Oct 20, 2009

Roman Grimiko

Roman Grimiko awakes incredulous that he has lived to see another day. An offending bit of sunlight falls across his face:

Christ. You've got to be fucking kidding me..

Roman's wife, a petite woman of about sixty, who is usually up well before the sun, has left a small breakfast for him on his night table. The plate is covered with several cloth napkins in a purely symbolic gesture meant to retain the heat.

There on the plate is his usual plain omelet, pickled beets and a slice of toast cut diagonally twice (into four pieces), already buttered, with a dab of grape jelly on each portion.

It's an old joke between the Grimikos, the toast. The fight they had when they first married regarding the proper way to slice toast. How Roman has regretted this joke ever since.

And, there's a cup of black coffee (now ice cold) and a juice glass filled half way with dark wine.

His wife, of course, is at church and will be for the rest of the day.

This breakfast was a loving and mostly useless gesture on the part of Mrs. Grimiko, who knew Roman would not wake up in time for it to be still edible.

Roman, appreciating his wife's thoughtfulness, takes the juice glass of wine and downs it. Then makes his way downstairs to refill it.

Later, he gets dressed and walks through the wet, leaf strewn neighborhood with his malfunctioning umbrella for his bath.This is possibly the happiest part of Roman's day. There his oldest friends will either be bathing or taking saunas. And, afterward, there is always chess and discourse.


Roman remembers that his eldest daughter will be at the house around three. The thought makes him more nervous than happy. His daughter always has something to say about the business that never quite fits in with his perception of things. At some point, however, they will cook together, and that will change the dynamic a bit in his favor.

He laughs darkly at this. It's a good laugh. Yes, of course. He will ply his daughter with food:

dumplings for the dumpling..

Roman likes to prepare everything for coming the week on Sunday. It's his way of getting out of church. And it works. It turns out that Roman is the superior cook in the family. And this arrangement, which has been in place for over forty years, seems to make everyone happy.

So far he has two small chickens stuffed with sweet onions and paprika roasting in the oven, a pot of goulash slowly simmering on the front burrner, while beef stock brews on the back.

He has half a dozen peppers stuffed with sausage and rice baking in a shallow dish, while a bread pudding with raisins and apples bakes along side it.

His wife will then heat things as the week unfolds, mostly taking credit for all of the cooking.

Yes. It's on Sunday, there in the kitchen, that Roman is at his best. As he explains opera to his daughter, occasionally throwing scraps of sausage to whatever injured kitten he is currently tending to, Roman cooks and dreams of one less day.

It's Sunday. And this is Roman Grimiko at his best..

Oct 19, 2009


I tore the pizza from its box in a manner that betrayed not only my hunger, but my utter disregard for removing pizzas from their boxes nicely. I'm always surprised by what little actually stands between me and any given frozen pizza.

It's just a box and some plastic. And it seems like it should be more. That there should be some literature. Or maybe a pamphlet telling me the history of this pizza. Or maybe a prize or some temporary tattoos.

I threw the pizza into the oven. Loudly. Crashingly. And, when I did, the temperature was set so high (in the interest of time) that there were a few (albeit small, totally manageable) flames that leapt out at me.

But I didn't care.

This was progress. I was absolutely famished. And while it baked I could, in the meantime, soothe myself with the fact that this was much faster than ordering in. Or, for that matter, making pizza from scratch.

So, I had some wine and cheese in the interim (without taking note of any spectacular sunset that might be happening at the moment, nor waxing any other wine and cheese specific bullshit about how great I am, or how great you are, or how great life is).

I knew two things:

1. This, my supposed new oven (was anything in this house really mine? Was anything in this house really new?), has a thermometer permanently affixed to its interior for a reason: this oven gets hotter than any other oven in the world.

2. Though I could eat almost anything frozen, I would refrain from doing so this time. I would wait. Even if it meant eating god damned wine and cheese without acknowledging sunsets all god damned day.
And so it began.

As I checked continually for progress, I saw that the edges of this pizza were melting. And the pepperoni, though not my favorite ingredient, was crisping up quite nicely.

And, if it matters, I could actually hear the sizzle of the cheese that had dropped down into the fire (a second fire was, at this juncture, burning independently of that which came more evenly from the boiler).

The pizza was almost done.

Then I got the bright idea to add some water to the fire to really smoke this pizza (imagine the flavor). It was then that the first thoughts about how this pizza might actually kill me began popping up in my mind.

Yeah, I hear those sirens, too..

The whole house was on fire. No matter, it was from this inferno that an unprecedented culinary detail emerged:

The sauce, which at the parameter had caramelized to a practically candied condition, was sweet, delicately spiced and otherwise still velvety at the epicenter. And, aside from what had happened at the edges, the four cheeses maintained their integrity. In fact, at that point, with the pizza and most of the neighborhood ablaze, I felt that (though clearly still too hot to eat) it was only a matter of minutes before the pizza had rested and properly redistributed it's juices.

No. I was all in.

Oct 18, 2009

lather, rinse, repeat

1. This blog is like someone I got stuck working with who always laughs at her own jokes, makes fake phone calls when she's bored (mostly on her hairbrush; mostly to her mom) and brags compulsively as a form of malice.

It's the constant bragging that really irks me. It seems to set in motion a now well worn routine of "their constant bragging" versus "my attempt to deflect their constant bragging".

This involves two opposing actions:

a. not to seem jealous = because I'm not
b. not to seem like I care = because I don't

It's a delicate balance. And, no matter the subject of their bragging, it's the idea that they want me to be jealous that distracts me from my original goal (that is, to dispel any notion that I am at all swept away by any of their self promoting ideas). This alone tends to bungle the operation (theirs and mine).

And it shows.

It breaks down as follows:

a. I'm not jealous
b. and I don't care
c. I might appear jealous by virtue of not caring
d. thus: I must pretend to care
e. without sounding jealous
f. even though I'm not jealous

g. and I don't care

And on and on.

And this is just between my blog and me. It gets worse with actual people.

2. After years of developing my recipe, I've finally learned how to make the perfect meatloaf.

And, guess what, it tastes just like the McCormick meatloaf packet.

McCormick packet = $3.00
My meatloaf recipe = $600.00

So, McCormick wins (again).

4. Each year I take note of the first leaf that falls in Autumn. It's funny how this always happens when I'm around.

I never pick up this leaf. I don't want to disturb the ecosystem. Of course, this was not always the case. Thus every single fall leaf collected by me (in both the tri-state area and Ireland) has since been returned to their rightful locales.

This took eighteen months and cost millions of dollars but it was so worth it.

Next mission: seashells