x_los: (Russian Church)
Badger was over all weekend. Watched most of A:EMH S1, which largely holds up on rewatch. Never sure if Wakanda is doing something cool in imagining an isolationist G8-bitch-slapping world-power African nation that challenges viewers' basic colonialist assumptions, or if Wakanda is simply a weird amalgam of African stereotypes that's simultaneously doing positive and racist things. I think a bit of both, though obviously the second possibility sort of admits the first.

Lost a lot of games, which disappoints me a bit. Normally Katy and I do about equally well, and this weekend we did about equally poorly, both in Carcassone and Tigris and Euphrates. Kind of want to play a game I know I'm fine at to regain mojo and feel generally better. Haven't won anything since Trivial Pursuit like two weeks ago, I don't think, despite since playing 3 games of Carcassone, a game of London, and a game of T&E. This is unusual and more annoying than it should be, given am grown ass woman and, like Dar Williams says, cooler than this. Wish I were generally less twitchy and neurotic about feeling dumb. On the plus side, getting more used to T&E, and may not actually hate it! Still don't know about that Caylus (the game, not the founder of the Klingon warrior code). It seems crap, but might /not/ be, if we played with an additional person.

Cleaned up all the lingering photos on my computer, deleted what I didn't need, and popped anything potentially relevant onto fb. If by relevant you mean 'a picture of Sasa looking unspeakable stupid'.

Made pizzas with Robin. She did nice bases, but must remember these take longer to cook through than plain Morrisons cardboard wafers, and as such need like 18 min, perhaps. Also made meatloaf with roastinis and optional mushroom gravy on the side, combining Nigella's technique with the Joy of Cooking 'making it actually taste of anything'. For Nigella's bacon wrap, I have GOT to remember to use more bacon than I did, and to actually swaddle it around the sides/top it generously, so things don't curl up in this niggardly fashion.

Today I applied for like 6 McDonald's level food service jobs. Modified my food!CV and wrote individual cover letters. Created a profile on a childcare site and addressed a question to a specific job-poster. Doing half and half hours-long academic admin and quicker basic NEED SOME MONEY TO LIVE!! job aps now.

Also finished edits for P4 and asked Katy to shift scenes around according to her editoral whim. Reading it through tomorrow, so she can do the same, I can make last changes, and hopefully we can have the draft out to people late Monday night, so they'll have some time/two days before the readthrough to look it over.

Showed the house Friday and today. Have another person tomorrow. Put up everything possible for ebay free listings. Cleaned the hell out of the house Friday, and did some more today.

I listened to all the music mock-ups the composing staff have done for the radio plays last night, and some of it was awesomely good. One of the main character themes sounds sooomewhat like American McGee's Alice's soundtrack. I'm on the whole really impressed with the professionalism, and with the sort of--reality of the project? Composers!! We met with them, I gave feedback, they worked MAGIC!! with scores and bullshit, I gave feedback, music baby was formed. It's part power and also like, part kind of--awe? It's a fanproject, I know, but there's something awesome
about like, a total thing coming together, and being made where there was nothing, and developing it cradle to grave.

Wrote people about council tax, job ap writing (the QM job centre), the Jubilee event (which Cambridge House no longer wants to do, so I'm left with THREE WEEKS to hook up with other people, plan my own from scratch, or find something else good to go to--thanks a /lot/, guys), book requests for Tor, the music, upcoming social plans, etc. Updated calendar and flatmates spreadsheet, cleaned out emails, etc. Kind of productive weekend despite the heavy social aspect.
x_los: (OMG)
I have got to stop reading so much fucking news, it's such a time!sinkhole.

Casserole dish I invented today to get rid of leftovers, based looooosely on a Nigella pasta bake:

roughly 250g pasta, cooked (measurement related to dry pasta, though)
some lardons
a few strips bacon
couple mushrooms
a red onion
few cloves garlic
Béchamel sort of sauce, with cheese

For the Béchamel thing, start with a roux: do that by taking a tablespoon or two of butter, and a tablespoon or two of flour, and cooking them in a frying pan, whisking/stirring together to integrate. Let that paste cook a bit, get golden. Add milk gradually, stirring to incorporate--make sure the frying pan is a decent size or this will get fucking annoying quick. Add a pinch of nutmeg (sounds weird, but do it for form's sake) and a little bit or herbs de Provence (or other green shit, idk, you probs have oregano). Add some grated cheese (cheddar, parm, mozarella, something). Sea-salt (or regular, whatever) and pepper to taste. Keep adjusting consistency and have this on loooooow while you do other crap, or do it last. One of those little circles that distributes heat that pops under pans like my grandma has might be useful here, if you opt for the former.

Cook lardons and half-strips of bacon (cut) a bit--not all the way, but juuuuust enough so they're not like, RAW? This will prevent nasty-ass diseases. Pig diseases are the worst, did you see the awful pilot of House (seriously what was Wilson doing with his End Moral, and why the fuck did he assume all modern American Jews keep Kosher, does he not go here or something)? So that was awful and made me want to be kosher. Pig worms. Honestly, I ask you.

Anyway, put the pasta in a buttered over-proof casserole dish and then stir your DISEASE FREE pig products in there--dice the bacon. If you're a pussy who can't take the intensity of full-frontal bacon goodness. Or, you know, you like well proportioned bites.

Pop a little butter in the skilled that still has the disease-free bacon grease. Add sliced mushrooms, diced red onions, garlic. Cook, but not ALL THE WAY!!1, just, y'know, a bit. You want the onions to be semi-translucent and the mushrooms to be lightly browned, but not crispy like crispy!Master, because you're going to cook it further, and ew. I read a porn fic like that once.

...and here it is! http://www.whofic.com/viewstory.php?sid=28680

So put those in with pasta and DELICIOUS BACON. Stir. Sensuously. Oh yes.

Leeks might also be good in here, or green onion? Or some white wine in the sauce? Portobello mushrooms? Maybe? Not sure. Anyway.

Is your oven preheated to 200? Um. Probably should have warned you to doooooo that...

So! Now your oven! Preheated! Well done, friend. Put your casserole in there form like 15, 20 min? It'll need to sit for like 10 min when done, but other than that, there you go. It's a bit saucy rather than SET, but you can cook it longer or reduce the sauce initially. And everything in here's super malleable so, idk, GO WITH GOD/WHAT LEFTOVERS YOU YOURSELF NEED TO GET RID OF.

Today )

TSA Forces Woman to Use Her Breast Pump Before She Can Take It Through Security
Elisabeth Moss Would Like You to Stop Asking When Don and Peggy Will Finally Sleep Together
Meet the Transgender Indonesian Nanny Who Took Care of Young Barack Obama
10 of the Most Powerful Female Characters in Literature Kinda balls.
Rick Santorum Makes the Bizarre Promise to Never Speak the Name of Any Former President
For Lasting Romance, Find Out Why She’s Sad
The Ten Weirdest Allegations From Paula Deen’s Home-Cooked Sexual Harassment Complaint
China’s Version of Gossip Girl Might Be Slightly Less Exciting
Wesley Crusher, Teenage Fuck Machine What?! What. What.
First Listen: Krzysztof Penderecki And Jonny Greenwood

Herodotus: AN ACCOUNT OF EGYPT IN TWO PARTS

Jon Stewart Smacks Down Rush Limbaugh Over His Sandra Fluke Comments
Stephen Colbert: Rush Limbaugh Is A Prostitute
Interviewer Position (find out if it pays)
Paypal Pressured To Play Morality Cop And Forces Smashwords To Censor Authors
Who Cares If Piracy Is 'Wrong' If Stopping It Is Impossible And Innovating Provides Better Solutions?
Look into Foundation subs and the Student Essay Prize
‘Millionaire Madam’ Just Your Ordinary Suburban Mom
Paris Fashion Week, Where Eccentricity Means ‘Weird With Money’
Marc Jacobs Didn’t Always Refuse to Pay His Models
Marc Jacobs Didn’t Always Refuse to Pay His Models
Rush Limbaugh Seriously Loses His Shit, Randomly Attacks Another Young Woman
Did Slut Comments Actually Win Rush a Sponsor?
Pregnancy Prevention and the Taxpayer
Barnard, Columbia at War Over Obama, Feminazis, and Cum Dumpsters
Coverage of Women on SF/F Blogs
x_los: (Russian Church)
H'okay, so there was too much food. There was... way too much food. Well. I can freeze the bread and one of the boxes of tzimmes? x_x

In the end went with the baked fish with the cream sauce. Katy didn't love it, so shan't make it again, though I thought it was pretty nice, with its butter-basting, cream and crunch bread-crumb crust. I also braised the last of the old celery we needed to use or toss with it, and that went well.

The tzimmes, as per usual, promised a QUICK carrot cooking time and then even after I gave them another HALF HOUR, carrots: still too crunchy, fruit component: over-stewed. Ah well. Still nice. Have discovered I like a sweet rather than a sweet and savory version of this, though. Will omit the salt and pepper next time and let people add that individually, if they liked. Last year I had this as a nice breakfast a lot (there were leftovers aplenty), and was looking forward to doing so again, maybe with a lashing of cream, but this batch seems perhaps too savory for that.

Roasted two HUGE sweet potatoes, one sweet (brown sugar, unsalted butter, option of marshmellow fluff) and one savory (salted butter, paprika, salt and pepper).

In the end made apple cobbler from the Guardian's Ultimate Recipe. Not quite as ultimate as I'd been led to believe--not a perfect fruit to topping ration. Next time more fruit. I cut the caster sugar and substituted honey for a RH twist, and it worked very well, texturally and taste-wise!

I also made butterscotch apples from Leon: Baking. Unfortunately there's a step where, having made this hard-sauce toffee, you have to rest the pan in ice-water to halt the cooking process QUICKLY. In my nervous rush to not fail what's basically candy-making, a tricky business, I sloshed a little cold water into the pan. I thought I's scooped it all out, but I must not have done it right, because the caramel/butterscotch would NOT adhere thickly to the apples, and fuck did I try. I thought the wateryness might be gross, but the toping was too delicious to chuck, actually, and really the basin I used to cool the pot in was clean, I was just being overly precious in worrying about it. The molten butterscotch was boiling hot, it's not like any badness could have come in without having been incinerated, AND I scooped out the little water that infiltrated. Bah. Anyway, so the apples sort of have to be SMASHED into the hard sauce stuff, but are otherwise fine.

Will make earl grey applesauce another time. Also Peter brought WAY too much cider--have to find a stew or something that uses that. x_x

I got a HUGE migraine after finishing, had to take pills and lie down. Is it weird that I really enjoy Sue Perkins in The Great British Bake-off and the old nan who's part honeybadger in that she don't care, she just bakes what she wants?

I emailed my maybe-advisor a revised proposal last night after he told me at our meeting Monday that he'd like to see a few specific changes. Now too nervous to send out this proposal OR the other one to anyone else, because I have to see whether he thinks I've done this right. So I guess tomorrow's narrowing down Ox and Cam people, and job aps. Joy. I really just want to read the rest of Bleak House and Hard Times, the AWESOMELY CHEAP (seriously, 2 pounds and 5 pounds respectively, the latter with a TON of good supplementary academic materials) Dickens books I had to buy Monday at the UCL campus Waterstones when caught out without my power cord.

And I haven't wanted to say anything about this for fear of jinxing it, but it looks very much like Katy officially has the downstairs room as a tenant, and we have an absolute-for-sure subleaser. This should ease some of her tension about being an illegal tenant, eliminate the threat of someone moving in and giving us away, and do the subleaser a favor. Also enable us to get the cat. Huzzah! Still, my fingers are crossed against some last-minute catastrophe because I am paranoid, and I won't be happy until the lease goes through on Monday, even though our mad bat of a landlady has signed off and the deposit's being made tomorrow (from the subleaser to Katy to Mrs. Mad-Battums).

Still, this potential near-miss will hopefully teach me to be more careful in future.
x_los: (Default)
*I'm not religious, I just really like Holidays. And food. Fyi.*

Rosh Hashanah doesn't have your 'Christmas albums'--there's no coyly perky Mariah Carey cooing down at you, cosplaying a femme!santa, no Babs, which doesn't even make sense b/c why is Streisand doing a Christmas album, again?

There's just the Chosen To Be Socially Awkward People, and the shit they've uploaded to youtube. Shall we tour?



Few people know of the deep historical connection between Rosh Hashanah and parkour, and that's very sad. Also lets you play the 'where in Jerusalem are we?' game, which is like the tic tac toe of made-up games, because the Old City is *so frigging small* you wonder why they bothered with all the gates.



Twee but actually adorbs and quite funny at points. Well put together, the best of the lot. Can you resist visual puns about Apple computers? ...you can? Sod you, then.



A classic! For a really restricted definition of 'classic'. Enjoy its repetitiveness and its inexplicable use of 'crunk'. This misguided attempt to be down with the kids shows all the sensitivity and subtlety you've come to expect from Taglit Birthright, so pretty much none. This is like the Nyan cat song, but for Jewish new year. OR DID I JUST BLOW YOUR MIND?!



Why is it techno? What is this man doing to a chicken at 1:25? I have a lot of questions.

Sadly my challah (I made a regular braid and a RH circle braid) is a kinda marred by the yeast having been tepid. The bread's rather sad. I mean I let it rise AGES, and by the time I realized the yeast was too old there was nothing I could do but press on. It's not AWFUL, still sweet, but this already dense bread is now too fucking dense. We'll make french toast and breadcrumbs out of the frozen leftovers, it'll be fine. Still, I hadn't baked bread in a WHILE, only once since I was a child I think (and that was a weird bread anyway) and for a virgin outing I'm not that impressed with me. Fucking old yeast. Should have, idk, sensed it or something.

Anyway, menu for tomorrow (6 people, one veggie, milkhic!kosher):

Tzimmes
Stuffed fish from Leon OR baked halibut with horseradish cream (ASK KATY)
Challah (MADE, sad :( --I did eat some with set honey, that was fine)
Honey and Apple cake*
Butterscotch apples
Apple cider (PETER IS BRINGING)
Southern baked sweet potatoes

* My idea for this is to make a traditional honey cake, and an English apple crumble (http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2010/oct/14/how-to-make-perfect-crumble) on TOP of it. Genius or madness??! As I recall I didn't looove last year's recipe. Hrm. Maybe a different one. Or a honeyed crumble? Pie? Something.

Maybe this cake: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/apple-cake-v/detail.aspx or http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Jewish-Apple-Cake-I/Detail.aspx , or http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Apple-Honey-Bundt-Cake/Detail.aspx ? http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/spiced-apple-cake-recipe/index.html ? AUGH why doesn't my gran make an apple cake I can just steal? It's all brisket with her!
Or the easy home-made applesauce out of 'deserts that have killed better men than me'?
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Jewish-Apple-Cake-I/Detail.aspx

...halp?
x_los: (Alice)
I think this article: http://www.cracked.com/article_19433_the-6-most-horrifying-lies-food-industry-feeding-you.html , hysterical and been-there-heard-that as it is, can be used to demonstrate a fundamental difference in cultural attitudes towards food that I keep running into in the UK. I get a bit horrified when UK people say things like 'the macaroni and cheese you made out of unprocessed cheese and raw ingredients is Very Unhealthy'. I mean there's cheese, but--it's not Kraft? Not whatever radioactive shit Easy Mac is?

To ME, probably because this is the American way of thinking about it, Unhealthy is the weird shit in heavily processed and pre-prepared food. Butter, cheese and such should form a limited part of your diet, but are a kind of necessary component, with some value. Occasional dishes that are heavy on them are not in and of themselves problematic. 'Problematic' is the additives and weirdness above, which I think Euro regulations may stream out to a degree--I don't know, still not buying any ready meals. I like the control over every step of the process, and think that's in many ways probably LESS fattening or whatever--sure there's a fair amount of butter in a cake I make, but I know that, I put it there. I have no idea how much is in a hostess snack, or what other, weirder shit is in there as well. People in the UK worry about too much cream, people in the US worry about zombie orange juice reanimated with perfumed flavor packets and transfats from Mars that will worm into your heart and NEVER LEAVE. I frequently find myself wrong-footed and annoyed here on this point, but I don't feel my alternate discourse is on 'the healthy' wrong. Cream over that shit any fucking day.

Also, have the saddest fb message in the world, from Littlest Cousin to Little Cousin:


"Andrew posted to Zack
I don't know if you've gotten my texts or calls, but, hey, I'm performing poetry on Friday. It'd mean a lot if you could come but if you can't, I understand. Text me back sometime."

D: I mean I hate a poetry slam too, but DAMN. Cold.

Foodz

Sep. 22nd, 2011 02:49 am
x_los: (Avatar)
* (Last night) I made this, and it was weird, but worked: http://www.cheese-burger.net/recipes/cheeseburger-pizza-recipe.html
* (tonight) Also Allegra's new book's Japanese aubergines are a bit salty, go easy next time, and/or eat with pasta, as we ended up doing.
* Leon 3's potato rosemary double cream and mascarpone pizza: surprisingly delish! If weird and totally not pizza-tasting.
* I also did, last night, these figs (sans suggested sauce): http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/roasted-figs-with-red-wine-fig-sauce with this sauce (with dried figs in): http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Red-Wine-Poached-Figs-with-Vanilla-Ice-Cream-10721 . Worked quite well, but the oven-roasted figs seemed to burn/over caramelize. Perhaps do it at lower heat than suggested, or for less time.
* tomorrow: chili, veg and non, using up veggies before they go off, and old dried beans I found in cupboard
* also Persian dates (rehydrated, they needed rescuing/used/out of my cabinet) with mascarpone, orange blossom and rose water (cheap as anything at Olis)--dates can probably come a WHILE after dinner, as they're too light to immediately follow chili
* FAIR WARNING: I REFUSE to make rice for you barbaric English fucks. Chili doesn't go with rice. IT'S LIKE A STEW, NOT A CURRY. Make that abomination yourselves. I Pontius Pilate what you do with the chili I lovingly made you all, swear to christ.
* Friday: spanish torta, meaty, using up old sausage and bacon before they go off

Beans and dates soaking, they'll be fine over-night (I hope?).

Had a phone interview with a potential supervisor today, responded to Shalka auditions, and comments. Tired and out of it after late night family drama and making ALL THE SHALKA POSTS EVER/meeting w/ Bess, so didn't get MUCH more than cleaning, shopping for three days, talking to my little bro, cooking, mailing out Katy's package, sending off other people's misdirected mail, errands, and reading new emails re: school stuff done. Behind on laundry...

MUST contact potential supervisors tomorrow--and do other things. Must sleep now, reset sleep schedule, wake up with Katy, make coffee, put chili on for the day, clean, and start work before ten. Much to do--a day behind! :( Still okay for the schedule for the week, though, if I can just make tomorrow count.

Flee House

Jul. 11th, 2011 01:40 am
x_los: (Alice)
I recently started work at a nice tea house I always enjoyed as a customer, and am finding the experience a let-down.

Jetlagged from flying in on Thursday, I worked 5 hours at a heavy shift Friday and nine today with only a 15 min break (in both shifts together, actually). Kind of exhausted/despise my boss. Friday night was REALLY busy, and she only had herself in the back and me on the floor, so one waitress for about 10 increasingly over-flowingly full interior tables to make all the tea, get the food out, take orders, serve everyone, do the dishwashing, explain the event that was going on, blah blah, because she's too cheap to properly staff? Also she had a teary panic attack in the back at the prospect of dealing with a lowish-key event her store does every month, and made me tell everyone some bullshit excuse as to why they couldn't order food because she hadn't *really* planned properly and so didn't have time/staff to make any.

She used to be in marketing, right? And so it was her Dreeeeeeam to own her own business-- but she's both the best and worst thing that's happened to the place. She's certainly driven and probably very good at marketing, but completely incapable of dealing with stress. Small, cramped, busy kitchens are no place for the delicate and histrionic. I've worked in a LOT of restaurants before, and it's never been like this, never been this bad.

She's just /stupidly/ illogical in terms of her basic practical logistics of the business and in terms of handling people, and can't be decently civil/professional/effective to save her damn life. Today we had an even-busier-than-Friday party in the afternoon, which resulted in Bosslasy a snapping left and right as rudely as possible (use your eyeeeeeees!!!!! ...in a busy, full to brimming kitchen to spot the small canister which is the proper home of the knife I will shortly need and be very angry at the misplacement of) to vent her incredible righteous anger (at... being a middle class white chick with occasional self-imposed career stress? idek.) that she could not even be SPOKEN to at the moment, such was her INCREDIBLE BUSYNESS!! This despite that there were quick questions that really needed answers, and she was going to bitch later if, due to lack of info, anything got done 'incorrectly.' And her correctness is so arbitrary--as my co-worker Arta pointed out, it absolutely defies logic, and is frequently contradictory, so nastily, constantly and bewilderingly delivered it reduces the employees to a state of jittery, bewildered incapacity. As Arta and I were doing dishes, with her washing and me drying, I finished a batch and moved on to collecting more dishes for Arta to wash. She was slotting some of them in a drying rack as I grabbed her a few more. Bosslady's Fiance strode in and told me to exclusively dry, so that I could stay on top of each and every dish. This despite the fact that if the dishes don't have even a moment to air-dry, you're just spreading the wet around, it takes MUCH longer to wash than to dry, and that if Arta runs out of stuff and has to stop and hunt more plates, we all have to grind to a halt. It's a small, stupid moment, but it's sort of exemplary.

Things that would and SHOULD be smooth and routine and not terribly stressful become horrible when she's in the shop. She has no understanding of how to train people (or even just /basic/ 'how to run a business effectively on the personnel end' shit) and is content to shout at her employees and imply that we're dumb for not knowing things they've /no reason/ to know about her business. I brought a cake order back to the kitchen--several of the cool cakes need heated up, served with the cream that's at her station, etc., and got a sneering 'are you JOKING? Go ask the people out front what you've done wrong!' for not knowing these particular ones were served as they were. Counting up the shifts, this is like, my third day. And I haven't really had any training, because she doesn't have people come to work unless it's HEAVING (two full weeks passed in which I couldn't catch ONE shift), and so there's never a quiet moment to go over things. I don't object to hard, complicated work, to long hours, to strenuous labor, to difficult tasks. I just object to poor treatment, unreasonable expectations and working within the confines of a sloppy, shitty, amateur-hour organization.

Having polished a plain teapot and set it in the bleach solution, someone, maybe me, maybe someone else, put another pot in the water tup full of pots, on top of it, and the first pot's spout cracked. Got hauled in back for a lecture about being more careful. Not sure this was me, or what the pots slipping against each other in a dish bucket and one breaking due to, most likely, a pre-existing hairline fracture exacerbated by water pressure or the slight contact with other china has to go with my carelessness, or why I still feel guilty and affected by this cunt's criticism emotionally when intellectually I know she's the stupidest thing on two legs since my dad's Girlfriend of the Month from the Slut Circular catalogue collection he appears to have ordered last Christmas. Still, as Bosslady whinnied that the shipping costs on Plain White Teapot had been $100 from the US, in addition to thinking 'they ABSOLUTELY were not, I know what things cost in *dollars*, you Northern fool,' 'really? what a terrible business decision you have made, to ship a single plain and completely unremarkable teapot /from a country that does not even really DO tea/ for, purportedly, $100, when you live in a country FUCKING FULL OF TEA MERCHANDISE,' and 'if you attempt to dock wages over this, I will fucking end you,' I also *felt chastened.* /What/? No, excuse me, no, like FUCK I will be your slavish feelings-monkey.

She's ridiculously competitive with employees who might rival her knowledge/afraid to devolve knowledge and power, badmouthing former staff left and right at the slightest provocation. I can't bear her bullshit and her pompous overbearing nasty uncivil attitude. I'm submitting resumes to other people and leaving asap--I didn't one one more goddamn thing to deal with right now, but she's just /mad/.

Also--the way she and her fiance who helps run the place act implies that I'm lazy? I'm a LOT of dubious things, but that's not one of them. This REALLY godawfully busy 9 hour shift had ONE thirty min break in it. She tells me to take it, then tells me to do 5 more things, and then when I get done says I've wasted 15 min of my break and now I can only have like, 15 min total off. And later, we're hosting a big party: I've poured final refills of black tea to people, and they don't want any more. There's some tea left in the pot, and we have a second, so I make a cup. Her fiance comes around and starts sniping about how I should really try to take tea closer to break, or I won't work sufficiently hard, you see.

Because I have so much fucking goddamn opportunity to take a break.

And because I don't NEED *any fucking liquid* to stand and work hard in a hot room for 9 hours without any interruption.

And because people in offices NEVER have a cup of tea/coffee and keep working.

What a total twat.

Also she doesn't pay for breaks (lunch, coffee, any, all), though preeeetty sure she's legally required to. Pretty. Sure. And Katy thinks she's required to GIVE more breaks than she does. :/ Whatever.

It's just a shame her epic cuntosity has ruined the place for me /as a customer/ I really *liked* it, though I think largely due to the almost universally nice and competent staff. Despite being herself of the Raging Bitch tribe, she's picked out weirdly pleasant useful people ...to insult and train poorly and rage at when she's failed to plan properly. And Bosslady's marketing skillz have resulted in decent schtick, with the tea timers, design, and menu--credit where it's due. (Though her attempts at macho Shylocky 'make the customers give us a pound of flesh, precious!!' comments are as nauseating, small, cheap, pathetic, small potatoes, just *funny* and lacking in decency as they are short-sighted in terms of creating successful long-term relationships with clients.) But she REALLY needs to be at one remove, 'working from home,' with a strong, sympathetic, reasonable and chilled out frontman interfacing with staff and clients on her behalf, taking her Brand!New!Procedural!Regime!! du jour and toning it down, allowing Bosslady to be her better self and do what she does well and avoid what she doesn't do well--interacting with humans/displaying basic common sense or character.

It's frustrating and I sort of blame myself, because this job's godawful, and the nannying job was a bit naff, and I'm having such a time with my uni profs that I can't help my think the linking element in these unsatisfying relationships is me. But I think it's just a terrible year, really. Independently considered, I feel I acted decently in the various circumstances, and that the people I have had conflicts with did not. The universal loathing of Bosslady--all three people I was working with, employees of long standing, shared their plans to quit (two had already given notice), the two girls debating whether this would serve as a wake up call to Bosslady or whether she's the sort of person who sleeps through alarms they'd rather not hear--makes me feel like I'm not actually myself a whiny crazy bitch. I guess I'm more jaded and self-protectively ready to condemn people based on how poorly the last work and school relationships have gone, and that negatively frames my interactions with the next batch of people I see in these capacities, but the wariness does feel earned, and if it weren't borne out I think I could happily adjust to that. I don't think it's a self-fulfilling prophecy yet, where people pick up on the fact that I expect them to be incompetent shits and defensively proceed to be hostile jobniks.

I just REALLY wish I didn't have to job hunt RIGHT now, on top of apartment shit, MA thesis stuff, PhD aps and visa worries. There's never a good time, but damn.
x_los: (Andrae?)
I have /no idea/ what I'm going to be able to do with a LOT of this. Any good ideas? Recipes that would eat up the alcohol w/out needing it to be particularly fresh, things that use some of the weird starches or any of the Other Ingredients (Molasses?!) particularly welcome!

May just do sesame chicken tonight to hit up the sesame seeds and rice. :/

Starch:

mung beans: daal?
flour
chapati flour
soya mince
rye flour
triple rice blend
basmati

Other Ingredients:

yeast
molasses
sesame seeds
fish sauce
beef bouillon

Other Random:

chocolate sauce
chocolate spread
mango pickles

Spices:

ground nutmeg
mint
chili
basil

Alcohol:

a lick of cab sav
most of a bottle vodka
lick red wine
full bottle cab sav
2/3 chardonay
1/4 tempranillio
lick white grenache

Teas:

peppermint
valerian
PG
gunpowder
chamomile
berry
green
dandelion

Other Beverages:

cocoa
Ovaltine
x_los: (On A Ship)
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Bobs-Mexican-Stuffed-Chicken/Detail.aspx

I forgot to /crush/ the corn flakes--/dumb/, Erin--and we had 8 chicken thighs instead of 4 breasts, so I had to laboriously scrape all the meat off these bones and then, because they were too small to properly roll, to use half a strip of bacon to wrap them so they could be something /sort/ of close to Stuffed rather than simply Accompanied. But these were /very/ tasty, and not terribly difficult (if you have the right meatstuffs), and not expensive. I recommend them highly!
x_los: (OMG)
Katy is having a Christmas party Saturday and was thinking of serving /Chicken Nuggets/. From /Bird's Eye/. From the /oven./

I had assumed this was Her Deal and that I was not at all involved with the prep, but a conversation over the weekend revealed I that was allowed/encouraged to help cook (though she suggested managing it all at my place in Vaxuhall and bringing it over, which given the poverty of that equipment, the lack of any space, and the transportation, is such a logistical nightmare I think I threw up a little bit in my miiiiiind. Cooking anything more complex than 'lazy dinner for one' there is like skinning a weasel--overly complicated and really pointless). I did a sort of Seasick Morgana Face and started plotting how to get Not Chicken Nuggets done in a quick, unobtrusive way that would not ruin Katy's flatmate's life or cause me to pull out all my Naturally Curly Hair (which I am v. anxious that viewers of the Christmas Pagent should see, though I am only playing Innkeeper's Wife... anyone for Charlie Brown Christmas Special? Anyone? Bueller?). This is my provisional list (though due to a Christmas Gift Idea Katy and I had today, two more Mystery Items must also get cooked in the interim).

Must get a menu properly together ASAP. It seems unthinkable that I let time get away from me to this extent. I only /today/ bought my family's Christmas presents.

Christmas Party! )
x_los: (Alice)
So I called my mom and grandma to get a main dish that goes well with corn bread (it couldn't be chili or ham). Both suggested essentially the same whole chicken recipe, and despite being nervous about whole chicken, which I very seldom cook, I went for it.

I spent HOURS cooking? Man, that chicken turned out so mediocre. /Thanks/ mom. Secret recipe inDEED

Essentially I was just cooking a chicken rubbed with spices, with white wine and garlic cloves, celery, onions and carrots around it, on low for two hours under tinfoil, and then broiling it with butter/garlic oil on top so it crisps up while remaining juicy? SOUNDS okay, but actually tastes: like it's never met a spice. And the gravy you make from the wine will taste: sugary and weird. The 'crispy' basting was: weaksauce. It got nicely golden, and STILL tasted of /fuck all/. The butter, the garlic oil applied to crisp it up? for nothing! Waste of hoooours.

Next time, cook book. At least now I know my mom's 'just wing it' food is made of fail, and to never let anyone pry the cookbook from my cold dead hands--if I /know/ a cooking method or a food, I'm great with improvising, but if I don't I tend to flail. I think you have to have a really SOLID understanding of something to be able to fuck around. And like, whole chicken? I don't often work with it.

Meat is /so different/ in different countries--just, the properties change. The level of fat, how it cooks, the flavor, etc.

Cooking in England is at times intensely frustrating. The ingredients I expect to be common are impossible to find, the measuring system trips me up, things are named differently or come in different, non-equivocal forms--I've been nearly ready to throw a Devil's Food Emergency Birthday Cake off the balcony after a series of disasters, chief among which is that 'yogurt' turns out to mean /intensely/ different things in different countries.

On the days that I am nearly crying because on top of other stresses, when I realize, in succession, that it is IMPOSSIBLE to

a) buy a tin of refried beans,
b) buy a can of black beans to make refried beans WITH, or even
c) buy a bag of /raw/ black beans,

and spend 20 minutes debating with myself whether these small, dark so-called 'cow peas' are just black beans getting above themselves (protip: no, they're black-eyed peas having an identity crisis--I don't know why there were so dark in the store), I really need to remember that, eventually, I will become as capable of cooking here as I was back home--more so, as I age.

It's just something like losing years worth of experience and knowledge of how things work. This is generally true, but cooking--typically a source of safety, competence and joy, has taken a real hit--becoming this irritating shame and anxiety laden thing as money comes in unevenly and things I thought I had down slip away from me. That loss of ability is incredibly frustrating. I'd only bombed a cake one in my life before (a blue 'red' velvet for Therese's birthday, sophomore year--too dry, texture like box-cornbread, not even the cream cheese icing could enliven it--still annoyed about it)--I don't know how many times I've fucked up in England. Chili with accidental use of the strange little peppers that were the only ones the shop had, and looked harmless, like something I recognized, and turned out to *actually* be Scotch Bonnets (I'd never actually seen the fearsomely fiery beasties before), the mighty Devil's Food Failcake--you name it, it's flopped.

Eventually, though, with enough trial and error (its frustrating to realize this is unavoidable, and even a totally necessary means of growth), I'll learn to make my food here, and even make progress on that front. My sister's pizza dough came out well. Katy quite liked my first attempt at slow-cooked barbacoa, and the chiles rellenos. Rosh Hashanah supper was a triumph of tizimmes and honey cake with apples. These were all things I'd never made before England.

And I'll learn to make their food. Despite cliches about English cooking, I find the standard of ingredients and prepared food available to be much higher here, and in general reasonably priced, even in the capitol--more so than in New York. The cuisine itself has a lot of strong points--the sticky, dense puddings, the airy scones, the reassuringly frumpy delights of the Yorkshire pudding. On the English front, I made Tamara a really successful bangers-and-mash with gravy and green beans Thursday night, and I'm v. excited about the upcoming Christmas dishes. There's a very different palate of ethnic cuisine available, and I've made quite a few successful curries, which I would never have attempted at home. The Chinese dumplings effort is, as yet, imperfect, but coming along.

I feel like, as a white American moving to Europe, I don't have a legitimate immigrant experience, but in some ways these *are* real pressures and aggravations (if nothing to those of some others). It is a work in progress, and it has not been altogether easy or pleasant, but I am confident that I can eventually work the rough spots smooth.
x_los: (Make a Note.)
I'll tell you all later what I've gotten up to in New York, but packing at the moment. Have Intriguing London Links to celebrate my arriving at 8 am tomorrow and (hopefully) clearing customs, about which I am unreasonably terrified. ...probably because I actually am doing something slightly shady. IF YOU HAVE YOUR OWN awesome London links, sites or recommendations, please do drop me a comment, and I will be as happy to include them in the general list as I will be to take you up on your suggestions.

London's Finest Bookshops -- a really good, contributory Guardian listing that doesn't seek to limit excellence to the London parallel of NewYork's 'the Strand,' or the equivalent of City Lights/Prairie Lights, all of which is what I was initially looking for.

London's Best Cheesemongers
-- Time Out does a good Best of London culling generally, but this is clearly the greatest love of all. I mean. Cheese.

Shady Old Lady
-- A user-edited selection of weird sites and sights about town, and potential routes for self-guided tours thereof. Occasionally dumb, often pretty great.

Derelict London -- I'm really drawn to the uncanny beauty of decaying urban architecture, and Derelict London is a good guide. What is /could/ use is better web design (which is odd considering the site is associated with a glossy, well-turned-out published book), more sensible organization as a whole, and better commentary, in terms of the history of the sites depicted, where to find them, and more essayistic content. That aside, it seems an invaluable resource for exhaustive documentation of the city, as thorough as the Wayback Machine.

Disused Stations on the London Underground -- Another case of Big Name, Book-Affiliated Website Apparently Designed With Geocities. The organization's maddening, but it's a potentially fascinating guide to extra-legally exploring the historic London underground beyond the currently-operating 287 stations. There's often interesting alternate histories for the Ghost Stations, which are eerie and intriguing in their own right. Certain platforms and tunnels were used as bunkers and secret records storage in WWII, chosen for their ability to outlast a more complete blitz which would have razed the upper city. Lurking along the lines, you can find 19th century relics of the fierce competition of the privatized-undergrounds era that predated the triumph of the modern, unified civic tube. The closed British Museum stop is supposedly haunted by the pissed off ghost of an appropriated Egyptian mummy, and the newspaper company that offered a hefty reward to anyone willing to spend the night on the all-too-readily closed platform never had to award that prize.

I'm thinking of doing a larger project, tentatively based on this sort of thing, the two or three existing, seemingly lackluster books on the tube's history and a Village Voice article from a few years ago on the character of the infrequently visited final stops of all the major New York lines.  I'll let you know if anything materializes.

Adult Travelcard -- For everyone that bitches about how the tube is soooooo expeeeensive, omg, doesn't this look relatively comparable to the MTA bulk unlimited passes?
x_los: (Make a Note.)
I'll tell you all later what I've gotten up to in New York, but packing at the moment. Have Intriguing London Links to celebrate my arriving at 8 am tomorrow and (hopefully) clearing customs, about which I am unreasonably terrified. ...probably because I actually am doing something slightly shady. IF YOU HAVE YOUR OWN awesome London links, sites or recommendations, please do drop me a comment, and I will be as happy to include them in the general list as I will be to take you up on your suggestions.

London's Finest Bookshops -- a really good, contributory Guardian listing that doesn't seek to limit excellence to the London parallel of NewYork's 'the Strand,' or the equivalent of City Lights/Prairie Lights, all of which is what I was initially looking for.

London's Best Cheesemongers
-- Time Out does a good Best of London culling generally, but this is clearly the greatest love of all. I mean. Cheese.

Shady Old Lady
-- A user-edited selection of weird sites and sights about town, and potential routes for self-guided tours thereof. Occasionally dumb, often pretty great.

Derelict London -- I'm really drawn to the uncanny beauty of decaying urban architecture, and Derelict London is a good guide. What is /could/ use is better web design (which is odd considering the site is associated with a glossy, well-turned-out published book), more sensible organization as a whole, and better commentary, in terms of the history of the sites depicted, where to find them, and more essayistic content. That aside, it seems an invaluable resource for exhaustive documentation of the city, as thorough as the Wayback Machine.

Disused Stations on the London Underground -- Another case of Big Name, Book-Affiliated Website Apparently Designed With Geocities. The organization's maddening, but it's a potentially fascinating guide to extra-legally exploring the historic London underground beyond the currently-operating 287 stations. There's often interesting alternate histories for the Ghost Stations, which are eerie and intriguing in their own right. Certain platforms and tunnels were used as bunkers and secret records storage in WWII, chosen for their ability to outlast a more complete blitz which would have razed the upper city. Lurking along the lines, you can find 19th century relics of the fierce competition of the privatized-undergrounds era that predated the triumph of the modern, unified civic tube. The closed British Museum stop is supposedly haunted by the pissed off ghost of an appropriated Egyptian mummy, and the newspaper company that offered a hefty reward to anyone willing to spend the night on the all-too-readily closed platform never had to award that prize.

I'm thinking of doing a larger project, tentatively based on this sort of thing, the two or three existing, seemingly lackluster books on the tube's history and a Village Voice article from a few years ago on the character of the infrequently visited final stops of all the major New York lines.  I'll let you know if anything materializes.

Adult Travelcard -- For everyone that bitches about how the tube is soooooo expeeeensive, omg, doesn't this look relatively comparable to the MTA bulk unlimited passes?

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