Saturday, July 16, 2011

Ugly food (or: My racist dinner)

As an avid food blog enthusiast, I always took for granted the gorgeous pictures and food styling. Not until I tried to photograph my own eats did I realize the skill and finesse required to make food look attractive. Or it could be that my food resembles, to borrow a phrase from my former piano teacher, a dog's breakfast. I never really paid attention to the aesthetics of my meals before starting this blog, but tonight as I looked down at my bowl, deciding how best to capture the essence of my dinner on film, it struck me just how ugly it was. U G L Y, it ain't got no alibi, it's ugly.

This line of thinking begs the question: in the world of home cooking, do looks really matter (the reading voice in my head suddenly morphed into Sarah Jessica Parker. That last sentence sounds like a voiceover of the culinary equivalent of Sex and the City)? Personally, if I've made something for myself, I know exactly what's in it, so my expectations of taste have nothing to do with what I see on the plate. However, if someone else serves me a dish, the only clues to its quality other than aroma are visual, making presentation much more important to the enjoyment of the meal. Add this to the list of reasons I love cooking for one (I do indeed have an ever-growing list because that way I can convince myself it's fun rather than a sad state of affairs that will likely mark the rest of my life as a spinster in a house full of hamsters): if no one else has to eat it, I don't have to make it pretty. This still doesn't displace the current #1: you get to lick the spoon.
I did take pictures of my dinner, but for the sake of my ego and to give this recipe full credit (its looks and my dismal photography skills truly don't do justice to it), I will keep them in my little vault of shame (if I can find any spare room. Perhaps they can squeeze between a second-grade encounter with a draconian lunch lady and my lust for Kiefer Sutherland).

Saint Paul was a sauna today; the air felt as wet as the flash-flooded streets from last night's storm. When I got home from a shopping expedition that took far longer than expected due to a non-functional GPS and lack of any sense of direction on my part, my hot and frustrated self did not feel like cooking anything for dinner at 8:15 at night. Since I'm too cheap to buy anything other than vegetables and basic foodstuffs now that I have to foot my own grocery bill (it's been veggiemess for lunch and dinner every night so far), I had to improvise. I had fresh corn and a can of black beans on hand, as well as a lime (which I bought for $.40 instead of a $.79 lemon). I decided to put on a sombrero and go to Mexico. Problem was that corn and beans do not a meal make, so I pulled out my oldest trick: adding a can of tuna. Voila, Fiesta Tuna. It may be slightly racist, but in my opinion, you can make any meal with vaguely Latino ingredients more exciting and appealing by putting Fiesta in front of it; it makes it sound like the newest special at Applebees (or the Taco Bell value menu if it turns out poorly).

Whenever I try in earnest to measure what I put in anything, the outcome is bleaker than my dating life. However, when I just chuck stuff in a bowl and run with it, I've found that the gastronomical stars will occasionally align. So, without further ado, the "recipe" for tonight's politically incorrect dinner.

Fiesta Tuna (possibly the most hilarious and preposterous sounding thing I've ever made):
1 can tuna
1 plop plain yogurt
Sprinkle of desired Mexican-ish seasonings, salt, and pepper
Goodly squeeze of lime juice (or splort if you're like me and get a squishy lime)
Heavy sprinkling of nutritional yeast (or shredded cheese, but I was too cheap to spring for it at the store)
1 ear corn, cut off cob (or frozen)
1/3 - 1/2 cup black beans
avocado - if you have any on hand, it would probably be delicious
Combine all ingredients, stir, shield your bowl in shame from your roommate's view (she'll never believe something that looks like that could actually be edible), put on some mariachi music for full effect, and enjoy.

1 comment:

Mumsy said...

Wow...uhm...don't know what else to say. You're still hilarious! :)