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

by Matt on March 30, 2008

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.