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I love standing by a stove and performing alchemy. Onions transforming from whatever the fuck raw onions are to the absolutely divine substance they transform into with heat and oil.
Isaac Newton didn’t need to transform lead into gold to master alchemy, he just needed to get into the damn kitchen. And yet, many people, too many people, look at what is left over from their meals and transfer it immediately to the bins. These are the kinds of people who need education. And maybe electroshock therapy. Don’t be the kind of person who needs electroshock therapy.
Something I find with new cooks, even those who don’t want to waste food, is that they think they have to plan everything out. They need recipes and vetted schedules. Alchemy isn’t a science, it’s something planned not with your brain. Cooking is directed by urge. You feel it in the back of your head, in some section of the brain hard-wired to your nose and tongue, like your taint and todger are wired to the hypothalamus. You don’t plan to get horny but if you put yourself in the right room with the right ingredients you can get something wet. Your palette of course.
I made a pork loin with no real plan and ended up shredding it for sammiches. That’s lame, you might think, but if you’d said it you would have told on yourself. You have not had a truly great pork sammich. Something left over from a pork loin is the drippings. There might be a more culinary term for the juices that drip out of the meat as it cooks, but I call them drippings. If you look at this pot and think it should go into the bin, you are one of the people who need education.
Anyway, back to my food. I still didn’t have any real plans, but as I pondered what to do with it I proceeded to get a strainer and take out the little bits of this and that left along with the congealed chunks of fat. Sure, some fat gets through but that’s flavor, you just don’t want too much of it. You will often find that the fat congeals the strainer and you need to shake it to let all the liquid through. Once this was done, I looked in the pot. Rice. You cook rice in liquid. You can add butter, so why not the fat from drippings? The answer is simple, you can. I’ve done it many times and now I did so again.
In the end, I served the rice with a nice stew, but as soon as it was done my kids helped themselves and ate it straight out of the pot. I’d made a big pot and used a bit of extra water and some additional butter and salt for added flavour. The smell was divine and yes, even better with the stew, but not a bad snack in its own right at all.
Sure, it is nothing fancy to look at – it’s rice that just looks like rice – but I don’t cook for Instagram. I cook for my tongue and nose and every now and then the hypothalamus enjoys it too.
ABOUT LETO ARMITAGE
Leto Armitage was born in America under a set of circumstances that prophesied that he would one day unite the lost tribes and return the Ever Summer. Somewhere around twelve, he realized he had been left unsupervised and binged too many Arthurian movies in his formative years and that he was just another kid who accidentally got an education while reading above his age level.
By the time he turned old enough to get a passport, he started finding excuses to travel determined to find out what culture, food and women there were to experience. After learning to grill in Oaxaca, do kinbaku in Japan, and being banned from several former Soviet block countries, he returned home to settle down and see what damage he could do locally.
After working jobs including being a short order cook, bodyguarding strippers and professionally doing reader’s advisory for erotica he realized the most reasonable path forward was to become a writer. Today he lives with cats, dogs, and humans who seem to like him despite actually knowing him. He prefers to sit on his back deck, listening to the birds and Barry the Bumblebear bee, while he writes cozy, uplit romance and raunchy erotica.