ya- Jennifer

  24. says

    Oh how I’ve missed this blog! My work sched is far less hectic so I’m getting back into my reader.

    Anyhoodle, the timelapse hands photo is divine, and if you’d invited me I would have been there with bells on! And a bib, yum!

  25. says

    i dream about crawfish – in fact, i think i’ll just place my order of 10lbs to be fedex’d to me for next weekend!

    hopefully i won’t have to eat 10lbs alone.

  26. xtine says

    I’m local, love food and top off at a non-threatening height of 5’1″ (on a good day). I cook and bake, too, so call me if you’re by yourself (preferably confronted by something crustacean), and I’ll come be the VP, toting a contribution to the feast, even!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>